Learning About Learning: Conversations with Scholars of Jewish Education

Join us virtually for a series of conversations hosted by Mandel Center Director Jon A. Levisohn, in which leading scholars of Jewish education discuss what they have learned from their investigations of various aspects of Jewish education, and why it matters.

These events are free and open to the public. Registration is required.

Upcoming Events

Learning About Learning: A Conversation with Professor Meredith Katz

How Do Jewish Day School Kids Think About the Holocaust?

October 27, 2-2:30 p.m.
Via Zoom

Holocaust education is a staple of Jewish day school education. What messages do day school students take from this education? In this session, Meredith Katz will discuss her recently published study, which explored how a group of day school kids navigated questions of particularism and universalism, and how Holocaust education helped them to see themselves as civic actors in the broader community.

Register Now

Learning About Learning: A Conversation with Professor Judah Cohen

How Debbie Friedman (and CAJE) Gave Jewish Education a New Soundtrack

November 17, 2-2:30 p.m.
Via Zoom

In this session, Judah Cohen will discuss his recent article on the crucial role that Debbie Friedman played in making song leading a core part of the Coalition for Alternatives in Jewish Education (CAJE). He will also address the changes in Jewish education that resulted from this alliance, and why it still matters.

REgister now

Learning About Learning: A Conversation with Professor Ziva Hassenfeld

Why Jewish Day Schools Should Teach Students to Read Torah

December 7, 1-1:30 p.m.
Via Zoom

Jewish day schools expend significant time and energy in teaching Torah. But what are they trying to accomplish in this work? In this session, Ziva Hassenfeld will discuss her recently published research on students’ learning to read Torah, in order to argue that Jewish day schools can induct students into a way of reading texts that will serve them in all endeavors, from their academic studies to text messaging with friends.

Register Now

Learning About Learning: A Conversation with Dr. Anna Hartman

Children’s Theories About Judaism

February 8, 1-1:30 p.m.
Via Zoom

Children’s ideas about the world are rich, nuanced, sometimes amusing and surprising, and for Anna Hartman, always fascinating. In this session, she will share her doctoral research in the field of early childhood Jewish education, in which she explores the theories about Judaism that are held by young children, and provides a window into their process of exploring and participating in Jewish life.

Register now

Learning About Learning: A Conversation with Professor Ilana Horwitz

What Girls Learn in Jewish Families

March 15, 1-1:30 p.m.
Via Zoom

In the past, Jewish families, like many others, offered girls fewer educational opportunities than boys. But that has not been the case for some time now. In her recent scholarship, Ilana Horwitz has demonstrated the ways that girls raised by Jewish parents complete more years of college and attend more selective schools than girls from comparable socioeconomic backgrounds raised by non-Jewish parents, and argues that this is based on a distinctive “religious subculture” in the home.

Register now

Learning About Learning: A Conversation with Professor Jon Levisohn

What We Can Learn from Seymour Fox and the Visions of Jewish Education Project

May 3, 1-1:30 p.m.
Via Zoom

In the 1990s and the early 2000s, Jewish educators and educational institutions started talking about “vision” in a new way, prompted by the efforts of the Mandel Foundation and especially its influential leader Seymour Fox. For many, the publication of Visions of Jewish Education (2003) was a landmark event in the field. In this discussion, Jon A. Levisohn will discuss a forthcoming article in which he analyzes how Fox’s ideas about ‘vision’ in Jewish education developed over time, some of the challenges that he encountered, and what we can still learn from them.

Register now

Past Events

Learning About Learning: A Conversation with Dr. Mijal Bitton

How Jewish Communities Educate

May 4, 1-1:30 p.m.
Via Zoom

Most analyses of Jewish education, like most analyses of general education in Western, liberal society, emphasize the individual student. But some communities approach education very differently. Mijal Bitton discussed her research into how the Syrian Jewish community educates its members, formally and informally, to maintain bonds of commitment.

Mijal Bitton and Jon Levisohn speaking to one another over Zoom.

How Jewish Communities Educate: A Conversation with Mijal Bitton (33:34) 5/4/22

Learning About Learning: A Conversation with Professor Ari Y. Kelman

What Can We Learn From Jewish Education?

April 11, 1 - 1:30 p.m.
Via Zoom

The term "Jewish education" is used to refer to a broad array of practices, approaches, and institutions. Ari Kelman has written a new book, Jewish Education, forthcoming from Rutgers University Press in its Key Words in Jewish Studies series. The series includes books designed to "provide clear and judiciously illustrated accounts of terms currently in use and to chart histories of past usage." In this conversation, Kelman talked about a broad shift from what Jewish education has meant, in modernity, to what it might mean for Jewish life in the 21st century.

Ari Kelman and Jon Levisohn speaking to one another over Zoom.

What Can We Learn From Jewish Education?: A Conversation with Ari Kelman (29:55) 4/11/22

Learning About Learning: A Conversation with Professor Sharon Avni
Accentuating the American Jewish Hebrew Speaker

This conversation focuses on Sharon Avni's recent work on how the everyday acts of speaking, learning, and engaging with Modern Hebrew inform our understanding of contemporary American Jewish life.

Professor Sharon Avni and Professor Jon Levisohn speaking to one another over Zoom.

Accentuating the American Jewish Hebrew Speaker: A Conversation with Professor Sharon Avni (30:00) 3/10/22

Learning About Learning: A Conversation with Professor Miriam Heller Stern

How the Study of Jewish History Informs the Arts

How does a Jewish theater company draw upon Jewish history to wrestle artistically with universal human questions? How do they weave new narratives through the work of interpretation? In recent work, Miriam Heller Stern has addressed these questions, and analyzed how the model of a creative company can be a powerful way of conceiving of adult Jewish learning. 

Title slide: Learning about Learning: A Conversation with Professor Miriam Heller Stern: How the Study of Jewish History Informs the Arts

How the Study of Jewish History Informs the Arts: A Conversation with Professor Miriam Heller Stern (29:38) 12/10/21

Learning About Learning: A Conversation with Professor Laura Yares

Learning at a Jewish Museum

What happens when young adults visit a Jewish museum? What do they learn about Jews and Judaism, and how are they changed by what they see, touch, hear and feel? In this talk, Laura Yares discussed findings from a pre-pandemic study of 30 young adult visitors to the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, and describe the rich learning that can occur in episodic, leisure time Jewish educational settings.

Zoom screenshot of Laura Yares and Jon Levisohn

Learning at a Jewish Museum: A Conversation with Professor Laura Yares (31:26) 11/11/21

Learning About Learning: A Conversation with Professor Jonathan Krasner

How Camp Ramah Met the Challenges of the 1990s

The Jewish overnight camping industry was on the verge of major changes in the late 1980s, when Shelly Dorph became the head of the Ramah National Commission. Jonathan Krasner discussed the case of Ramah and how it reflects on the challenges and opportunities that Jewish non-profit summer camps faced in the 1990s and early 2000s, and what it means for Jewish camps today. 

Video still of a Zoom meeting with 2 participants

How Camp Ramah Met the Challenges of the 1990s: A Conversation with Professor Jonathan Krasner (30:53) 10/14/21