The Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies conducts extensive research in a wide variety of areas.



Philanthropic Lessons from Mapping Jewish Education

Wise funding in the Jewish community requires an understanding of Jewish institutions and the approaches they take to fulfill their missions. Jewish education is a multi-billion dollar enterprise with a proliferation of programs at the local, regional, and national levels. “Mapping Jewish Education” is an attempt to aggregate information about these programs and the organizations that sponsor them. It examines how resources are currently spent and where future investment is most likely to make a positive difference.

The research entails a national study of the Jewish educational infrastructure and local studies rooted in eight select communities. The scope of the project spans preschool through college.

The work is being funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation, which is using research findings to inform its philanthropic decision making.

The first research report, Mapping Jewish Education: The National Picture (PDF), is available on the Jim Joseph Foundation website. It lays out the various roles that are and can be played by federations, foundations, and agencies to create a strong educational system for the Jewish community. It also explores various issues faced by foundations in their funding of education.

The second research report, Mapping Professional Development for Jewish Educators (PDF), is also available on the Jim Joseph Foundation website. Click here to read. The report describes eight desiderata for professional development for educators and then presents current professional development opportunities in Jewish education. It then considers these opportunities in light of the desiderata for professional development in order to find possibilities for future growth and improvement.

Developing the Developers

The strength of the Jewish communal enterprise depends in part on its financial health, which, in turn, increasingly depends on the expertise of fundraisers and financial resource development (FRD) professionals. Evidence strongly suggests, however, that fundraising--with its high rates of burnout, turnover, and new hires--is one of the most troubled arenas in the Jewish community.

"Developing the Developers" investigates the source of these problems and the potential of alternative courses of action to effect change. With support from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the Fisher-Bernstein Institute at Brandeis University has gathered information relevant to such an analysis.

Full report (PDF)

To request a hard copy, send your name and mailing address to

The Remaking of Hillel

The Remaking of Hillel: A Case Study on Leadership and Organizational Transformation

By Mark I. Rosen
Case Analysis by Amy L. Sales
Published January 2006

Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, founded in 1923, today provides support to more than 250 affiliates that serve Jewish university students around the world. The organization underwent a dramatic transformation during Richard Joel's tenure as International Director. Beginning in 1988, Joel articulated a vision for the organization and recast its mission, structure, governance, personnel, programming, and funding. By 1995, Hillel was, for all intents and purposes, a new organization.

The Remaking of Hillel: A Case Study on Leadership and Organizational Transformation begins in the period prior to Joel’s appointment and extends through 1995. The case recounts the decisions and events of those years and invites the reader to analyze the story through various theoretical frames. Case Analysis by Amy L. Sales.

Full report (PDF)

To purchase a printed copy:
Send a check for $25, payable to " Brandeis University," to:

Fisher-Bernstein Institute
Brandeis University
Mailstop 014
Waltham, MA 02454

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