Conference Participants

Participant bios, below

Joyce Antler Brandeis University
Jonny Ariel Jewish Agency for Israel
Sharon Avni City University of New York
Tobin Belzer University of Southern California
Sarah Benor Hebrew Union College
Michael Berger Emory University
David Brenner University of Houston
Rafi Cashman University of Toronto
Fern Chertok Brandeis University
Sharon Feiman-Nemser Brandeis University
Michael Feuer The George Washington University
Sylvia Barack Fishman Brandeis University
Zvi Gitelman University of Michigan
Eli Gottlieb Mandel Leadership Institute
Lisa Grant Hebrew Union College
Bethamie Horowitz New York University
Marlyn Jaffe Jewish Education Center of Cleveland
Jenna Weissman Joselit The George Washington University
Rokhl Kafrissen New York City
David Kaufman Hofstra University
Ari Kelman Stanford University
Orit Kent Brandeis University
Laurence Kotler-Berkowitz Jewish Federations of North America
Jonathan Krasner Hebrew Union College
Jeffrey Kress Jewish Theological Seminary
Jon Levisohn Brandeis University
Arielle Levites New York University
Shaul Magid Indiana University
Keren McGinity Brandeis University
Samira Mehta Fairfield University
Orah Minder Brandeis University
Yehudah Mirsky Brandeis University
David Mittelberg Oranim Academic College of Education
Lee Moore Lippman Kanfer Family Foundation
Gil Preuss Combined Jewish Philanthropies
Joseph Reimer Brandeis University
Katka Reszke New York City/Poland
Wendy Rosov Rosov Consulting
Julie Roth Princeton University Hillel
Ted Sasson Brandeis University/Middlebury College
Len Saxe Brandeis University
Susan Shevitz Brandeis University
Michael Shire Hebrew College
Emily Sigalow Brandeis University
Jeremy Wanderer U Mass Boston
Donald Weber Mount Holyoke College



Participant Bios

Joyce Antler is the Samuel Lane Professor of American Jewish History and Culture at Brandeis. Her major fields of interest include women's history, Jewish women's history and culture, the history of education and history as theater. Antler is the author or editor of 10 books, including most recently You Never Call! You Never Write!: A History of the Jewish Mother. She is a founder of the Brandeis Women's and Gender Studies program and has served as the chair of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities.

Jonny Ariel is executive director of Makom. He lectures widely in his fields of interest: contemporary Jewry, educational policy-making and experiential education, and is an adjunct faculty member of the Melton Centre for Jewish Education at the Hebrew University. He has taught in public school, adult education and in educational travel settings.

Sharon Avni is an assistant professor of ESL and Linguistics at the City University of New York (CUNY) BMCC. Her research encompasses ideological, interactional, and policy perspectives on Jewish education, with particular attention to Hebrew language learning. Her most recent projects include examining the discourse of Hebrew language charter schools and Hebrew materiality in American culture.

Tobin Belzer is a sociologist of contemporary American Jewry. She is a research associate at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California and is a visiting cholar at the Taube Center for Jewish Studies at Stanford University. With Rabbi Julie Pelc Adler, she is the co-editor of Joining the Sisterhood: Young Jewish Women Write Their Lives.

Sarah Bunin Benor is associate professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (Los Angeles) and adjunct associate professor in the University of Southern California Linguistics Department. She is the author of Becoming Frum: How Newcomers Learn the Language and Culture of Orthodox Judaism, as well as many articles about Jewish languages, Yiddish, and American Jews.

Michael S. Berger is associate professor of Jewish Law and Ethics in the Department of Religion at Emory University. He is the author of Rabbinic Authority and edited Joseph Soloveitchik’s The Emergence of Ethical Man. He also serves as a program officer for the AVI CHAI Foundation.

David Brenner teaches Humanities and Jewish Studies in the Honors College at the University of Houston, where he also has served as the Director of the Houston Teachers Institute (HTI), a professional development organization under the auspices of the Yale National Initiative to Strengthen Teaching in Public Schools. His current book project, Schindler’s Shoah: Teaching the Holocaust in the Age of Globalization, explores the pedagogy of genocide in the United States and beyond.

Rafi Cashman is the Principal - Judaic Studies of the Danilack Campus at the Associated Hebrew Schools in Toronto. He is pursuing a PhD in education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, and was a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson scholar. He holds a Master's degree from the Azrieli School of Education and Administration at Yeshiva University, and received smicha in 2005.

Fern Chertok is a research scientist at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University. She is a community psychologist and co-editor of Researching Community Psychology: Issues of Theory and Methods. She has conducted extensive research exploring the individual identity and Jewish engagement of young adults and co-authored Tourists, Travelers, and Citizens: Jewish Engagement of Young Adults in Four Centers of North American Jewish Life.

Sharon Feiman-Nemser is the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Professor of Jewish Education at Brandeis and the founding director of the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education. Her latest book is Teachers as Learners. With Center colleagues, she has just completed a book about context-specific, mission driven teacher education based on a comparative, longitudinal study of beginning teachers in Jewish, Catholic and urban public schools.

Michael Feuer has been the Dean and Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development at The George Washington University since September 2010. He has published in economics, education, public policy, evaluation, assessment, science, engineering, and philosophy journals and anthologies, and has had reviews, articles, and poems published widely. He is a senior consultant to the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities Initiative for Applied Education Research in Israel.  He was elected President of the National Academy of Education in October 2013 and is a member of the board of the Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education (CASJE).

Sylvia Barack Fishman is Chair of the Near Eastern and Judaic Studies Department at Brandeis, where she is the Joseph and Esther Foster Professor of Contemporary Jewish Life; and also co-director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. She is the author of seven books and numerous monographs and articles on the interplay of American and Jewish values, transformations in the American Jewish family, the impact of Jewish education, gender studies and the changing roles of Jewish men and women, contemporary Jewish literature and film, and the relationship of Diaspora Jews to Jewish peoplehood and Israel. Her most recent book is The Way Into the Varieties of Jewishness, and her new book, Love, Marriage, and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of a Social Revolution, will appear in 2015.

Zvi Gitelman is professor of political science and Preston Tisch Professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has recently published Jewish Identities in Postcommunist Russia and Ukraine: an Uncertain Ethnicity. He has published on Jewish schools in the former Soviet Union. Gitelman’s current research is on World War Two and the Holocaust in the USSR.

Eli Gottlieb is director of the Mandel Leadership Institute in Jerusalem and vice president of the Mandel Foundation-Israel. He has served as a visiting professor in cognitive studies in education at the University of Washington, an adjunct lecturer at the school of education at the Hebrew University and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. His research examines the relations between cognition, identity and education.

Lisa D. Grant is professor of Jewish Education at HUC-JIR. Lisa is co-author with Ezra Kopelowitz of Israel Education Matters: A 21st Century Paradigm for Jewish Education. She is also co-editor of the International Handbook of Jewish Education with Helena Miller and Alex Pomson. Lisa is a Fellow at the Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education, a resource center for institutions and individuals seeking to build collective Jewish life, with a focus on Jewish peoplehood and Israel education.

Bethamie Horowitz is research assistant professor at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. She is an expert on the sociology of American Jews in terms of population, identity, community and education. Her current research centers on 1) “emerging adults,” following their unfolding lives, professional choices and their connections to Jewishness; 2) the relationship between American Jews and Israel, as seen through the lens of “Israel Education.”

Marlyn Jaffe is planning and evaluation director of the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland. She previously served in human resources, planning and government relations at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. 

Jenna Weissman Joselit is the Charles E. Smith Professor of Judaic Studies & Professor of History at The George Washington University, where she also directs its Program in Judaic Studies and its MA in Jewish Cultural Arts. She is the author of The Wonders of America, which received the National Jewish Book Award in History, and of the critically acclaimed A Perfect Fit: Clothes, Character and the Promise of America. Her current book project is a study of America’s relationship to the Ten Commandments.

Rokhl Kafrissen is a lawyer and journalist in New York City. Her writing on Jewish art and life has appeared in the Forward, Jewish Week, Lilith and many other publications, as well as her own blog, Rootless Cosmopolitan. She is also a first call super-title operator in the New York Yiddish theater scene. 

David E. Kaufman is currently Chair of Jewish Studies at Hofstra University. He is the author of Shul with a Pool: The Synagogue-Center in American Jewish History, as well as Jewhooing the Sixties. He was one of a small group of scholars who, in the late 1990s, re-energized the history of American Jewish education. His current scholarly pursuit concerns the notion of "Jewish space" in contemporary Jewish education and identity formation.

Ari Y. Kelman is Jim Joseph Chair in Education and Jewish Studies at Stanford. He is interested in the intersection of education and Jewish Studies, with an emphasis on the myriad ways in which people cultivate ethnic and religious identities and practices. He is the author of several books and numerous articles about Jewish identity and culture; his current projects include a book that explores the culture of contemporary evangelical worship music, and a collection of essays entitled Learning to be Jewish.

Orit Kent is a senior research associate at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis, where she also teaches in the DeLeT/MAT program and directs the Beit Midrash Research Project. Her most recent publication is “Intentional Chevruta Learning: Cultivating Ethical and Spiritual Growth in Learners,” in Think, The Lola Stein Institute Journal. She is co-author of A Philosophy of Havruta: Understanding and Teaching the Art of Text Study in Pairs. 

Laurence Kotler-Berkowitz is director, research and analysis, at The Jewish Federations of North America. He helps set the strategic goals and objectives for research at JFNA; and consults to ederations on their research needs. He has published articles in leading political science, sociology, Jewish studies and professional journals. His two most recent articles appeared in Contemporary Jewry: “Poor Jews: An Analysis of Low Income in the American Jewish Population” and “The Israel Attachments of American Jews: Assessing the Debate.”

Jonathan Krasner is associate professor of the American Jewish Experience at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, visiting researcher at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis, and chair of the Network for Research in Jewish Education. He is the author of The Benderly Boys & American Jewish Education and numerous articles on American Jewish education and culture.

Jeffrey S. Kress is associate professor of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary where he is also interim dean of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education. He is a former chair of the Network for Research in Jewish Education. His book Learning, Development, and Community: Educating for Identity in Pluralistic Jewish High Schools received the National Jewish Book Award in education and Jewish identity. 

Jon A. Levisohn is the incoming director of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education, beginning in July 2014, and the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Chair of Jewish Educational Thought at Brandeis. He studies philosophy of Jewish education, especially in the contexts of teaching and learning. He is co-editor of Turn It and Turn It Again: Studies in the Teaching and Learning of Classical Jewish Texts, and author of The Interpretive Virtues: A Philosophical Inquiry into the Teaching and Learning of Historical Narratives, forthcoming.

Arielle Levites is a doctoral candidate at NYU where she is a Jim Joseph Fellow. Her dissertation Raising Jewish Spirits: American Jews, Religious Emotion, and the Culture of Contemporary American Spirituality analyzes educational practices in sites that teach Jewish spirituality, elucidating how spirituality is mobilized to respond to the concerns of a particular religio-ethnic group in contemporary America.

Shaul Magid is the Jay and Jeannie Schottenstein Professor of Jewish Studies and Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University. His most recent book is American Post-Judaism: Identity and Renewal in a Postethnic Society. His forthcoming book is Hasidism Incarnate: Hasidism, Christianity, and the Construction of Modern Judaism.

Keren R. McGinity is affiliated with the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute and the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, where she has also taught American studies. She is the author of Still Jewish: A History of Women and Intermarriage in America, a National Jewish Book Award finalist, and Marrying Out: Jewish Men, Intermarriage, and Fatherhood.

Samira K. Mehta teaches at Fairfield University. Her manuscript, Beyond Chrismukkah: A Cultural History of the Christian Jewish Blended Family from 1965 to 2010, is under review with the University of North Carolina Press, and she is currently beginning research on her second project, “God Bless the Pill: Religion, Sexuality, and the Quest for Oral Contraception from Margaret Sanger to Sandra Fluke.”

Orah Minder is a doctoral fellow at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis. She is studying English education in the Jewish day school. She is specifically interested in how Jewish day schools teach Jewish American literature and how such texts influence the formation of a Jewish American identity in day school students. She was a day school teacher for four years.

Yehudah Mirsky is associate professor of the practice of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis. He has written widely on politics, theology and culture for a number of publications including The New Republic and The Economist, and he is on the editorial board of Eretz Acheret. He is a member of the board of Ha-Tenuah Ya-Yerushalmit, the movement for a pluralist and livable Jerusalem. He is the author of Rav Kook: Mystic in a Time of Revolution.

David Mittelberg is associate professor of Sociology at Oranim Academic College of Education. David is currently serving as chairman of the steering committee of the Oranim International School, and as senior consultant, Department for Jewish Peoplehood at Oranim Academic College of Education. He is the author of numerous publications on Jewish education and Jewish peoplehood and the book Between Two Worlds: The Testimony and the Testament.

Lee Moore was ordained by Hebrew College Rabbinical School, and serves as Director of Jewish and Organizational Learning for the Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah and as Senior Jewish Educator for Hillel at Kent State. Lee holds a M.S. in Environmental Policy from the University of Michigan, where her thesis addressed Shabbat as an Environmentally Sustainable Institution, and a B.A. in Religious Studies from Wesleyan University.

Gil Preuss is vice president for strategy and planning at Combined Jewish Philanthropies in Boston. Prior to CJP, he worked at the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland as director of allocations and agency relations and was a professor at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, where he taught courses on organizational behavior as well as human resource practices in non-profits.

Joseph Reimer is associate professor in Jewish Education who splits his teaching and advising time between the Education and Hornstein Programs at Brandeis. He also serves as faculty advisor to the Office of High School Programs. He currently focuses his research on experiential Jewish learning, Jewish camping, and the professional development of educators. His book, Succeeding at Jewish Education, won the National Jewish Book Award in 1997. His recent publications have focused on leadership in Jewish summer camps.

Katka Reszke is a writer, documentary filmmaker, photographer and researcher in Jewish history, culture, and identity. She holds a Ph.D. in Jewish Education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, an M.A. in Cultural Studies from the University of Wroclaw, Poland, and a Diploma in Jewish Studies from the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. Reszke is the author of Return Of The Jew: Identity Narratives of the Third Post-Holocaust Generation of Jews in Poland. She has lectured on different aspects of the Polish-Jewish experience at numerous educational and cultural institutions in the U.S. and Europe.

Wendy Rosov is the founder and principal of Rosov Consulting, LLC. She serves as a senior-level consultant to individual philanthropists, community and family foundations and Jewish communal non-profit organizations throughout North America and in Israel. She previously served as the director of JESNA's Berman Center for Research and Evaluation and served as associate director of the Conference on Rabbinic Education.

Julie Roth is the executive director of the Center for Jewish Life-Hillel at Princeton University.  Her educational work focuses on the intersection of Jewish values and existential questions of emerging adulthood, Jewish biomedical ethics and business ethics, theology, and design thinking. A Wexner Graduate Fellow and Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence, she was ordained from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2005 and holds a B.A. in Comparative Religion from Brown University.

Ted Sasson is senior research scientist at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute at Brandeis and professor of International Studies at Middlebury College, visiting research professor of Sociology at Brandeis University, and a consultant to the Mandel Foundation. His current work examines Israel-diaspora relations, American Jewish identity and Israeli political culture. His most recent book is The New American Zionism.

Len Saxe is Klutznick Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies and directs the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute at Brandeis. He is a social psychologist, as well as a methodologist, and is concerned with the application of social science to social policy issues. His present focus is on religious and ethnic identity and specifically addresses issues relevant to the Jewish community. Among his many publications is Ten Days of Birthright Israel: A Journey in Young Adult Identity.

Susan Shevitz is associate professor (emerita) at Brandeis where she taught in the Hornstein Professional Leadership program for over twenty years and served as director for eight. She concentrates now on her research and consulting practice. Her research, writing and consulting focus on religious pluralism in Jewish education, leadership development in Jewish education and the rabbinate, as well as culture and change in Jewish educational organizations.

Michael Shire is the dean and professor of Jewish Education at the Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education at Hebrew College in Newton Centre, Massachusetts. He has written widely on nurturing the spirit of the child in Jewish Education including “Spirituality: The Spiritual Child and Jewish Childhood” in the International Handbook of Jewish Education.

Emily Sigalow is a PhD candidate in the departments of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Sociology (joint program) at Brandeis, where she focuses on the sociology of religion, gender, and culture, particularly as related to contemporary Jewish life.

Jeremy Wanderer is an assistant professor in Philosophy at UMass Boston and the author/editor of two books and various articles on issues in contemporary epistemology, philosophy of language and moral psychology. Recent publications include “Interpersonal Views of Testimony” in International Journal of Philosophical Studies, and “Is it rational to trust?” in Philosophy Compass.

Donald Weber is professor of English at Mount Holyoke College and the author of Haunted in the New World: Jewish American Culture from Cahan to 'The Goldbergs'; he has written on Jewish American literature and popular culture for a variety of publications, including The Chronicle Review, Forward, and Bookforum.