Who is who

Board

The members of the Board of the Robert A. Levisson Foundation are appointed by the Dutch Union for Progressive Judaism. The Board is charged with managing the administrative and financial interests of the Institute. The Board appoints the Dean, the Management Team and the members of the Academic Committee.

The board members are:

  • Ella Wijnschenk-Oesterman, chair. She is a member of the Vocational Committee since the start of the Institute. Till her pension she was working for Joods Maatschappelijk Werk (national welfare organisation for the Jewish community in the Netherlands) and was member of the board of several welfare organisations inside and outside of the Jewish community.
  • Leopold I. Hertzberger, treasurer. Till his pension he was neurologist in the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Dordrecht. He is chairman of the Liberal Jewish Congregation of Rotterdam.
  • Helma Blankman, vice-chair and member with focus on education, is coordinating policy advisor at the Ministry of Justice & Security and before that head of Science and Education at the Netherlands Institute for Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology. She followed the shaliach tsibur course at the Levisson Institute and is chazan at LJG Rotterdam.
  • Anita van Leeuwen, secretary and member with the focus on general and legal affairs. In daily life she is a family and juvenile judge at the Noord-Holland District Court.
  • Liane van Dantzig, member on behalf of the Board of the Dutch Union for Progressive Judaism. She is social geographer and does policy research for a research institute.

Dean and Management Team

The Management Team (MT) is composed of three people, each with his/her own specialty. The three members have equal authority, each in his/her field, hoewever, the Dean is the primus inter pares.

  • Menno ten Brink, Dean, is since 2004 senior rabbi of the Liberal Jewish Congregation of Amsterdam, as full time successor of rabbi David Lilienthal. Before he worked as a part-time rabbi in the Liberal Jewish Congregations of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Simultaneously he worked for 12 years as the first Liberal Jewish Chaplain to the Dutch Armed Forces. He graduated in Dutch Law at the University of Amsterdam in 1984 and was ordained at the Leo Baeck College in London in 1993. He has been involved since the beginning of the Institute. Is is also member of the board of the European Rabbinic Assembly (ERA) and of the Executive Board of the European Union for Progressive Judaism.
  • Marianne van Praag, Head Vocational Programme, is rabbi of the Liberal Jewish Congregation The Hague. Marianne was ordained in 2008 as one in our first class of Levisson rabbis and has many years experience of pastoral work. She is active in several interfaith organisations, and a frequent speaker for various religious, philosophical and social institutions and associations.
  • Francine Püttmann, Director General Affairs, is the central person in the daily work, the one who coordinates all activities and is the first point of contact in all that concerns the Management Team. She studied Semitic Languages ​​at the Juda Palache Institute of the University of Amsterdam, followed by a postdoctoral year at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Among others she has worked as a documentalist and photo editor at the NIW, the main Dutch Jewish Weekly, and with a number of projects of the Jewish Historical Museum. She also is the librarian of the Levisson Institute and the Liberal Jewish Congregation Amsterdam.

Training Committee

The Training Committee exist of a Subcommittee Academic Programme and a Subcommittie Vocational Programme.

The Training Committee is responsible for:

  • The content of the rabbinical training and advises on courses (non-rabbinical training)
  • Contributes to the development and implementation of the curriculum, the individual subjects and the choice of teachers of the rabbinical training
  • Ensures the connection between the Academic and the Vocational programme
  • Follows the learning path and learning process of the rabbis in training
  • Evaluates the content of the rabbinical training and of the courses: do the individual subjects/components offer the right content (knowledge, insight, skills) with a view to the end terms

The members of the Training Committee are:

  • Prof. dr. Irene E. Zwiep, chair, head of the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies at the University of Amsterdam
  • Prof. dr. Bart Wallet, professor Jewish History at the University of Amsterdam
  • Rabbi Marianne van Praag, head Vocational Programme
  • Carolyn Levisson, was till her pension Student Psychologist at the Technical University of Delft and chair a.i. of the Subcommittee Vocational Programme
  • Ella Wijnschenk-Oesterman, chair of the Board (hearer)
  • Rabbi Menno ten Brink, Dean of the Institute (hearer)
  • Francine Püttmann, director (hearer)

Admission Committee

This committee evaluates the candidates for the Rabbinic programme and makes a recommendation on the admission to the Management Team. This committee consists of

  • Prof. dr. Irene Zwiep, chair of the Training Committee
  • Rabbi Menno ten Brink, dean
  • Carolyn Levisson, chair a.i. Subcommittee Vocational Programme

Examination Committee

The Examination Committee

  • Monitors and evaluates the quality of the rabbinical training, by evaluations of the subjects, testing and quality assurance: have the individual courses/components been carried out properly (preconditions, contact hours, materials, etc.), by qualified teachers, with the right study load and adequate testing
  • Takes the final exam of the rabbi in training, both the academic part (thesis) and the vocational/pastoral part (portfolio)

The members of the Examination Committee will still be appointed.


Appeal Committee

The Appeal Committee mediates in serious conflicts.

Its members are:

  • Ernst Numann, member, was Vice-President of the Dutch Supreme Court and a former chairman of the Dutch Union for Progressive Judaism


Advisory Board

The Advisory Board advises the Institute, requested and non-requested.

Members are:

  • Rabbi David Lilienthal, Honarary Dean of the Levisson Institute
  • Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, rabbi-emeritus of the Liberal Jewish Congregation The Hague


Confidential Adviser

See here about the Confidential Adviser.