Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Associate Professor of Jewish Educational Thought


Ph.D., Stanford University

Field of Specialty

Philosophy of education. Jewish education. Hermeneutics and the epistemology of the humanities. Scholarship of teaching classical Jewish texts.

Contact Information

Abraham Shapiro Academic Complex 125

Jon A Levisohn

Jon A. Levisohn holds the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Chair in Jewish Educational Thought at Brandeis, and directs the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education.

Levisohn studies philosophy of education and philosophy of Jewish education. His particular focus has been on understanding how we make sense of texts -- both religious texts and secular texts -- especially in the contexts of teaching and learning. More recently, Levisohn has expanded his focus to general questions about the desired outcomes of Jewish education. Typically those outcomes are conceived in terms of the transmission of content, or the promotion of "Jewish identity," or at the communal level, in terms of the replication or continuity of the Jewish community. None of these conceptions are satisfactory. Instead, Jewish educators ought to develop a conception of the desirable outcomes of Jewish education in terms of the moral and intellectual dispositions that they seek to foster.

An alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program, Levisohn has served on the WGF Coordinating Committee including a term as co-chair, and currently convenes the "How We Lead" online seminar series for the WGF community. He has served on the Board of Trustees of JCDS, Boston's Jewish Community Day School and of CASJE. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Encounter and and the Education Advisory Board of OneTable. At Brandeis, he chairs the Seminar on Contemporary Jewish Life (CJL) and the Jewish Education Working Group (JEWG), and serves as co-editor of the Mandel-Brandeis Series in Jewish Education. He also leads a project called Conceptualizing the Outcomes of Religious Education, which brings together scholars from diverse faith traditions, and is co-editing a volume of studies of teaching and learning in Jewish day schools.


Levisohn, Jon A. "From Interpretive Rights to Interpretive Responsibilities: Yet Another Reading of the Oven of Akhnai." (2021) (forthcoming)

Levisohn, Jon A. "What Is Philosophy of Jewish Education? A Critical History of Seymour Fox’s Conceptions of Theory, Philosophy and Vision.", 2021 (forthcoming)

Levisohn, Jon A. The Interpretive Virtues: A Philosophical Enquiry into the Teaching and Learning of Historical Narratives. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2020. (forthcoming)

Levisohn, Jon A. "Individual and Collectivism in a Time of Plague." Torah in a Time of Plague. Ed. Erin Leib Smokler. Ben Yehuda Press, 2021. 142-154.

Levisohn, Jon A. "Producers, Not Possessors: A Direction for Jewish Education in Turbulent Times." (2021): <https://www.bronfmancenter.org/nyu-arc>.

Levisohn, Jon A. "Review." Rev. of The Oral and the Textual in Jewish Tradition and Jewish Education, Journal of Jewish Education vol. 86 2021: 464-7.

Levisohn, Jon A. "A New Paradigm of Jewish Literacy." Applied Research Collective for American Jewry, NYU 1. (2020): <https://www.bronfmancenter.org/nyu-arc>.

Levisohn, Jon A. "Mature Love, Nuanced Loyalty and Redemptive Vision: Conceptualizing the Desired Outcomes of Israel Education." Israel Education: The Next Edge. Ed. Jonny Ariel. Makom/Jewish Agency for Israel, 2020. 33-5237-56.

Levisohn, Jon A. "The Languages that Jews Speak: Commentary on Wieseltier, "Language, Identity and the Scandal of American Jewry"." The New Jewish Canon. Ed. Yehuda Kurtzer and Claire Sufrin. Academic Studies Press, 2020

Hassenfeld, Ziva R. and Levisohn, Jon A. "The Challenge of Professional Development in Jewish Studies: Why the Conventional Wisdom May Not Be Enough." Journal of Jewish Education 85. 1 (2019): 53-75.

Levisohn, Jon A and Kelman, Ari Y., ed. Beyond Jewish Identity: Rethinking Concepts and Imagining Alternatives. Academic Studies Press, 2019.

Levisohn, Jon A. "Jewish Education as Initiation into the Practices of Jewishness." Beyond Jewish Identity. Ed. Jon A. Levisohn and Ari Y. Kelman. Academic Studies Press, 2019

Levisohn, Jon A. "Learning to Take Ownership and Learning to Reflect with Equanimity: Two Portraits of Jewish Learning in College." Portraits of Jewish Learning. Ed. Diane T. Schuster. Wipf and Stock, 2019. 187-213.

Kress, Jeffrey and Levisohn, Jon A. "Subject-Specific Learning Versus Jewish-Developmental Outcomes in Jewish Education: What Should We Aim For?." Advancing the Learning Agenda in Jewish Education. Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2018. 2015-219.

Levisohn, Jon A / Kanarek, Jane. "Introduction: Why We Need Standards for the Teaching of Rabbinics." Rabbinics Compendium of the Jewish Day School Standards and Benchmarks Project. JTSA, 2018. iii-vii.

Levisohn, Jon A / Kress, Jeffrey S.. "Introduction." Advancing the Learning Agenda in Jewish Education. Ed. Jon A. Levisohn and Jeffrey S. Kress. Academic Studies Press, 2018

Levisohn, Jon A and Kress, Jeffrey S., ed. Advancing the Learning Agenda in Jewish Education. Academic Studies Press, 2018.

Levisohn, Jon A. "Leadership Fast and Slow." HaYidion Winter 2018 (2018): 71-72, 74.

Levisohn, Jon A and Herman, Marc. "“This is One of the Commandments that Devolve upon the Community”: Hovot ha-Tzibbur (Communal Obligations) as Resources for Imagining Jewish Community." Toronto Journal of Jewish Thought 6. (2017): 17-47.

Levisohn, Jon A. "Eros and (Religious) Education." (2017): <http://hillelofficeofinnovation.org/sites/default/files/ooi_salons_eros_and_religious_education_jon_a_1.pdf>.

Levisohn, Jon A. "Historical Thinking - and Its Alleged Unnaturalness." Educational Philosophy and Theory 49. 6 (2017): 618-630.

Levisohn, Jon A. "Theories of Transformative Learning in Jewish Education: Three Cases." Journal of Jewish Education 83. 3 (2017): 209-238.

Levisohn, Jon A/Kress, Jeffrey S. "The Great (Fake) Debate: How Should We Think About the Outcomes of Jewish Education?." Gleanings 4. 1 (2017): 12-14.

Levisohn, Jon A, Yael Kidron, Ariela Greenberg and Mark Schneider, with Pearl Beck, Steven M. Cohen, Jon Levisohn, Shira Hammerman, Shira Loewenstein, and Roanna Shorofsky,. Leadership in Context: The Conditions for Success of Jewish Day School Leaders. American Institutes for Research: 2016.

Levisohn, Jon A. "Redeeming Jewish Literacy." HaYidion Spring 2016. (2016): 12-13.

Levisohn, Jon A. "What Have We Learned about Learning to Read Talmud." Learning to Read Talmud. Ed. Jane Kanarek and Marjorie Lehman. Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2016

Levisohn, Jon A. "How to Go from Vision to Practice (and Back)." Jewish Educational Leadership 13. 1 (2015): 4-8.

Levisohn, Jon A. "A New Theory of Vision." HaYidion Autumn (2014): 31-33, 68.

Levisohn, Jon A. "Jewish Educational Philosophy." Encyclopedia of Educational Theory and Philosophy. 2014.

Levisohn, Jon A. "What Work Do the Concepts of 'Language and Literature' Do for Michael Rosenak?." Journal of Jewish Education 80. 4 (2014): 411-433.

Levisohn, Jon A, and Fendrick, Susan P., ed. Turn It and Turn It Again: Studies in the Teaching and Learning of Classical Jewish Texts. Boston: Academic Studies Press, 2013.

Levisohn, Jon A. "Rethinking the Education of Cultural Minorities to and from Assimilation: A Perspective from Jewish Education." Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education (DIME) 7. 1 (2013): 54-68.

Levisohn, Jon A. "Becoming a Servant: James Kugel, Avodat Hashem, and the Dispositional Goals of Jewish Service-Learning." Journal of Jewish Communal Service 87. 1/2 (2012): 104-112.

Levisohn, Jon A. "Pursuing the Pedagogy of Peoplehood: More than Mifgash." Peoplehood Papers 8. (2012): 48-51.

Levisohn, Jon A. "Teaching Vision: Cultivating a Philosophical Disposition about Jewish Educational Practice." Journal of Jewish Education 78. 2 (2012): 135-169.

Levisohn, Jon A. "Charting the Reefs: A Map of Multicultural Epistemology." Multicultural Epistemology and Educational Theory. Ed. Claudia Ruitenberg and D.C. Phillips. Springer, 2011

Levisohn, Jon A. "A Menu of Orientations Towards the Teaching of Rabbinic Literature." Journal of Jewish Education 76. 1 (2010).

Levisohn, Jon A. "Do We Know an Orientation When We See It? Continuing the Conversation about the Teaching of Rabbinic Literature." Journal of Jewish Education 76. 3 (2010).

Levisohn, Jon A. "Negotiating Historical Narratives: An Epistemology of History for History Education." Journal of Philosophy of Education 44. 1 (2010).

Levisohn, Jon A. "Should Jewish Day Schools Aspire to Create Educated Jews?." HaYidion Spring 2010. (2010): 12-14, 50.

Levisohn, Jon A. "Community as a Means and an End in Jewish Education." Jewish Day Schools, Jewish Communities: A Reconsideration. Ed. A. Pomson and H. Dietcher. London: Littman Library, 2009

Levisohn, Jon A. "Experience Has Ways of Boiling Over: Pursuing a Pragmatic Pedagogy of Bible." Journal of Jewish Education 75. 3 (2009).

Levisohn, Jon A. "From the Integration of Curricula to the Pedagogy of Integrity." Journal of Jewish Education 74:3. (2009).

Levisohn, Jon A. "How Can We Enact Our Responsibility to the Historical Referent?." Philosophy of Education (2009).

Levisohn, Jon A. "Building Bridges to Overcome Breaches: School and Academy, Content and Pedagogy, Scholarship and Teaching." South Atlantic Philosophy of Education Society (SAPES) Yearbook (2008).

Levisohn, Jon A. "Introducing the Contextual Orientation to Bible: A Comparative Study." Journal of Jewish Education 73. 3 (2008).

Levisohn, Jon A. "Jewish Education in Pursuit of Virtue." Teaching Toward Tomorrow: Setting an Agenda for Modern Orthodox Education. Ed. Yoel Finkelman. Jerusalem: ATID, 2008

Levisohn, Jon A. "Richard Rorty and the Ethics of Anti-foundationalism." The Space of Love and Garbage and Other Essays from the Harvard Review of Philosophy.. Ed. S. Phineas Upham. Chicago: Open Court, 2008

Levisohn, Jon A. "Strengthening Research on the Pedagogy of Jewish Studies." Journal of Jewish Education 73. 3 (2008).

Levisohn, Jon A. "Extending the Conversation on Visions of Jewish Education." Journal of Jewish Education (2006).

Levisohn, Jon A. "What is Bridging Scholarship and Pedagogy?." (2006): <http://www.brandeis.edu/mandel/projects/bridginginitiative_docs.html>.

Levisohn, Jon A. "How to do philosophy of religious education." Religious Education (2005): 90-101.

Levisohn, Jon A. "Ideas and Ideals in Jewish Education: Initiating a Conversation on Visions in Jewish Education." Journal of Jewish Education (2005).

Levisohn, Jon A. "Patriotism and Parochialism: Why Teach American Jewish History, and How?." Journal of Jewish Education (2005).

Levisohn, Jon A., Jewish Educational Leadership. "A Plea for Purposes." Jewish Educational Leadership (2005).

Levisohn, Jon A. "Probing Pragmatism: Rorty, Reforms, and Responsibility." Philosophy of Education (2004).

Levisohn, Jon A. "Religious Experience as a Jewish Educational Ideal." Journal of Jewish Education (2004).

Levisohn, Jon A., Philosophy of Education. "Young Patriots or Junior Historians?." Philosophy of Education (2003).

Levisohn, Jon A. "Stories about Stories about History." Philosophy of Education (2002).

Levisohn, Jon A. "The Interpretive Virtues in Historiography and History Education." Diss. Stanford University, 2002.

Levisohn, Jon A. "Openness and Commitment: Hans-Georg Gadamer and the Teaching of Jewish Texts." Journal of Jewish Education 67. (2001).

Levisohn, Jon A.. "Inclusion and Objectivity: Helen Longino's Feminist Theory of Scientific Inquiry." Philosophy of Education (2001).

Courses Taught

NEJS 171b Tikkun Olam/Repairing the World: Service and Social Justice in Theory and Practice
NEJS 231a Graduate Proseminar in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies
NEJS 235b Philosophy of Jewish Education
NEJS 235c Topics in Jewish Education