Left to Right:  Ruthie Warshenbrot (Staff, WGF Class 23), Stefanie Zelkind (Staff, WGF Class 16), Jay Moses (Staff, WGF Class 5), Ann Luban (WGF Class 4 and WHP Chicago Pro-99), Elana Paru (WGF Class 7) and Ben Berger (Staff) at the JPRO Conference.  

Hundreds of Jewish communal professionals gathered this week in Columbus, Ohio for JPRO 2016, a conference sponsored by the JPRO Network, the professional association for Jewish communal professionals across North America.  Co-chaired by Audra Berg (WHP alum, Chicago 09) and Jeff Solomon and hosted by The Wexner Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Columbus, this conference brought together young professionals, mid-career professionals and seasoned professionals who work in federations, foundations, national agencies, local agencies, JCCs, Hillels, synagogues and day schools.  We were inspired by visionaries who spoke at plenaries throughout the conference, including our own Leslie Wexner and Rabbi Elka Abrahamson.  Breakout sessions focused on building skills in advocacy, development, communication, evaluation, capacity building, community building and much, much more.  And, of course, there were many opportunities to engage deeply with colleagues we’ve known for years and others we’d just met.  We all came away educated, inspired, nurtured and ready to dive back in, to quote John Ruskay from the closing plenary, to “the deeply sacred work” that we do each and every day.

Ann Luban, a Wexner Graduate Fellowship alum (Class 4) and Wexner Heritage alum (Chicago Pro-99), coordinates the Synagogue Community Partnership initiative at Jewish Child and Family Services in Chicago.  She is a founding and current board member of Chicago Jewish Day School and teaches adult Jewish education in her local community.  Ann has published journal articles and a book chapter and has presented at numerous conferences locally, nationally and internationally.  She can be reached at annluban@sbcglobal.net.