Educators Conferences

The Schusterman Center develops conferences for educators on topics related to Israel Studies and our mission of advancing knowledge and understanding of the modern State of Israel. Our relevant experience is with educators of high-school age students. Please see below for details of our most recent educators conference.

Anti-Zionism to Anti-Semitism:
Preparing High School Students for the New Reality

rachel fish speaking

Conference Coordinator – Rachel Fish, Associate Director, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies

In concert with the AviChai Foundation, the Schusterman Center developed this conference for educators in Jewish high schools. 184 educators attended, representing 89 schools from 19 US states, Canada and Mexico.

Following is the conference program and links for further details:

November 14, 2016

10:00 Welcome Remarks
Yossi Prager, Executive Director - North American Region, Avi Chai Foundation
Rachel Fish, Associate Director, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Brandeis University

10:15 Are We Up to the Challenge of This Millennium?
Ruth Wisse, Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature, Harvard University

10:45 Panel: College Students Experiences

  • Benjamin Gladstone, Brown University
  • Gabriel Goldstein, Brandeis University
  • Michal Leibowitz, Stanford University
  • Esther Oziel, Queen's University
  • Moderator: Rachel Fish, Associate Director, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies

12:00 Lunch

1:15 The Campus Environment
Len Saxe, Director, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, Brandeis University
Rachel Fish
, Associate Director, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, Brandeis University
Yossi Prager, Executive Director - North American Region, Avi Chai Foundation

2:30 Break

2:45 Breakout Sessions by Region

3:45 Coffee break

4:00 The Emotional Challenge of Preparing Students for Campus Transition
(followed by breakout sessions by region)
Joel Chasnoff, Performer and writer

5:30 Plenary Session: Influencing the Formation of Opinions and the Role of Social Media
Joe Hyams, CEO, HonestReporting

6:30 Dinner

8:00 Partial Screening and Discussion: Body and Soul – The State of the Jewish Nation
Gloria Greenfield, Producer and Director, Doc Emet Productions

November 15, 2016

8:00 Vendors Fair Opens (Half Day)

8:30 Plenary Session: The Israel Conversation is not about Right and Left
Daniel Gordis, Koret Distinguished Fellow, Shalem College

9:30 Breakout Session: Integrating Content into the Teaching of the Humanities

11:30 Lunch

1:00 Legal Approaches to Addressing Anti-Semitism on Campus
Kenneth L. Marcus, President and General Counsel, The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law
Susan Tuchman, Director, Zionist Organization of America Center for Law and Justice

1:30 Vendors Fair Closes

2:00 Coffee break

2:15 Panel: Role of Israel Education in Day Schools

  • Joseph Beyda, Principal, Yeshiva of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School
  • Eli Ciner, Head of School, Yeshivat Frisch
  • CB Neugroschl, Head of School, Yeshiva University High School for Girls
  • Meirav Tova Kallush, Director of Israel Programming, Golda Och Academy
  • Bruce Powell, Founder and Head of School, de Toledo High School
  • Moderator: Raizi Chechik, Principal, Stella K. Abraham High School

3:15 The Power of Words
Bret Stephens, Deputy Editorial Page Editor, Wall Street Journal

4:15 Concluding Remarks
Lee Buckman, Head of School, Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto

4:45 Conclusion of Conference


"What Do Jewish College Students Really Know About Israel?," eJewishPhilanthropy (Nov. 3, 2016)

"Fort Lee Conference Gives Educators Tools to Prep Students on Israel" and "Facing the New Reality,"
Jewish Link of New Jersey, Nov. 17, 2016)

"Advice to Educators: Dig Deep on Mideast Conflict," Jewish Week and New Jersey Jewish News. Nov. 29, 2016 and Dec. 1, 2016, respectively)

Photo Album

Conference facebook album


"Thanks again for pulling together a conference that managed to be inspiring and depressing, scary and hilarious, all in one. In speaking with participants during the conference I did get the sense that they had some clear ideas of what they wanted to do when they returned back to their schools, which I think is a sign that you made a difference already." –Elliot Rabin PhD, RAVSAK: The Jewish Community Day School Network

"Rich in content and thought provoking on many levels." –Amalia Phillips, Director of Israel and Overseas Education, Louise D. & Morton J. Macks Center for Jewish Education

Speaker Biographies

Joel Chasnoff is a comedian and a graduate of Solomon Schechter in Skokie, Illinois. Chasnoff performs in North America, Europe, and Israel, including the Montreal Comedy Festival, Israeli late-night TV, multiple appearances on NPR, PBS and many hundreds of Jewish events. The 188th Crybaby Brigade (Simon and Schuster, 2010), Chasnoff’s comedic memoir about his service in the Israeli Army, was called “horrifyingly hilarious” by Kirkus Reviews. The film is currently in production at Paramount. In 2013, Chasnoff co-authored the cookbook Balaboosta with Israeli chef and Chopped! Champion Einat Admony. Chasnoff also writes extensively about the plight of IDF Lone Soldiers, including editorials in the Washington Post and Jewish Week. His writing has been featured in the Forward, The Big Book of Jewish Humor—25th Anniversary Edition, and The Idiot’s Guide to Jokes. See more about Chasnoff at

David Ellenson is director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and visiting professor in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. Chancellor-Emeritus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, he served as president of HUC-JIR from 2001-2013. Ellenson has authored or edited seven books and over 300 articles and reviews in a wide variety of academic and popular journals and newspapers. His book, After Emancipation: Jewish Religious Responses to Modernity, won the National Jewish Book Council’s award as outstanding book in Jewish Thought in 2005. His work, Rabbi Esriel Hildesheimer and the Creation of a Modern Jewish Orthodoxy (University of Alabama Press, 1990), as well as his book, Pledges of Jewish Allegiance: Conversion, Law, and Policymaking in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Orthodox Responsa (Stanford University Press, 2012), co-authored with Daniel Gordis, were also both nominated for book awards by the National Jewish Book Council. His newest book, Jewish Meaning in a World of Choice, appeared in September of 2014 in the University of Nebraska/Jewish Publication Society’s Scholar of Distinction Series. Ellenson received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1981 and was ordained as a rabbi by HUC-JIR in 1977. At Brandeis he teaches courses on "Who is a Jew? Jewish Status and Identity in Israel and America," and a seminar on “Jewish and Israeli History and Historiography.”

Rachel Fish is associate director of the Schusterman Center. She completed her doctoral degree in the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies department at Brandeis University in 2013. Her dissertation, “Configurations of Bi-nationalism: The Transformation of Bi-nationalism in Palestine/Israel 1920's-Present,” examines the history of the idea of bi-nationalism and alternative visions for constructing the State of Israel. She has worked as an educator and consultant in various capacities in the Jewish community and higher education, teaching about Zionism and Israeli history at Brandeis University, UMASS Amherst and the Me’ah Adult Jewish Education program. At Brandeis, Fish teaches the “Myra Kraft Seminar on Israel” at the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program. In 2015 she held the Rohr Visiting Professorship at Harvard University, where she lectured on modern Israel and received the Derek Bok Certificate of Teaching Excellence.

Benjamin Gladstone is a junior at Brown University, where he is pursuing degrees in Middle East Studies and Judaic Studies and serves as president of Brown Students for Israel. At Brown, he also leads the Brown University Coalition for Syria, which advocates for the United States to absorb greater numbers of refugees and which raises money for humanitarian efforts in and around Syria, and Students for Responsible Policies in Yemen, which advocates against American backing of the Saudi-led coalition in that country. Last year, he also headed Brown Students Against a Nuclear Iran. He has served as AIPAC Campus Liaison and as a Tower Tomorrow Fellow at The Israel Project. He is a Scribe Contributor at The Forward and a blogger with the Times of Israel, and his work has been published in Tower Magazine, the Jewish Advocate, the Brand Of Milk And Honey, the Hill, the Brown Daily Herald, the Brown Political Review, and The New York Times. He is a founder and editor of ProgressME, a student publication that highlights underrepresented voices on Southwest Asian issues.

Gabriel Goldstein, is a student at Brandeis University. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Goldstein is double-majoring in Politics and Psychology. Goldstein is a fervent Zionist who is particularly interested in Israel's military history. When he isn't reading about the Six Day War, he's co-hosting basketball talk show Full-Court Press at Brandeis's student-run radio station.

Daniel Gordis is senior vice president and the Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalem College. The author of more than ten books, Gordis is a regular columnist for both the Jerusalem Post and for Bloomberg View. Gordis’ writing has appeared in magazines and newspapers including the New York Times, The New Republic, the New York Times Magazine, Azure, Commentary and Foreign Affairs, and his books have received numerous awards. He won the National Jewish Book Award for Saving Israel, and both Becoming a Jewish Parent and his book (co-authored with Dr. David Ellenson of the Hebrew Union College), Pledges of Jewish Allegiance: Conversion, Law, and Policy-Making in 19th and 20th Century Orthodox Responsa (Stanford University Press, 2012) were finalists for the National Jewish Book Award. The Promise of Israel: Why Its Seemingly Greatest Weakness is Actually Its Greatest Strength, was named by Jewish Ideas Daily as one of the “best Jewish books of 2012.” Commentary Magazine has called Gordis’ most recent book, Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul “the gold standard in Begin studies.” Gordis’ newest book is a history of the State of Israel entitled Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn.

Gloria Z. Greenfield is an award-winning filmmaker and founding president of Doc Emet Productions, a non-profit organization that produces and disseminates educational films that contribute to the strengthening of Jewish identity, Jewish nationhood, and the values of freedom and democracy. Her film credits include “The Case for Israel: Democracy’s Outpost, Unmasked Judeophobia,” and “Body and Soul: The State of the Jewish Nation.” She is currently in production with “Crumbling Towers: Subverting the Western Mind,” a feature documentary film that presents the intensifying ideological war on Western tradition, with particular focus on its subversive penetration into Western academia. Prior to founding Doc Emet Productions in 2007, Greenfield directed the Adult Learning Collaborative for Combined Jewish Philanthropies and Hebrew College, and served as executive director of The David Project, where she broadened the organization’s mission to focus on Jewish leadership development and launched groundbreaking Israel advocacy programs for American students in Israel. Greenfield also served as Strategy Manager for the Partnership in Excellence in Jewish Education.

Joe Hyams is CEO of HonestReporting, dedicated to promoting fair and accurate media coverage of Israel. London-born and educated, with a background in media and marketing communications, he is a former strategic planner for Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising in Tel Aviv, having served international clients including Ford, Ikea and Proctor & Gamble. Connecting his media know-how to a desire to improve Israel’s image abroad, Hyams made Aliyah, joining HonestReporting in 2005. He trains Israel supporters the world over in the identification of media bias and effective responses in the digital age and directs the organization’s growth and operations from Jerusalem. He is a regular guest speaker for Israel Mission delegations, student groups and community leadership seminars. He has lectured to Jewish Federations, AIPAC National Policy Conference, The Annual Herzliya Conference, as well as school and community events across the USA, South America, Australia, Hong Kong as well as from home base – the Jerusalem Headquarters of HonestReporting. Hyams holds a master’s degree and an M.B.A. in non-profit management from the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program & The Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.

Kenneth L. Marcus is president and general counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and author of The Definition of Anti-Semitism (Oxford University Press, 2015) and Jewish Identity and Civil Rights in America (Cambridge University Press, 2010). Marcus founded the Brandeis Center in 2011 to combat the resurgence of anti-Semitism in American higher education. The following year, Marcus was named to the Forward 50, the Jewish Daily Forward’s listing of the “American Jews who made the most significant impact on the news in the past year.” During his public service career, Marcus served as staff director at the United States Commission on Civil Rights and was delegated the authority of Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights and Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. Marcus also serves as associate editor of the Journal for the Study of Antisemitism. Marcus previously held the Lillie and Nathan Ackerman Chair in Equality and Justice in America at the City University of New York’s Bernard M. Baruch College School of Public Affairs (2008-2011). Before entering public service, Marcus was a litigation partner in two major law firms, where he conducted complex commercial and constitutional litigation. He has published widely in academic journals as well as in more popular venues such as The Jerusalem Post, Commentary, The Weekly Standard, and The Christian Science Monitor. Marcus is a graduate of Williams College, magna cum laude, and the University of California at Berkeley School of Law.

Leonard Saxe is Klutznick Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies and Social Policy at Brandeis University where he directs the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute. Saxe is a social psychologist and leads a program of research on Jewish identity, education and socio-demography. He is the author of more than 300 articles and books, including Ten Days of Birthright Israel (with B. Chazan) and How Goodly are Thy Tents (with A. Sales). He has been a Fulbright Professor at the University of Haifa, a science fellow for the United States Congress, and received the American Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Contributions in the Public Interest; in 2012, he was awarded the Marshall Sklare prize for his lifetime contributions to the social scientific study of Jewry.

Bret Stephens is foreign-affairs columnist and deputy editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal. He writes Global View, the foreign-affairs column of the The Wall Street Journal, for which he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2013. He is also the paper's deputy editorial-page editor, responsible for the opinion section of its global edition. Previously, he was editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, a position he assumed in 2002 at the age of 28. He has reported stories from around the world and has degrees from the University of Chicago and the London School of Economics. His book, America in Retreat: The New Isolationism and the Coming Global Disorder was published in 2014 and was praised as a "sharp, shrewd and shamelessly unfashionable defense of American power" by Harvard's Niall Ferguson.

Susan Tuchman is the director of the Zionist Organization of America's Center for Law and Justice. Established in 1897, the ZOA is the oldest and one of the largest pro-Israel organizations in the United States. Under Tuchman's leadership, the ZOA filed a landmark civil rights complaint on behalf of Jewish students at the University of California at Irvine, challenging years of anti-Semitic harassment and intimidation. In November 2005, Tuchman testified at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ first-ever hearing on campus anti-Semitism, which led to important government findings and recommendations to protect Jewish college students. The ZOA spearheaded the successful effort to secure legal protection for Jewish students from anti-Semitic harassment and intimidation under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, rallying other national Jewish organizations and bipartisan support from members of Congress. The Forward newspaper named Tuchman one of the "50 most influential members of the Jewish community." Before joining the ZOA, Tuchman was a litigation partner at Hinckley, Allen & Snyder, in the law firm’s Boston office. She is a graduate of Brandeis University and the Boston University School of Law.

Ruth R. Wisse recently retired from her position as Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University, and is currently Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Tikvah Fund. Her books on literary subjects include an edition of Jacob Glatstein’s two-volume fictional memoir, The Glatstein Chronicles (2010), The Modern Jewish Canon: A Journey through Literature and Culture (2003), and A Little Love in Big Manhattan (1988). She is also the author of two political studies, If I Am Not for Myself: The Liberal Betrayal of the Jews (1992) and Jews and Power (2007). Her latest book, No Joke: Making Jewish Humor, a volume in the Tikvah-sponsored Library of Jewish Ideas, was recently published by Princeton University Press.