Academy for Jewish Religion California
(Los Angeles, CA)
Title: President & Chief Executive Officer
The Academy for Jewish Religion California (AJRCA) is seeking a forward-thinking, creative, inspiring, and service-minded President and CEO for this extraordinary leadership opportunity. The President and CEO will be charged with building upon a celebrated history and bringing innovation and new energy to lead the Academy and its community to continued sustainability and success in fulfilling its mission to graduate transformative Jewish leaders.
During the past five years, AJRCA has experienced significant growth and is currently a well-established, high performing, and highly respected institution among religious and lay leaders of the Jewish community both locally and nationally. Its national presence has also increased through the implementation of a low-residency model, which allows students outside the Los Angeles area to take courses via Zoom and attend in-person gatherings three times per year. AJRCA students reside throughout the United States, and the majority of AJRCA courses are delivered online.
Cognizant of the changing landscape in higher education, in 2021, AJRCA announced a partnership with Loyola Marymount University (LMU) to develop academic and interfaith initiatives, which will bring scholars from both faith traditions together in the same location, on the LMU Westchester campus where AJRCA is now based, opening the door to inter-religious dialogue, collaborative teaching and learning opportunities, and interfaith community-building initiatives rooted in their common mission, values and goals of social justice.
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the President and CEO of AJRCA will be a compelling spokesperson and relationship builder, a visionary and creative thinker, and a revenue enhancer who is inspired by the opportunity to help shape the future of Jewish communities for generations to come.
The Academy for Jewish Religion California is a transdenominational institution dedicated to the training of rabbis, cantors, chaplains, and other Jewish community leaders. Its mission is to develop religious leaders steeped in Torah wisdom and tradition and capable of transforming Jewish communities into places where all Jews can grow toward spiritual wholeness and well-being.
It is the Academy’s intent to graduate Jewish leaders who will serve as agents of transformation wherever they work by promoting genuine concern for the joys and pains of all people, dedication to moral living, and commitment to viewing Torah as foundational for human wisdom and spiritual practice.
AJRCA was founded on the idea of gathering inspiration from the disparate denominations, including the powerful ideas found in each of these movements, but not being beholden to one particular denomination. At AJRCA, Judaism is not monolithic – sages from different centuries add to its profound wisdom as it adapts to new circumstances while maintaining its eternal principles and values while evolving through time. Thus, AJRCA founders wanted to imbibe from the wisdom of the entire Jewish corpus of law and literature, and be bound by spirit, and the continued search for truth, based on faith and the wisdom of their elders and contemporary insights – not by a particular denominational definition.
AJRCA was founded in 2000 by three creative, spiritually based, activist leaders: Rabbi Stan Levy, Rabbi Steve Robbins, and Rabbi Mordecai Finley. They recognized the urgent need for a new kind of Jewish spiritual leader – one who could effectively serve the 21st-century American Jewish community in all its diversity. Determined to create the highest caliber institution, the founders recruited an illustrious faculty representing all of Judaism’s denominations, led by Rabbi Mel Gottlieb, and attracted highly accomplished students and dedicated community leaders.
Today the Academy encompasses a Rabbinical School, a Cantorial School, a Chaplaincy School, and a Master’s program with a number of specializations. AJRCA alumni work in denominational and transdenominational institutions nationwide. They lead existing congregations and have founded new ones; they serve as spiritual leaders of day schools, direct religious schools, head chaplaincy organizations, and teach at universities. Most importantly, they are transforming the Jewish communities in which they serve by their profound commitment and passion to help those in need.
Together, the rich life experience and maturity of ARJCA students, the diverse expertise of its faculty, and the uniqueness of its curriculum and training have created an environment and community that is intellectually, personally and professionally dynamic, enriching and supportive.
AJRCA’s degree programs (Master of Rabbinic Studies, Master of Jewish Sacred Music, and Master of Jewish Studies) are accredited by The Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), affirmed in 2013 and reaffirmed July 2018.
AJRCA is led by a dedicated team including 12 core faculty members, as well as administrative faculty, and approximately 20 adjunct faculty members.
Enrollment as of February 2022:
- Total students taking classes – 74
- Rabbinical – 34 total enrolled, 15 full-time students, 19 part-time students
- Cantorial – 16 total enrolled, 8 full-time students, 8 part-time students
- Chaplaincy – 11 total enrolled, 2 full-time student, 9 part-time students
- Master of Jewish Studies – 3 total part-time students
- Non-matriculants – 10 total part-time students
- Students based in Greater Los Angeles – 30%
- Average age – 43
- Students with at least one other graduate degree – 45%
- Alumni – 171
- For more information about AJRCA, please visit ajrca.edu.
FUNCTIONS OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT AND CEO:
The President and CEO is responsible for implementing the vision and successful administration of AJRCA and for ensuring compliance with all Academy matters according to applicable policies, regulations, and procedures.
The President and CEO is also engaged in advancing the academic policies of the institution and providing academic leadership. As such, the President will interface regularly with the Deans of the Rabbinical, Cantorial, and Chaplaincy Schools thus ensuring the sustainability of the exceptional academic and spiritual standards adopted by each school.
The President and CEO is entrusted with the responsibility of increasing institutional resources and support by securing grants from foundations as well as endowments and donations from individuals, organizations, and corporations. This individual will be actively involved together with the future Director of Advancement as well as with members of the Board of Directors in the development and implementation of fundraising programs that ensure the short and long-term financial sustainability of the Academy.
The President and CEO participates in the strategic planning process in formulating programs aimed at helping the Academy face the challenges it will likely confront in the future. These include academic, administrative, technological, physical facility, and any other need that may emerge as the institution matures and grows.
The President and CEO reports to the Board of Directors and is responsible for carrying out the policies and programs established by the Board, and for bringing recommendations to the attention of the Board to keep it fully informed in meeting its policy-making responsibilities. The President and CEO serves as an ex-officio member of all relevant Board committees including the Finance, Nominating, Academic Affairs, Development and Fundraising committees, and any other ad-hoc committee or work group relevant to the President’s function.
The President and CEO:
Builds upon the strengths of the Academy and provides leadership to guide its future course; respects the role of faculty, staff and students in institutional governance; supports and encourages diversity throughout the Academy, and leads the Academy’s multiple constituencies in establishing a clear vision for the Academy.
Is the chief fundraiser and is responsible for fiscal management of the Academy and ensures compliance with applicable policies, laws, rules, regulations, and contracts, grants, and donor restrictions. The President and CEO recruits, builds, and retains an effective administration to achieve prudent and effective management of the Academy’s intellectual, human, and financial resources. It is also the President’s role, in collaboration with members of the administration, to establish a work environment focused on achieving the Academy’s vision by promoting competence, integrity, transparency, responsibility, and accountability.
Interfaces with a wide range of internal and external constituencies; develops productive relationships with people of diverse interests and affiliations, and protects and furthers the excellence of each individual school, while promoting the Academy’s image and reputation as a premier seminary and school of higher learning locally, nationally, and internationally.
Fosters communication with and among all members of the Board; respects the priorities and furthers the initiatives of the Board; engages the Board in the formulation and implementation of strategic and budget plans to advance the Academy’s mission and goals; consults with the Board in the development of major policies; and keeps the Board appraised of significant issues and conditions that have implications for the Academy. The President brings recommendations to the Board for their consideration in making major policy decisions, and ensures a timely response to all queries of the administration made by members of the Board.
TRAITS AND CHARACTERISTICS DESIRED:
The successful candidate will be an inspiring, spiritually oriented, and service-minded leader with exceptional interpersonal skills and a genuine and compelling passion for AJRCA who will be able to speak credibly and persuasively about its mission. As such, the President and CEO should not only be a skilled communicator, but should also be able to relate and connect with individuals of varying degrees of involvement with the Academy and its work, both internally and externally. Strategic thinking and a business orientation must be combined with vision and ambition. The President and CEO should also be a revenue enhancer and relationship builder with strong fundraising and institutional advancement abilities. A collaborative team builder who attracts and develops talent and delegates effectively, the President and CEO will work collaboratively and respectfully with the staff, faculty, students, alumni, the Board, and community partners. The ideal candidate will be a transparent, confident, kind, and open-minded individual. A high level of integrity, creativity, curiosity, compassion, and humility is required. The successful candidate will articulate and demonstrate a deep commitment to and understanding of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, will possess a high level of cultural awareness, and will embrace and work productively across all lines of difference.
CAREER TRACK LEADING TO THIS POSITION:
AJRCA is seeking to hire a President and CEO with an extensive record of leadership and accomplishments in the Jewish community, as well as prudent management skills at a senior level in either the fields of education, nonprofit leadership, business, or communal service. The ideal candidate must also have demonstrated capability in institutional advancement primarily in the area of fundraising and in establishing constructive relations with leaders and members of the Jewish community at large. As such, this individual should have a track record of success working at a senior level where fundraising, staff management, and Board relations are key responsibilities. Experience in business and financial management, as well as strategic planning and community affairs is also important. Successful candidates will have well-developed skills that demonstrate the ability to conceptualize, plan, implement, administer, evaluate, and develop resources. The President and CEO should have a demonstrated commitment to professional development for staff, as well as to community involvement and partnership building. Above all, the President and CEO must embody and be able to passionately represent and promote the mission of AJRCA and the values of the Jewish faith to diverse groups. A doctoral academic or rabbinical degree, while not mandatory, is strongly preferred.
The annual salary range for this position is $150,000 to $200,000 plus benefits based on experience and qualifications. Relocation assistance, if needed, is negotiable.
AJRCA is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.
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