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COJECO RSJ Symposium

New York

Harlene Winnick Appelman

Executive Director of The Covenant Foundation

Harlene Winnick Appelman was born  in Elmira, New York, where she received her early Jewish education from Rabbi James Gordon and from Young Judaea's Camp Tel Yehudah. She earned her B.A. from Northwestern University (1969) and, following three years spent teaching in Jerusalem, her M.A. from the University of California (Berkeley, 1978). Her career as a communal educator began in 1982, when she was appointed director of Family Life Education at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield, Michigan, where she developed such innovative programs as "Shabbat in a Box" and "So You Want to be a Jewish Parent." After serving as director of Family Programs for the Fresh Air Society of Detroit (1986–90), Appelman became the founding head of Jewish Experiences for Families, under the auspices of metropolitan Detroit's Jewish Community Centers. Under her creative leadership (1991–93), JEFF became a national model in the field of family programming and community building; its success led to Appelman's appointment as the director of Field Services for the Whizin Institute for the Family at the University of Judaism (1992–95), which was interested in propagating the JEFF paradigm. She continued to serve as senior consultant to Detroit's Agency for Jewish Education (1993–95), introducing L'Chayim, A Monthly Jewish Family Supplement, distributed locally by the Detroit Jewish News. In 1995, she was named director of Community Outreach and Education for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, remaining with the Federation as executive director of its Alliance for Jewish Education (1999–2001) and Jewish Education Officer.

In 1991, Appelman was the recipient of the first Covenant Award; she was invited to join the Covenant Foundation's Board of Directors in 1994, the same year she won the Madeleine and Mandell Berman Award for Outstanding Jewish Communal Professional. She wrote numerous articles on Jewish education and published A Seder for Tu B'Shvat (co-authored with Jane Shapiro, 1985). In 2005, she was named executive director of the New York-based Covenant Foundation, where inter alia she oversaw the funding of initiatives supported by the Jewish Education Service of North America.


The Covenant Foundation