Learning from Taglit-Birthright Israel: An Academic Symposium


May 23-24, 2012 Brandeis University


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Henrietta Szold Institute
The Henrietta Szold Institute is Israel's National Institute for Research in the Behavioral Sciences. The Institute is a public, non-profit organization, dedicated to serving the Israeli education system and social service systems. Founded by American Zionist activist Henrietta Szold in 1941, the Szold Institute has since left a considerable impact on the Israeli education system, mainly through research, intervention program planning, and training in the behavioral sciences, and especially in education. The Institute is currently headed by Dr. Rachel Zorman and employs 80 professionals with broad areas of expertise predominantly in the fields of education, social science, and research methodology.
The Melton Centre for Jewish Education, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The Melton Centre at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is a vibrant academic community, characterized by its intellectual effervescence, its pluralistic approach and its commitment to the sustainability of Jewish culture and heritage through diverse forms of education.

As Israel’s first centre for Jewish Education, the Melton Centre’s mission is to develop cutting edge research, to educate future leaders, and to nurture future generations of outstanding scholars and practitioners in all fields and forms of Jewish education.

The Melton Centre is an inclusive, diverse, and egalitarian academic body, where empirical and theoretical knowledge is developed and applied for the benefit of Jewish communities around the world. The Melton Centre through its educational activities is committed to encourage strong contacts among diverse Jewish ideologies and religious streams while at the same time supporting relations with other world civilizations.

The Melton Centre is a full participant in the international scientific and scholarly educational network and measures itself by international standards and strives to be counted among the best research educational centers worldwide. The Melton Centre contributes its particular knowledge to the benefit of the Jewish people and other groups and societies concerned with the promotion and sustainability of their particular cultures.

All Melton Centre activities are emblematic of the Hebrew University’s aspiration to encourage excellence and to foster premier programs so as to maximize the Hebrew University’s international visibility and exposure in the academic world.

Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies
Founded in 1924 as Chicago’s College of Jewish Studies, Spertus today offers an innovative, non-denominational array of specialized and public programming, grounded in Jewish thought, inspired by Jewish values, and resolutely relevant to people’s lives.

Spertus offers accredited graduate-level degree programs in areas that are critical to the Jewish and wider communities — including Jewish studies, leadership training, and nonprofit management. Recognizing that learning is sparked by many points of entry, programming at Spertus also includes cultural and continuing education offerings, such as lectures, seminars, exhibits, concerts, and films.
NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

Over the past decade, with a deep awareness of the ever-expanding opportunities and challenges facing the Jewish education enterprise, NYU has developed an internationally significant program in
the field of Jewish education with a focus on preparing a new generation of exceptional leaders.We know that curriculum, pedagogy, and knowledge of Jewish history, culture, Hebrew language, and religion are all essential to the educational endeavor. But our program's emphasis comes from the deeply held belief that successful Jewish education requires, above all, thoughtful, creative, dedicated, and well-prepared professional leadership.

NYU Steinhardt offers three outstanding graduate programs in Education and Jewish Studies - an M.A, Dual M.A., and Ph.D. - that prepare researchers, teachers, practitioners, and aspiring administrators for leadership positions in a wide range of Jewish educational settings. NYU is an ideal setting for advanced training of an elite cadre of Jewish education leaders.  Three components are crucial: (1) The Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, with its comprehensive resources in all facets of education; (2) the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, which offers one of the largest and most wide-ranging Jewish studies programs in the world; and (3) New York City, the center of America's major Jewish education organizations and the heart of American Jewish life.  Taken together, the program in Education and Jewish Studies at NYU provides a unique, exciting, and enriching environment for students from all backgrounds to prepare for careers in Jewish education.

While providing a core of academic, research, and cohort experiences in education, Jewish education, and Judaic studies, the program is also tailored to its students' individual needs and interests. Close
and personalized mentoring is provided by faculty from Steinhardt and Skirball, as well as by expert practitioners in the Jewish education field working in the New York City area.

Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University

The Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies (NEJS) at Brandeis University is a multi-disciplinary department committed to innovative research and teaching in a broad range of fields including Bible and Ancient Near East, Jewish Studies, Israel Studies, Islamic and Middle East Studies, and Hebrew, Yiddish, Arabic, and other Near Eastern languages. It is home to one of the world's largest programs in Jewish and Hebrew Studies. Dedicated to intellectual openness and pedagogic excellence, NEJS offers courses that engage critical questions of history, religion, culture, language, literary and textual studies, social and political science, law, education, and women's and gender studies, as well as rich experiential learning opportunities. Its faculty also lead and participate in research centers and institutes across the university. NEJS provides a rigorous undergraduate program for students of diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds and graduate programs to train the next generation of scholars and leaders.

Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University
The Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University works with educators, scholars, policy makers and funders to strengthen Jewish education by promoting research and developing leadership for the field. The Center's goal is to foster more powerful teaching and learning for Jewish education at all levels and in all settings.
Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University
The Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, founded in 2007, is dedicated to promoting exemplary teaching and scholarship in Israeli history, politics, culture, and society at Brandeis University and beyond. The Center is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of the modern State of Israel by training a new generation of scholars and teachers, building a vibrant academic community, and supporting research, publications, and conferences. It seeks to make Brandeis a hub for nurturing and catalyzing Israel Studies.


Adelson Family Foundation
Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies
The AVI CHAI Foundation
Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston (CJP)
Greater Miami Jewish Federation
The Jacobson Family Foundation
The Jewish Agency for Israel
The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA)
The Klarman Family Foundation
The Marcus Foundation
Mersky, Jaffe & Associates
Rothschild Foundation Europe
The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life
Zlotoff Generations Fund


The Mandell L. and Madeleine H. Berman Foundation
Jonathan M. Sandler
Louise and Herbert Shivek
United Jewish Communities of MetroWest New Jersey