Leonard 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 University. He is the recipient of the 2012 Marshall Sklare Award.
Professor Saxe 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.
Janet Krasner Aronson, PhD is the associate director of the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and Steinhardt Social Research Institute at Brandeis University. She earned her PhD in social policy at the Heller School for Social Policy at Brandeis where she examined the impact of Birthright Israel on the parents of the participants. Janet's primary research areas include local Jewish community studies, and she has directed studies in Boston, Washington, DC, Palm Beach County, FL and Cincinnati. She also teaches in the Hornstein Program for Jewish Professional Leadership at Brandeis, where she runs the Myra Kraft Seminar on Israel. She is interested in studying emerging trends in Jewish engagement, which present both methodological challenges for researchers as well as substantive challenges for community organizations.
Prior to joining CMJS, she worked as a computer programmer, a graphic designer and religious school teacher. She was a member of the first cohort of the Barnard College/Jewish Theological Seminary double-degree program, in which she earned bachelor's degrees in computer science and Bible. She has an MA in applied sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
Masha Sud Lokshin is the assistant director at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute. She is responsible for the administrative coordination of the institutes and manages budgets, personnel and office administration, as well as communication with other campus departments and outside collaborators. Masha holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Brandeis University and an MBA from Bentley College. Prior to coming to CMJS, she worked in the financial and consulting industries. She is a native Russian speaker. In addition to her language abilities, she brings knowledge of Russian culture and history and organizational expertise to the institutes.
Ilana Friedman is the program administrator at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies. Originally from Palo Alto, California, Ilana graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Curry College magna cum laude where she majored in communication and concentrated in theatre. While at Curry College, she held several leadership positions on campus, including president of Hillel.
Matthew Boxer is an assistant research professor at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, the Steinhardt Social Research Institute and the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program. He earned a Master of Arts in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University and an MS and PhD in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where his doctoral dissertation focused on the effects of Jewish community size on Jewish identity. His research varies widely and includes socio-demographic research on the Jewish community in the United States, social psychological processes of Jewish identity development, Jewish young adults' volunteer habits and preferences, Israel studies on college campuses in the United States and Canada, and the impact of formal and informal Jewish educational experiences on Jewish identity. He currently serves as the treasurer of the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry and is a member of the National Advisory Board of the Center for Small Town Jewish Life at Colby College.
Matthew Brookner is a senior research associate at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and Steinhardt Social Research Institute. At CMJS and SSRI he works on Jewish community studies, evaluations and needs assessments. Matt is also a doctoral candidate at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, writing his dissertation on philanthropy education in the US Jewish community. He holds masters' degrees in both public policy and Jewish professional leadership from Brandeis, and has a bachelor's degree in classics and history.
Fern is a community psychologist and is the editor of “Researching Community Psychology: Issues of Theory and Methods.” She has conducted a variety of research projects including studies of the impact of Jewish adult education on emerging leaders in Jewish communal service, the effectiveness of courses on Jewish literacy on parents of preschoolers, and the involvement of interfaith families in synagogues. Recently, she has been involved in a large- scale study exploring the experience of Jewish undergraduate students on college campuses.
In addition to her research, she has consulted to and conducted training for a variety of congregations, day schools and communal organizations. She has served on the Board of Directors of her own synagogue, where she currently co-chairs the Strategic Planning committee.
Matthew is a senior research associate at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and Steinhardt Social Research Institute where he serves as project manager for our program of community studies. Originally from San Antonio, Texas, he received a master's in Jewish professional leadership and an MBA in non-profit management from Brandeis University in 2012. Matthew earned his BA, also from Brandeis, in mathematics and economics. During graduate school, he interned at the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston and had the opportunity to run an English language day camp on the campus of the Jewish day school in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine.
Deborah Grant received her BA from Brandeis University and her JD from Northeastern University. She edits and oversees production of CMJS print and digital publications.
Mark Grinberg is a web developer at the Cohen Center for Modern Judaic Studies. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and International and Global Studies (with honors) from Brandeis University. His honors thesis, which examined the internet and terrorism, was entitled "Flash Drive Terrorism." While at Brandeis, he interned at the Israeli Consulate in Boston and was a manager of the LTS Help Desk, where he supervised and provided tier one support to the community.
Shahar Hecht is a senior research associate at CMJS. She received a joint bachelor's degree in psychology and business administration from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she also received an master's degree in criminology. At CMJS, she is the project manager for the Birthright Israel evaluations and the Jewish Futures Project. She has worked on the evaluation of Birthright Israel international programs and on a study of Israelis who participate in Birthright Israel. In addition to Birthright Israel projects, she has contributed to numerous other studies, including a study of Jewish young adults on college campuses and an evaluation of the needs of Nazi victims.
Charles Kadushin is Professor Emeritus Sociology, Graduate Center, CUNY; Distinguished Scholar, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and Visiting Research Professor, Department of Sociology, Brandeis University. He has also taught at Columbia University in the Sociology and Social Psychology Departments and at Yale University in the School of Management and in Graduate Sociology.
Alex Lee is a web developer at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies. He spent seven years working at an educational travel company, managing the codebase for all web-related projects. During the past two years, he worked on a web application for a pharmaceutical company and learned about the various challenges of clinical trials and bringing new medicines into the market.
Marcella Magerer comes to CMJS from Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies where she was the Executive Administrator to Barry Shrage. At CMJS, she continues to provide administrative, professional and project support to Barry Shrage (Professor of the Practice in the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program and Initiative for Jewish Identity, CMJS). She also serves as liaison to CMJS and Hornstein staff members and coordinates work and work products of Barry Shrage with Hornstein and CMJS staff.
Raquel Magidin de Kramer is an associate research scientist at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute. She is currently working on the Jewish demography project.
Raquel has extensive experience in educational research and statistical analysis. Prior to joining CMJS, she worked as a research associate at the Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation and Educational Policy housed at Boston College, and as a statistics and computer analyst at the Henrietta Szold Institute for Research in the Behavioral Sciences in Israel. She has also worked as a software engineer in the private sector for several years. She received a joint BSc in Education and Atmospheric Sciences as well as an MA in Education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She received her PhD from the department of Research Measurement and Evaluation at Boston College. She is fluent in Spanish and Hebrew.
Joshua Mandell is a research specialist working on the American Jewish Population Project. Originally from Missouri, he graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in history and anthropology. His academic interests include world social history, archival studies, and information science. He is a member of the American Jewish Population Project research team.
Daniel Mangoubi is a research specialist at CMJS. He graduated Brandeis University in 2018 with a dual degree in math and economics. After serving as a data analyst for a public defender office in Texas through the AmeriCorps VISTA service program, he has returned to Brandeis as a researcher. He works on various data analysis projects for the the Community Studies and Birthright Israel research teams. He is interested in data analysis, economics, criminal justice and housing policy. He also likes swimming, kayaking, hiking and reading.
Daniel Nussbaum is a research specialist at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute. He graduated in 2017 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in psychology. For his honors thesis, he conducted an aggregate-level study of the relationship between economic climate and public mental health. During his summers, he was a head counselor at Camp Kaleidoscope in Newton, MA. He is currently working on the American Jewish Population Project.
Antero Ortiz is a web developer at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and supports technical aspects of various projects. He received a Bachelor of Science cum laude in Computer Science with a minor in Applied Mathematics from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Daniel Parmer is an associate research scientist at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and is a 2008-09 Mandell L. Berman Steinhardt Social Research Institute Fellow.
Daniel is the book review editor for Contemporary Jewry, the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Jewry’s academic journal.
He received a dual MA in Near Eastern and Judaic studies and Jewish professional leadership at Brandeis University and his PhD from the Heller School for social policy and management at Brandeis University.
He is primarily involved with research on the American Jewish Population Project at the Steinhardt Social Research Institute. His research interests include socio-demography, gender and the family.
Daniel is author of the book chapter “What’s Love Got to Do With It? Marriage and Non-Marriage Among Jewish Young Adults” in “Love, Marriage, and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of a Social Revolution” (ed. Sylvia Barack Fishman). He is co-author of several articles including “Living on the Edge: Economic Insecurity Among Jewish Households in Greater Rhode Island” (2013) and “Matrilineal Ascent/Patrilineal Descent: The Gender Imbalance in American Jewish Life” (2008). He is also co-author of many socio-demographic studies including “American Jewish Population Estimates: 2012,” the 2005 Boston Jewish Community Study, and the 2008 Berkshire Jewish Community Study. His dissertation is titled “Choosing Marriage in a Period of Decline: The Role of Homogeneity, Religion, and Social Networks in the Marriage Market Among Jewish Young Adults.”
Ellie Pasternack is a research associate at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies. She is an alumna of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University (MPP '20) and the University of Massachusetts Amherst (BA '18). She is interested in data analysis and the intersection between gender and social policies. In her free time, she enjoys kayaking, gardening, and spending time with her two dogs.
Micha Rieser is a research associate at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from the University of Rochester and a Master of Arts from the Communication, Culture and Technology Program at Georgetown University.
After receiving his undergraduate degree, Micha participated in the joint Israeli Antiquities Authority and University of Rochester run archaeological excavation of the town of Yodefat in the Galilee.
Prior to joining CMJS, Micha worked for Alley Cat Allies, an animal advocacy and protection organization, collecting and analyzing survey and scientific data to be used in policy efforts directed at the reform of the animal control system in the United States. This work included several national surveys and an article on survey findings published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
He manages and analyzes data for the community studies project. He also analyzes data on Birthright Israel applicants and participants for the Birthright Israel research project.
Rebecca Rose is a research specialist at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies. As a member of the Birthright Israel research team, she supervises student research assistants; manages survey data collection and communication strategy; and performs content coding, response rate enhancement and database management. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in History of Art and Architecture at Boston University and previously worked at several art organizations, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Baltimore Museum of Art.
Nicole Samuel is an associate research scientist at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, where she has worked since 2005. She is the co-author of a variety of publications, including Advancing Jewish Retreating and Innovating JCCs.
Her portfolio includes Jewish institutions and organizations, formal and experiential Jewish education, and Jewish identity. With Amy L. Sales, she has conducted several studies of Jewish life and Israel education at overnight camp, including Limud by the Lake Revisited: Growth and Change at Jewish Summer Camp. Other previous projects include research on professional development in Jewish organizations, teen engagement in New York, and synagogues and synagogue change.
She received her MA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Women's Studies from Brandeis University in 2005, concentrating in Contemporary Jewish Life. She earned a BA in History magna cum laude from American University in Washington, DC.
One of America’s foremost Jewish leaders, Barry Shrage served for the past 30 years as president of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston and as a powerful voice on the American Jewish communal scene. He is known in Boston and throughout the world for his tireless support of Jewish education; his promotion of engagement by religious and nonreligious Jews; his commitment to working for social justice at home and abroad alongside others; his strong support of Israel; his bridge-building, outreach and engagement with the non-Jewish community in creative partnerships; and for his boundless energy and creativity.
Jay Seabrum is a research specialist at CMJS and SSRI working on the American Jewish Population Project. Originally from Georgia, he graduated in May 2018 from Boston University with a degree in economics and Japanese language and Literature. His academic interests include music theory, linguistics, mathematics and statistics. In his free time, Jay enjoys tae kwon do, speaking and learning new languages, and solving the occasional Rubik's cube or two.
Elizabeth Tighe is a research scientist at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Carnegie-Mellon University and a doctorate in social/developmental psychology from Brandeis University.
She has been an instructor at Wellesley College and a visiting assistant professor in psychology at Brown University, where she taught courses in Research Methods and Experimental Design & Statistics for doctoral students.
Prior to joining the SSRI, she had been a research associate and senior Research associate at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, where she was also an instructor/lecturer for graduate courses in Research Methods and Applied Multivariate Statistics.
Her research interests are in social identity, particularly religious and ethnic identity and their relationship to civic identity and intergroup relations. In addition to basic research in motivation and attitude structure and change, she has studied community programs as part of a national evaluation of community-based substance abuse reduction programs funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Recent work has included the design and administration of a web-based survey to assess the role of religion in the lives of college students as part of the Jewish Life on American College Campuses: Realities and Possibilities project funded by the Avi Chai Foundation and the Jewish Life Network. In addition, she was co-investigator and co-author of Jewish Elderly Nazi Victims: A Synthesis of Comparative Information on Hardship and Need in the United States, Israel, and the Former Soviet Union and Assessment of Methods to Quantify Neediness among Jewish Nazi Victims In RE: Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation.
Currently in her position at the SSRI, she is a co-investigator and project director for a research synthesis of national U.S. surveys that assess religious and Jewish identity.
Sasha Volodarsky is a research associate at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology from Tel-Aviv University and is completing his thesis for his Master of Arts in Government and Political Marketing from the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.
He has worked as a researcher at Clalit in Israel and the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute for Applied Research.
He grew up in Donetsk, Ukraine and move to Israel in 2000. After completing his bachelor's degree, he served as a research officer at Command and Staff College in the Israel Defense Forces. He worked as the marketing researcher for several years. In addition, he spent several years overseeing group counselor training in informal education projects for JAFI.
He is fluent in Russian, Ukrainian and Hebrew. He is a member of the Birthright Israel research project team.
Graham Wright is an associate research scientist at the Steinhardt Social Research Institute and the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies. He received his PhD and MPP from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
Graham has published articles on American political attitudes and political theory in the journals Political Behavior and The Journal of Public Deliberation, articles on survey methodology in the journals Survey Practice and The Journal of the International Association for Official Statistics, and has co-authored a number of articles related to Israel attitudes and Jewish life in Contemporary Jewry, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, and The Jewish Journal of Sociology.
His work at CMJS primarily focuses on the ongoing evaluation of Birthright Israel and studies of US undergraduates. He teaches classes in quantitative design and analysis, survey research methods, and multilevel modeling at the Heller school.
His other research interests include American public opinion and ideology, social science research methods and epistemology.