Book Events

Past Events

Portraits of Adult Jewish Learning book cover
Portraits of Adult Jewish Learning Book Launch: A Conversation with Diane Tickton Schuster

September 21, 2022

Portraits of Adult Jewish Learning: Making Meaning at Many Tables brings together the work of a dozen Jewish education scholars and practitioners who present colorful narratives about a highly diverse range of adult Jewish learners. 

Book editor Diane Tickton Schuster and moderator Miriam Heller Stern (Hebrew Union College)  discussed the book with a panel of esteemed experts – Shira D. Epstein (Jewish Theological Seminary), Rabbi Josh Feigelson (Institute for Jewish Spirituality), and Miriam Raider-Roth (Mandel Teacher Educator Institute) – who are interested in how adult learners learn and the evolving conceptions of Jewish literacy in the 21st century.  The panelists shared what they learned from the book, how this work influences the development of Jewish education as a field, and what the larger community of researchers and practitioners – and learners themselves – can glean from dynamic accounts of adult Jewish learning in an era of change.

Diane Tickton Schuster is an independent scholar in Jewish education who has served as an affiliated scholar at the Mandel Center since 2016. She has conducted research about the changing world of Jewish adult education for the past 25 years. Diane’s first project with the Mandel Center culminated in the book, Portraits of Jewish Learning: Viewing Contemporary Jewish Education Close-In.  In her second project, Diane brought together researchers and practitioners who were studying the Jewish learning experiences of adults in diverse settings. Diane’s groundbreaking book about Jewish adult education, Jewish Lives, Jewish Learning: Adult Jewish Learning in Theory and Practice, provided context for this new inquiry. Portraits of Adult Jewish Learning: Making Meaning at Many Tables, edited by Diane, points to the need for new and broader conversations about the adults at the many “tables of adult Jewish learning” today.

Portraits of Adult Jewish Learning is available from Wipf and Stock.

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Portraits of Adult Jewish Learning: Making Meaning from Many Tables (01:15:51)

Making Shabbat book cover
Making Shabbat: Celebrating and Learning at American Jewish Summer Camps

September 15, 2022

How have Jewish camps emerged as creators of positive spiritual experiences for Jewish youth in North America?

How has Shabbat at camp become the focal point for primal Jewish experiences?

Are these experiences exclusive to Shabbat at camp?

When Jewish camps began at the dawn of the 20th century, their leaders had little interest in creating Jewish spiritual experiences for their campers. Yet over the course of the past century Jewish camps have gradually moved into providing primal Jewish experiences that diverse campers enjoy, parents appreciate, and alumni fondly recall. 

In this webinar, author Joe Reimer and a diverse panel of respondents with interest in camp and Jewish experience, discussed the key points in Making Shabbat: Celebrating and Learning at American Jewish Summer Camps, and drew conclusions from their different perspectives. Michelle Shapiro Abraham (Union for Reform Judaism), Avi Orlow (Jewish Camp) and Rabbi Bradley Solmsen (Park Avenue Synagogue), moderated by Sharon Feiman-Nemser (Brandeis University), helped explore: Why is this book important? Who should read this book? What can be learned? 

Joseph Reimer is associate professor of Jewish education at Brandeis University. He is the author of Succeeding at Jewish Ecucation and coauthor of Promoting Moral Growth: From Piaget to Kohlberg. Trained at Harvard as a developmental psychologist, he currently focuses his research on experiential Jewish learning, Jewish camping and the professional development of educators. Professor Reimer served as lead faculty for the Executive Leadership Institute of the Foundation for Jewish Camp, associate editor for the Journal of Jewish Education, and director of the Institute for Informal Jewish Education at Brandeis University.

Making Shabbat was published as part of the Mandel-Brandeis Series in Jewish Education.

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Making Shabbat: Celebrating and Learning at American Jewish Summer Camps (01:11:48)

Book cover for 'My Second-Favorite Country'
My Second-Favorite Country Book Launch: A Conversation with Sivan Zakai

June 2, 2022

Israel has long occupied a prominent place in the lives and imaginations of American Jews, serving as both a symbolic touchstone and a source of intercommunal conflict. Sivan Zakai's book, My Second-Favorite Country: How American Jewish Children Think About Israel, is based on the major findings from her research project with MCSJE on Children's Learning About Israel. This project was the first longitudinal study of how American Jewish children come to think and feel about Israel, tracking their evolving conceptions from kindergarten to fifth grade.

In this event to mark the publication of the book, Zakai and her fellow panelists explored the implications for the theory and practice of Jewish education. Panelists included Keren E. Fraiman (Spertus Institute), Robbie Gringras (educator, performer and writer), and Jonah Hassenfeld (Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston), moderated by Jon Levisohn (Brandeis University).

My Second-Favorite Country, winner of the 2022 National Jewish Book Award in the "Education and Jewish Identity" category, is available from NYU Press. 

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My Second-Favorite Country: A Conversation with Sivan Zakai (01:18:00)

Inside Jewish Day Schools book cover
Inside Jewish Day Schools Book Launch: A Conversation with Alex Pomson and Jack Wertheimer

March 24, 2022

What can we learn from carefully crafted portraits of nine well-regarded Jewish day schools schools that vary in size, location, sponsorship, ideological orientation? How do these schools go about their work and how do school leaders respond to the pressing challenges that day schools face in the 21st century?

Authors Alex Pomson and Jack Wertheimer shared highlights from their 2022 book, Inside Jewish Day Schools: Leadership, Learning and Community and responded to comments and questions from Amanda Pogany (Luria Academy), Daniel Held (UJA Federation of Greater Toronto) and Susie Tanchel (Hebrew College). Sharon Feiman-Nemser (Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education) moderated the discussion. 

Inside Jewish Day Schools was published as part of the Mandel-Brandeis Series in Jewish Education.

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Inside Jewish Day Schools: A Conversation with Alex Pomson and Jack Wertheimer (01:17:00)