The Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) is excited to announce that a new Chief Executive Officer has been selected for when founding leader Macy B. Hart steps aside from his role in early 2018. Michele Schipper, who has served as the ISJL’s Chief Operating Officer since 2007, will become the new leader of the organization.

Schipper, a Jackson native, spent two decades working in the Jewish communal service world on the West Coast before returning to Mississippi ten years ago.

“It was a wonderful homecoming then, and it’s an honor now,” Schipper says of taking on her initial and upcoming leadership roles at the ISJL. “Even before I got here, I was so impressed with the work Macy and the ISJL were getting done for Southern Jewish communities. Getting to continue this legacy and lead the organization into the future is truly exciting.”

“Michele returned with her family to Jackson to help us really structure our organization, our mission, our staff,” says Macy B. Hart. “Over a decade, she managed to enhance our efficiency, grow our staff, and work alongside the board and me to place the ISJL amongst the most impactful and innovative Jewish organizations. I could not be more thrilled that the board selected Michele for this position.”

When he transitions away from running the ISJL, Hart will focus on his “ISJL Bucket List,” which includes development work as well as projects he has long wanted to explore, but never had the time to do while concentrating on the primary objectives of the organization.

Schipper was selected by a search committee comprised of members of the ISJL’s Board of Directors, helmed by Rayman Solomon, a former chair of the board. Current Board Chair Rachel Reagler Schulman is enthusiastic about the committee’s selection.

“No one could ‘replace’ Macy; our founder, visionary, and first leader,” says Schulman. “But we had an excellent search committee, working with assistance from the executive committee, the Board of Directors, and ISJL staff. Our conversations and interview process led us to the conclusion that Michele Schipper was truly the right choice.”

This leadership shift is timed to coincide with the ISJL’s eighteenth anniversary, significant in the Jewish world because the number “eighteen” corresponds with the Hebrew word for “life” (chai). There will be additional information and updates available as the actual passing of the torch occurs in early 2018.

“This is a tremendous moment in the life of the organization,” Schipper adds. “We’ll be celebrating the past and all of Macy’s inspiring achievements, and planning for an incredible future as well.”

The Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) promotes Jewish life and heritage in the South through innovative programs and shared resources, serving communities seeking new solutions or where Jewish resources are limited. To learn more about the ISJL visit