In 2013, the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA) voted to close down after 32 years. JESNA Board Chair and Wexner Heritage alum Cass Gottlieb (Baltimore) and Jonathan Woocher (former President and Chief Ideas Officer) thought it would be helpful to the Jewish Community at large to be transparent about how they shut down their organization. Reposted with thanks to

The JESNA Board held its final meeting a few days ago in New York, and voted to distribute its remaining endowment funds, totaling around three-quarters of a million dollars, to a variety of organizations doing cutting-edge work in Jewish education. This, together with steps to preserve and make available to scholars and educators the intellectual property JESNA created over the years, will be the last steps the agency takes before its dissolution.

“The JESNA Board?” you say. “I thought they went out of existence a couple of years ago.”

Well, yes. JESNA did make the decision to cease its program operations in 2013, a victim of a changing Jewish educational landscape and greatly diminished federation financial support. But, the leadership of the agency was determined that JESNA’s closure be done with dignity and responsibility, and the agency’s mission advanced even with its demise.

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Cass Gottlieb, a Wexner Heritage alum (Baltimore), is a principal at Kann Partners, working as an architect, mentor, studio manager and business developer. Her service to the Jewish community includes serving on the Boards of RAVSAK and Johns Hopkins Hillel, as well as Hillel International, Pearlstone Center and JESNA, where she is currently Board Chair. Cass can be reached at