The Wexner Heritage Program is a two-year Jewish study experience with an additional focus on leadership. Each local Seminar group consists of 20 outstanding and diverse Jewish volunteer leaders. Serious Jewish learning unites these people who live in the same community but might otherwise never have worked together. The relationships created among members are the heart of the program.
The Wexner Heritage Program is a focused experience that requires a significant commitment of time and energy from each participant. Attendance at all Seminars and Institutes is critical. There is reading and other preparation for each session as well.
Seminars and Institutes
Members attend four-hour evening Seminars approximately once every two weeks in their local community. There are 18 Seminars each academic year, for a total of 36 evenings.
Three out-of-town Summer Institutes, each 5-7 days in length, are held in resort conference centers in the United States and Israel. Domestic Institutes are usually held in Colorado or Utah. Institutes take place at the beginning, middle, and end of the two-year program. Wexner Heritage groups from multiple communities come together for Institutes, creating synergy across North America.
The dynamic curriculum is grounded in the wisdom of our tradition and in cutting-edge leadership learning. Seminars and Institutes reflect the following curricular components:
- Yesodot: Jewish Fundamentals: Exploration of the fundamental texts, ideas, and traditions underlying an active and committed Jewish life [covered at the initial New Member Institute].
- The History of the Jewish People: The story of our people from Biblical times to the 21st century. The emphasis on the major issues, personalities, and trends in Jewish history helps contemporary Jewish leaders to lead more effectively into the future.
- The Thought of the Jewish People: A study of the major texts and ideas that have shaped our people: Bible, Rabbinic Literature (Talmud, Midrash, etc.), Liturgy, and Modern Jewish Thought.
- Leadership Learning: The Wexner Foundation’s conceptual and practical approach to leadership learning, derived from Jewish and secular sources.
- Contemporary Issues: Confronting the complex challenges facing Judaism, the Jewish people and Israel today, including peer consultation on real-time leadership issues.
The Wexner Heritage Program is directed by Rabba Yaffa Epstein and supported by Administrative Associate Cheryl Reeves. Angie Atkins is the Director of Wexner Heritage Alumni.
The Wexner Heritage Program engages the finest scholars, practitioners, and professional leaders in the Jewish world. Faculty include professors at university Jewish studies programs and the leading rabbinical seminaries; congregational rabbis; professionals from Jewish Federations, Foundations, and other communal organizations; and in Israel, both leading thinkers and public officials. We have no permanent faculty; while some have been teaching in the program for many years, we are continually expanding the ranks of our faculty as new world-class teachers emerge.
Applicants and Members often ask what is expected of them after they finish the program. The expectation is that each Member will realize their full potential to exercise transformative leadership and maximize long-term impact in the Jewish community. Leslie and Abigail Wexner have steadfastly maintained that leaders must determine for themselves how best to apply leadership energy. The Wexner Foundation and our local community partners are committed to supporting Members in this effort, including through our Alumni Network.
There is no cost to Members for the Wexner Heritage Program. The program is funded by The Wexner Foundation in partnership with the local community as a joint investment in the Jewish community’s future leadership.
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