Selah Leadership Program FAQs

Who are Selah’s Partners?

The Selah Leadership Program is a collaboration between the Nathan Cummings Foundation and Bend the Arc, in partnership with the Rockwood Leadership Institute. Selah was created through the generous support of the Nathan Cummings Foundation.

What does Selah mean?

The name Selah, which means “rock” in Hebrew, was inspired in part by our collaboration with the Rockwood Leadership Institute.

In Hebrew prayer and song, including the Psalms, the term Selah is often used at the break of a passage as a call to the reader to “stop and listen” before moving to the next passage. Selah believes that leadership requires the ability to “stop and listen” to cultivate the ability to reflect on our work, our skills, and our mission, vision, and values. Being an effective leader requires inner awareness and self-management as well as skillful engagement with the outside world. Selah teaches Jewish social justice leaders how to cultivate the internal power and presence necessary to change external systems. We believe both are necessary for social transformation.

What is a Selah Cohort?

A Selah cohort includes 22 to 26 leaders who participate in all trainings together over a six-month period, forming a learning community. Through training together, each cohort’s members develop a common skill set and a sense of accountability and mutual support. Members foster an aligned vision for leadership development and build the trust necessary for risk-taking and innovative collaboration. Selah cohort members gain skills in personal mastery, organizational effectiveness, and collaboration in the field. Cohorts can be regional or national.

What will I learn?

The Selah Curriculum integrates personal transformation, organizational optimization, and collaboration skills within a Jewish framework.

    • Personal transformation skills help participants facilitate clear communication, give and receive effective feedback, and manage their emotional state.
    • Organizational performance and collaboration skills trainings help participants develop systems for work and staff management, goal setting and planning, and implementation of effective meetings.
    • Collaboration skills help participants develop a shared understanding of how to build partnerships to support effective social change work.
    • Jewish learning and values are infused throughout most training modules, and all trainings include opportunities for each individual to explore and reflect on his or her Jewish identity and how it intersects with one’s leadership and social justice work.

Who leads the Selah trainings?

The Selah Leadership Program is led by a team of Bend the Arc staff and trainers affiliated with the Rockwood Leadership Institute. Our core trainers and key staff include:

Leslie Sholl Jaffe, Rockwood Leadership Institute, Consultant, Selah Trainer

Leslie Sholl Jaffe has over 26 years experience as a consultant and trainer across a broad spectrum of businesses and non-profit organizations.  Some of her more recent client work includes:  Senior consultant and trainer for the Rockwood Leadership Institute specifically working with SEIU’s senior leadership development; Caesars Entertainment CodeGreen and the City of Las Vegas Sustainability Managers; Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy; the Human Rights Campaign Equality Leaders; and Bend the Arc.

Leslie’s work creates environments that enable people to transform their lives and achieve results.  Unlike interventions which seek only to increase skill level that impacts behavior, Leslie's work gets at the core elements that produce long-term results in individuals, teams and organization systems. By working to identify and analyze deeply held convictions which motivate decisions, behaviors and relationships with others, Leslie facilitates dramatically increased business results.  Her expertise is in organization and leadership development, curriculum design and facilitation; effective communication; meeting facilitation and coaching for personal and professional development.

N. José Acevedo, Rockwood Leadership Institute, Consultant, Selah Trainer

N. José Acevedo is an expert in facilitating the development of leadership skills and the creation of high-performing organizations.  José was one of the lead facilitators of JPMorgan's Strategies for Personal Leadership program for six years and is currently a lead trainer for Rockwood’s Leadership Program.  José has also designed and taught special programs on team learning skills, communicating for action and cultural change, both in English and Spanish, for organizations throughout the world, such as Amnesty International, Center for Community Change, CORO NY, Donna Karan, IBM, Bend the Arc, JP MorganChase, Make the Road New York, New World Foundation, and SEIU. José spent three years as an attorney for a large union in New York City. He received his BA from The City College of New York, and his JD from New York University.

Jason Kimelman-Block, Bend the Arc, Selah Trainer, Deputy Director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action

Rabbi Jason Kimelman-Block is Deputy Director of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, where he works to bring the voices of progressive American Jews into the halls of power in Washington DC.  Previously, as Bend the Arc’s Senior Director of Leadership Initiatives, he directed the Selah Leadership Program, where he continues to work on training, curriculum design and strategic direction.  He is the co-editor and co-author of Just: Judaism. Action. Social Change and served as the Director of the PANIM Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values. He received his rabbinic ordination from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America and his B.A. in Political Science from Grinnell College.  Rabbi Kimelman-Block is also a founding member of Eastern Village Cohousing, where he lives with his wife Devora and their four children.

Julie Friedlander, Bend the Arc, Program Director of Selah

Julie Friedlander is the Program Director of Selah at Bend the Arc: a Jewish Partnership for Justice. Her work supports the Selah Leadership Program, where she has the privilege of working with some of the most innovative and inspiring Jewish social change leaders in the nation. Julie also leads the organization’s Internal Culture Management Team. Prior to working at Bend the Arc, Julie worked in the Research Unit of the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands. She holds a Masters in International Affairs from The New School and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Connecticut.

Jamie Beran, Bend the Arc, Senior Director of Programs

Jamie Beran is the Senior Director of Programs at Bend the Arc where she oversees Bend the Arc’s national leadership and philanthropy programs in order to fuel a growing national movement of Jews engaged in Social Justice.  Jamie has almost ten years of program management and leadership development experience in the Jewish social justice sector.  Jamie has trained hundreds of leaders; she designed and led the Service Learning Group Leader Training Institute and trained the facilitators of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable’s Day of Service at the 2010 General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America.  Jamie is a graduate of The Rockwood Leadership Institute’s Art of Leadership Training as well as the Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community’s Social Justice Cohort. Before joining Bend the Arc, Jamie was the Director of Leadership Development for Habonim Dror and the Director of Camp Galil.  

What is included in the Selah Leadership Program?

  • Up to seven days of training over six months.
  • Peer coaching.
  • On-going homework and organizational tools that you will be able to use with your home teams.
  • Selah Leadership Program workbook and Online Learning Lab, complete with readings, materials, and resources that bring together the best of organizational development and personal leadership practices.
  • Membership in the Selah Network (upon completing the six-month training).

What impact will Selah have on my ability to be an effective leader?

    • Confidence in leadership, supervision, and management skills
    • Ability to manage one’s own feelings and reactions to others
    • Ability to act in a more conscious and intentional way, increasing strategic focus and clear decision-making
    • Clarity of purpose or inspiration for social justice work
    • Develop relationships, establish trust and rapport with others
    • Balance and pace of work priorities

What is the Selah Network?

The 275-plus members of the Selah Network are some of the most innovative and inspiring change leaders in the progressive community. Upon completion of the six-month training program, Selah participants become members of the Selah Network.  Network members organize projects and events based on their interests, which has included skills-sharing sessions, management best-practices and coaching clinics, a Torah study group, and much more.  Every several years, the entire network is invited for multi-day training to reengage with Selah practices and learn with Selahniks from different cohorts.

What are some examples of past participants?

    • Legislative campaign director for health-care advocacy initiative.
    • Community organizer working on affordable housing campaign.
    • Founding executive director of organization fostering innovative technology for social justice organizations.
    • Rabbi at a large synagogue with a community organizing initiative.
    • Performance artist working on LGBT awareness in the Jewish community.
    • Program coordinator at environmental justice organization who serves as community lay-leader and co-founder of Jewish spiritual group with orientation toward social justice and community activism.
    • Development director of Jewish organization dedicated to education and advocacy serving low-income communities.
    • Feminist philanthropist funding cutting-edge organizations and programs for women and girls.
    • CEO of leading organization in socially responsible investment field.
    • Read about the participants in the most recent Selah cohort.