Welcoming Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies New President: Prof. Ari Ackerman
Prof. Ari Ackerman has achieved an impressive academic career spanning over 20 years at Schechter, a testament to his talents as teacher, administrator and scholar.
In his new role, Prof. Ackerman is ready to lead the institution forward with a keen sense that adding more educational elements will make an already impressive institute stronger. “Schechter has done a great job in developing transformative programs where students actually make a profound shift in their world view, strengthening their Jewish/Israeli identity. I’ve seen this change take place in my classes.”
Building on this success, Ackerman wants to expand Schechter’s student base by introducing new programs, academic and non-academic alike. “There are exciting new fields like Bibliotherapy and Art Therapy that could only be enhanced by the Jewish studies component and this is where Schechter provides the ‘value added’,” explains Ackerman.
He also wants to see Schechter offer certification programs and professional development courses in Jewish education and Jewish communal work. He very much wants to bring more Israeli teachers into Schechter courses and professional development opportunities, positing that the institute, and all of its various parts need to incorporate new trends in Jewish education to multiply Schechter’s imprint on Israeli society.
“My dream is to establish a School of Jewish Education, possibly through strategic partnerships. We’re not just an academic institution. We have educational goals as well. Schechter has always looked at Jewish studies in a creative way, pushing the ‘MA envelope’ in new directions,” Ackerman states.
Ackerman will push for greater cooperation between the five organizations that compose The Schechter Institutes, Inc.: The Graduate School, Rabbinical Seminary, TALI Education Fund, Neve Schechter in Tel Aviv and Midrashot Schechter Adult Education. “I want to create an ‘ethos of partnership’” where the ‘whole’ is more than its ‘parts,’” he explains. Ackerman is aiming to create a cohesive adult education program serving all five bodies. “We’re all involved in Jewish culture – art, music, liturgy, literature. Working together, our educational impact on Israel will be that much greater.”
Since assuming the presidency on October 1st, 2022, Ackerman has been hard at work moving Schechter forward by integrating the ideas of educational innovation and academic excellence.