Today’s graduating clergy and Jewish professionals face a religious landscape unknown to their predecessors: changing demographics, shifting patterns of affiliation, and increasingly complex forms of spiritual identities – to which traditional religious communities have struggled to adapt. This has resulted in a significant gap between the world for which their schools trained them, and the one that they encounter upon graduation.
The curriculum explores the sociology of 21st century North American religion, and tools from social innovation, user-centered design, and social impact changemaking.
The class is cross-seminary, containing perspectives from the full breadth of denominations (and beyond). Conversations yield a more diverse set of ideas, which prepares students to navigate an increasingly diverse spiritual landscape.
Students research and develop an innovative spiritual project from scratch. This project-based approach gives students hands-on experience with the tools and techniques of innovation and user-centered design. Students can dream big and let their imagination flourish.
We offer frameworks and real-life models of leadership for this changing time, thereby addressing burnout, struggling communal institutions, and mission drift. We also teach core mindsets and adaptive leadership skills, and explore the connection between students’ faith, identity, and the change they want to bring into the world.
The course is a 13-week, for-credit, pass-fail course. Students enroll and pay tuition through their seminary in early December. The course is given in the spring semester; dates and times are selected based on seminary schedules.
Over 140 leaders from 12 seminaries have taken Leading Through Innovation since 2020, many of whom have since graduated and are bringing their innovative approaches to Jewish community to congregations, institutions, and start-ups across the Jewish world. Some examples of their work: