June 2007

Welcome to the June e-newsletter of Brandeis University's Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, Steinhardt Social Research Institute, and Fisher-Bernstein Institute.

Having reached the end of the academic year, it seemed like an appropriate time to focus attention on our work concerning education. During the past month, we released two reports in the field of Jewish education. The Impact of Day School is the first national study to examine day school outcomes in a comparative fashion. Sponsored by the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE), the report compares day school alumni to their peers who attended non-Jewish private and public schools. The findings tell us that there is much to be proud about: Day school alumni perform on par with the best of students from other private and public high schools. They also avoid much of the self-destructive behavior that is widespread among college students, and they express strong commitment to their Jewish identities and education.

The second report is part of a larger study, sponsored by the Jim Joseph Foundation, of the Jewish educational infrastructure for preschool through college. An earlier report, Mapping Jewish Education: The National Picture, described the roles played by federations, foundations, and other Jewish agencies in creating an educational system across communities. It also explored the funding of educational programs. The recent second report, highlighted below, catalogs and evaluates professional development opportunities in Jewish education.

Our hope is that the questions and recommendations emanating from these reports will serve as guideposts for future efforts to grow and improve Jewish education. As always, we look forward to your comments and suggestions.

- Leonard Saxe, director of the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute
- Amy Sales, director of the Fisher-Bernstein Institute





The Impact of Day School: A Comparative Analysis of Jewish College Students

Fern Chertok, Leonard Saxe, Charles Kadushin, Annette Koren, Graham Wright, and Aron Klein


The first national study specifically designed to determine the near-term effects of day schools on the academic, social, and Jewish trajectories of former students during their college years.










Mapping Professional Development for Jewish Educators


Amy L. Sales, Nicole Samuel, Annette Koren, with Marion Gribetz, and Joe Reimer


After outlining desirable professional development opportunities for Jewish educators in formal and informal educational settings, researchers consider those proposals in light of existing practices and evaluate areas for improvement.





Other Publications

All papers & publications

Outreach to Parents with Young Children: Strategies for Success




In
Contact, the Journal of Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation, Mark I. Rosen examines community outreach strategies for young parents and discusses those programs that appear to meet the unique needs of new parents at this stage of life, in particular those features that attract unengaged and intermarried parents.

Winter 2007


Recent Presentations

  • "The Impact of Day School: A Comparative Analysis of Jewish College Students"
    Fern Chertok and Leonard Saxe
    Brandeis House, New York
    May 14

    Sponsored by PEJE and CMJS, the symposium marking the release of The Impact of Day School: A Comparative Analysis of Jewish College Students was attended by over one hundred leaders in day school education and the Jewish communal world. Following a presentation by the report authors, respondents Alisa Doctoroff, board member at the Abraham Joshua Heschel High School; Bethamie Horowitz, social psychologist and research director for the Mandel Foundation; and Rabbi Joshua Elkin, Executive Director of PEJE, discussed the study implications.

  • "Engaging the birthright israel Generation in Jewish Life"
    Leonard Saxe
    Reaching Generation iPod: Identification and Affiliation Among Young American Jews Symposium
    California State University, Long Beach
    April 29

    Part of a symposium addressing strategies for engaging the young adult generation, the presentation explored the ways in which participation in birthright israel has influenced the attitudes, choices, and behaviors that connect young Jews to communal life. The discussion highlighted the potential of birthright israel alumni to transform Jewish life in the United States and those measures that communal institutions can take to create opportunities for this generation.

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