Last year I saw a staged reading here of Winter Miller's 'In Darfur" in conjunction with the American Refugee Committee. It was the play's introduction in Chicago (before it was presented by TimeLine Theatre) and this was a wonderful venue in which to see it. The play and the discussion that followed still resonate with me. Spertus is definitely worth checking out as a place to see interesting programs on important subjects.
As a student of Spertus, I found the Masters of Arts in Jewish Professional Studies to be challenging, engaging, and worthwhile. It has enhanced my personal and professional expertise and helped to build meaningful relationships with other Jewish professionals. The caliber of the professors and the depth of the subjects exceeded my expectations.
After looking all around the country, I found that a tailored graduate program for Jewish professionals was operating here in my hometown of the Windy City. Spertus is always looking for innovative ways to expand their product of dynamic learning and Jewish discourse, and although at any given moment, students aren't meeting in the building, they are meeting all throughout the Chicago area. For years I attended night classes in the Spertus building, in addition to meetings with academic mentors around the city, and sessions up in the suburbs of Chicago where I work. I feel that this program is specifically designed for working professionals and although we were able to utilize the beautiful Michigan Ave location- it was during the "off" hours that are considerate of a full-time professional's schedule. The impact Spertus has had in the Jewish non profit arena will have a ripple effect on the communities where it is running programs and I'm excited by the existence of a Jewish professional cadre that was trained by this program.
As a graduate of one of Spertus’ Jewish studies program, I can say that the program was extremely challenging and rewarding. The professors were very knowledgeable in their respective fields; some were among the best teachers I have ever had. I learned a great deal about a variety of area of a Jewish life, both contemporary and historical, that have helped shaped my overall thinking today. I also learned practical professional, interpersonal, and management skills. The one-on-one mentoring from high-profile community members provided invaluable individual attention.
To round out my Spertus experience, I took a fundraising course in their non-profit management program, which also challenged me to do creative work and think differently about how I might handle an age-old problem that every non-profit faces.
Five years ago neither graduate school in general nor Spertus in particular was on my radar. Today I am proud have a degree with their name on it. And I am a better person and professional for it.
Spertus is a gem in our community, one worthy of polishing and in fact in the midst of being recast (to stretch the analogy) by an expert jeweler, the new president, Hal Lewis. As a Master's degree student in Jewish Professional Studies, I've been impressed by the commitment Spertus has made to serious study of the field. Within the walls of Spertus there is no complacency, but rather a sense of both urgency and excitement about the potential for innovative adult educational programming to enliven the future of Chicago's Jewish community. Spertus--and the serious, smart professionals who now run it--deserve all the support they can muster.
My experience at Spertus started during a couple classes from UIC. The first class required me to see an exhibit at Spertus. The exhibit I saw was about African American Art and the Julius Rosenwald Fund. It was both informative and interesting. I wrote my final paper about pieces from this exhibit. Spertus also has a wonderful library that can be used by the public. I was doing research for another class at UIC, and needed access to a volume of the Zohar that that UIC's library did not have. The library staff was very helpful, and the there is an incredible view of the lake and grant park. It makes for a great place to study. After I graduated, I got an internship in the marketing department at Spertus. I help with event promotions and editing. Spertus is a great place to visit and work.
I walk by Spertus every workday. I rarely see anyone walk in or out. I can't believe this place is still being funded by anyone and its difficult to understand how it can justify its continued existence.
The organization made the completely irresponsible decision to build a $55 MIllion facility that is relatively useless from a programmatic perspective. As it is, the building is either closed or devoid of activity most days.
Looking at their website, there seems to be almost no programming to speak of anyways. Despite its claims to offer innovative Jewish cultural and educational programming, events are few and far between. It seems to be little more than an expensive rental facility for parties and corporate events and a glorified gift shop.
Rick Carter - I wish you would come inside Spertus instead of just walking by. Many of our programming takes place on Sundays and in the evenings, so if we're quiet when you walk by, might just be that your schedule and ours don't overlap. Contact me if you'd like to come to a Spertus program as my guest. Betsy Gomberg Spertus Director of Marketing & Communications firstname.lastname@example.org