Where do you do your Work in the World?

Stories of Wisdom at Work in action.

As an international Jewish thinker and leader

  Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen, Chancellor Jewish Theological Seminary of America

I work with Chancellor Arnold Eisen on his Mitzvah Initiative, a project which involves bringing Conservative Jews together for study, personal and communal reflection all around the topic of Mitzvah and how they shape their Jewish lives. I have been privileged to write curricula and work with Rabbis and educators across North America, the United Kingdom and Germany with more growth planned.

Jane Shapiro is one of the most talented educators I have ever known.  She draws on extensive experience with Jewish education at all levels, as well as on unfailing pedagogic instincts,  in designing curricula and class sessions that engage,  move, stimulate and inform -- in a word,  teach -- a broad range of students/participants.  The success of the  Mitzvah Initiative launched by JTS in dozens of Conservative congregations over the past few years is due in large part to Jane's ability to translate the insights of JTS faculty and the work of major Jewish thinkers into units  of instruction -- and language of discussion -- that make the  complex issues of mitzvah accessible and compelling. It is a joy to watch her in action - and a pleasure to work with her.


As a young professional

  The Jewish Leadership Institute of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and Sixth and I Synagogue, Washington D.C

A Conversation on Negotiation Tips for Women


Negotiation Tips for Women - Jewish Leadership Institute


  Caryn Peretz, Director, Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago Young Leadership Division

Caryn and I have worked together for several years. At first I would come to facilitate sessions for groups of teens whom she directed. Then we began to talk about her own personal vision for having an an impact on her Jewish community. When she assumed her new position as head of a department we continued to develop her ideas and programs. We created a whole new approach for emerging leadership development, as a sequential curriculum that combines team building, cultivating self-awareness, Jewish learning, Jewish experiences and training on core skills young leaders need to take their work to the next level.  Through our collaboration, Caryn is able to see her vision translated programmatically into her world, helping her make an enormous impact on the next generation of leadership.

Jane has been my expert advisor in every leadership initiative I have worked on over the past four years.  She has guided my department in the enhancement of a unique and innovative leadership development curriculum from the bottom up.  Jane has also helped me develop my own personal vision as a Jewish communal professional by pushing me to ask the important questions that help me to grow in my career.  She motivates me to lead and excite others, and emulate her path of building Jewish community and continuity.  The most recent workshop Jane led for our group was called: "The People You Meet Along The Way".  Jane is the person I met along the way that continues to inspire me.  As a young professional in the field, I feel lucky to have Jane as a role model, a mentor and a friend."

  Naomi Less, Jewish Educator and Consultant, founder “Jewish Chicks Rock” www.jewishchicksrock.org

Naomi and I first worked together at Camp Ramah when she still did not realize that she had the potential to be a powerful Jewish professional.  We recently developed a vision and a staff development manual for a cutting edge national high school program  www.forward.com/articles/13966

Jane and I worked together to craft a vision for the Florence Melton Communiteen High School program.  The meetings were invigorating - as Jane has both a phenomenal "yes and" quality - where she builds off of ideas, but also challenges core concepts as well, if they fall short of the quality her assignments demand.  We engaged in a constant flow of discoveries that enabled us to service the client from what I understand, beyond their expectations.  Her creativity knows no limits - and as a creative person myself, I am drawn to working with folks who can inspire with no ceiling in sight.


As a teacher

  Jennifer Singer, Community Educator Sarasota, Florida

Jennifer and I have been colleagues on three national projects. She has taught several courses that I have written and participated in many faculty development sessions I have conducted. Jennifer has developed a following among learners in her local community.

Simply put, Jane Shapiro is a remarkable teacher.  Her knowledge of Jewish text is extensive, deep and rich.  Her love of Judaism shines through everything she does.  And the sheer joy she exudes when teaching is infectious.  There's nothing better than watching her interact with a group of students -- adults and teens alike -- and awaken in them the same enthusiasm and excitement.  I love watching her teach, and every time I'm privileged to do so, I try to absorb as much as possible.  By her example in the classroom and by the curricula she's written, Jane has made me a better teacher, and I'm very grateful to her.

  Rebecca Minkus Lieberman, Faculty - Florence Melton Adult Mini-School

Rebecca and I taught together in the Florence Melton Parent Education Program. . We spent time honing questioning skills for adult learners. She has gone on to have a great following as an adult and parent educator. She inspires young parents to incorporate more thoughtful Jewish tradition into their homes.

I had the privilege to teach alongside Jane for two years as part of the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School. She is an extraordinary educator - one whose Jewish knowledge is solidly founded both in the sources and texts of our tradition and in her personal experience of living a Jewish life. With humility and passion, Jane instills in her students a love of learning and gives them the skills and tools they will need to return to the texts on their own and use them to enrich their own Jewish lives.


As an Educational Leader

  Barry Chazan is Director of the Master of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies Program and Professor of Jewish Education at Spertus College. Dr. Chazan an internationally acclaimed Jewish educator who has taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at major universities in North America. He has served i with the Melton Center for Jewish Education at the Hebrew University, the Jewish Community Centers Association, and Birthright Israel.

Barry and I work together on the Individualized Learning and Mentoring component of the Masters program. Each student is assigned a professional mentor and I have worked with several students.

Jane Shapiro is an original.

She is a rare breed on the local, national, and international scene. She is a teacher’s teacher – versed in texts, poetic in the art of teaching, and an artist in getting texts and people to “talk” to each other. She is a teacher and more. She is a “professor” of mentoring, with unique skills in helping individuals grow into gifted and skilled professionals. She has quickly played a pivotal role in the newly created Masters of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies at Spertus, which encompasses a prominent mentoring component. Jane mentors several students in both cohorts. She has special skills in guiding the growth of entering professionals into the excitement and labyrinths of Jewish life.

Jane Shapiro is an original.

  Dr. Betsy Katz Former North American Director, Florence Melton Adult Mini School, Board Member Covenant Foundation, consultant, and recent recipient of an Avi Chai Fellowship.

Dr. Betsy Katz and I collaborated for many years on the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School. Together, we raised the standards nationally for the entire field of adult learning, refining teaching creating curricula, lecturing and teaching across North America and in Israel

Jane was an intelligent, creative member of our staff who took aggressive successful initiative in bringing dozens of communities into the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School network. She also worked with us in the areas of curriculum development. Jane is a model teacher of adults and a teacher of teachers.

  Rabbi Ellen Pildis, Director of Jewish Studies - The Rashi School, Newton, MA

Rabbi Ellen Pildis and I worked for three years with the faculty of her day school on raising their understanding of Bible and how to use a standards-based approach to instruction.

Jane has been a wonderful curriculum consultant and personal mentor for me. She relates easily to our diverse staff, is able to challenge and stimulate teachers in subject matter and in their teaching practice. Jane is extremely knowledgeable in Jewish content areas and in emphasizing the needs and purpose of professional development.

  Rolly Cohen Director Board of Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago

Rolly Cohen runs the Board of Jewish Education for Metropolitan Chicago. I have been a faculty member at the center for Teacher Education for many years, teaching topics ranging from Bible to Jewish literature and Jewish history.

Jane is an excellent educator who has a large following of students. Her warmth, deep knowledge of the subject matter and professional expertise make her the ideal teacher. Her vast understanding and familiarity with Jewish texts and commentaries challenge students and encourage them to explore new concepts and think outside their comfort zone.


As an Organizational leader

  Sherrie Weiss  Chair Social Action Committee Bnai Tikvah Congregation, Founder and President Yeledim beyachad

Sherrie attended a series on Jewish ideas about social justice based on the work of Rabbi Sid Schwarz www.panim.org She took her learning to the next level by reorganizing her congregations’s entire social action program.

Having the opportunity to study the roots of Tikkun Olam in the Bible with Jane helped me understand why we, as Jews, feel the collective need to repair the world. Jane’s knowledge, easy manner and skills at facilitating small groups led us to discover our Jewish responsibility through the eyes of the generations before us and the importance of passing that responsibility on to our families, our community and the world around us.  With the understanding of my collective Jewish history, I have been able to translate information into action and “pay it forward” with an enthusiasm and ruach I never had.  Jane has an uncanny ability to take her students thoughts and weave them into the narrative.  Her teaching style provides and encourages empowerment as she leads her students not only through her vast knowledge of the Torah, but her enthusiasm and love for the Torah and the Jewish people.

  Rabbi Josh Feigelson, Campus Rabbi & Senior Director for Educational Initiatives Fiedler Hillel at Northwestern University

Josh received a grant from the Covenant Foundation to create a consultation around emerging adulthood in partnership with Dan Libenson of the Newberger Hillel at the University of Chicago. Together we mapped out a vision for the consultation which included developing the program, organizing it thematically and generating a set of core questions that they wanted to discuss with their colleagues.

Jane Shapiro Associates was integral to the conceptualization, planning, and execution of the Consultation on Emerging Jewish Adulthood held in June 2008 at Northwestern University. Jane and her team listened closely, thought creatively, and planned meticulously to help us create a groundbreaking educational gathering of practitioners, experts, and funders. Thank you, Jane!


As an Adult Learner

  Dr. Rachel Levin, Pediatrician and Lora Shiman, Owner Gladstone Bakery North  www.gladstonebakerynorth.com

Rachel Levin and Lora Shiman have worked together as study partners for the last few years in one of my weekly classes.

As former Melton and current Chevruta students, Jane offers a learning style that is accessible, but with great depth and detail.  Jane teaches how to interpret text in the style of Talmudic scholars.  We are always enthusiastic about the upcoming class and know that we will leave feeling enlightened.

  Anita Silvert, Adult Jewish Educator, Pritzker Center for Jewish Education, Jewish Community Center of Chicago

Anita has also been a student in this class.

There are few things in my week I look forward to as much as studying with Jane.  With her great depth of knowledge and her guidance, she leads us to more and more layers of understanding of the text, while encouraging us each to find our own voices in its wisdom.  She is a consummate teacher, and through her I have been able to both "make time for study", and "acquire a teacher and a friend". Our class, like Shabbat, is a parenthesis in my week.

  Judy Teibloom Mishkin RN, Lactation Consultant, Lactation Associates  www.lactationassociates.com

Judy organized a study group that is going through the entire Torah.

In every profession there are those that stand out because they have mastered the science and the art of a given field.  In education, we call them “master teachers.”  Jane Shapiro is one such master teacher.  In addition to artfully teaching text material with a depth and breadth of knowledge, she intuitively knows how to draw a student out and facilitates their journey to connect, intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally, to the material themselves. Jane is facilitating a student’s journey, mentoring a process within the student, and, because of that, the student becomes very devoted to Jane.  It is also clear that Jane learns from every student and is a lifelong learner, the true sign of someone wise.