Mandel Center Spotlight Sessions

Join us virtually as we shine a spotlight on an important area of focus in Jewish education, bringing together several diverse scholarly perspectives for a shared conversation that will deepen our understanding.

These events are free and open to the public but registration is required. Stay tuned for upcoming session registrations.

Upcoming Session

Spotlight on Mahloket

February 28, 2023
1 - 2:15 ET via Zoom

Mahloket—that is, dispute or principled debate—has long been celebrated as a Jewish ideal, not only within Jewish texts (where sages debate laws, interpretations and principles) but within the practice of engagement with those texts as well (where, for example, students might engage in debate about laws, interpretations or about principles). What does Mahloket look like at its best? How does Mahloket function as a kind of signature pedagogy (or at least a signature practice) within Jewish education? What does it mean to “educate for Mahloket,” and what are the benefits and challenges of doing so? In what ways is Mahloket a model for substantive engagement across difference?

Aaron Dorfman (A More Perfect Union: The Jewish Partnership for Democracy), Robbie Gringas (educator, performer and writer/For the Sake of Argument), Orit Kent (Pedagogy of Partnership), Abi Dauber Sterne (For the Sake of Argument), and Mike Uram (Pardes), moderated by Jon Levisohn.

Past Sessions

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Spotlight on Art and Artistry as Jewish Learning video

What is the relationship between art and artistry, on the one hand, and Jewish education, on the other? In what ways might we think about engagement with Jewish art and culture as a kind of Jewish learning? Building on the 2022 Mandel Center spring conference, Art and Artistry as Jewish Learning, this Spotlight Session brought together conference chairs Laura Yares (Michigan State University and director of the MCSJE project on Jewish Learning Through the Cultural Arts) and Galeet Dardashti (NYU), along with Eva Heinstein (Mandel Foundation), Miriam Heller Stern (HUC), and Laura Mandel (Jewish Arts Collaborative), to explore these questions and their significance for the field of Jewish education. 

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Spotlight on Art and Artistry as Jewish Learning, pre-recorded video release October 12, 2022 (01:08:34)

Group studying the Talmud together

Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Hadar

Spotlight on Daf Yomi

Rabbi Professor Jane Kanarek (Hebrew College), Rabbi Avi Killip (Hadar)Professor Barry Wimpfheimer (Northwestern), Sara Wolkenfeld (Sefaria), moderated by Professor Jon Levisohn (Brandeis University).

For decades following its invention in 1923, Daf Yomi was practiced by experienced, mostly haredi Talmud scholars, and criticized by many as well. Over time, the practice grew in popularity in that community. But in the 21st century, the practice has expanded dramatically, both in terms of the background of the participants and in terms of the very concept of what it means to “do the daf.”

In this session, four highly experienced educators helped us think about what Daf Yomi means, now, as a Jewish cultural or spiritual practice. What does it mean as a unifying practice (everyone who participates is "on the daf") that actually comprises many distinct and diverse practices? What does Daf Yomi represent, as a mode of engagement with the Jewish tradition that is both continuous and discontinuous with traditional modes of study? How does it bring people together in shared purpose? How does it meet individual needs or advance individual goals?

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Spotlight on Daf Yomi, February 2022 (01:20:00)

Spotlight on Adult Jewish Learning

Adult Jewish learnersSarra Alpert (Avodah), Rabba Yaffa Epstein (Wexner Foundation), Dr. Jane Shapiro (Orot: Center for Jewish Learning), Dr. Diane Tickton Schuster (Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education), moderated by Professor Jon Levisohn (Brandeis University).

Adult Jewish learning is flourishing in synagogues, JCCs, board tables, leadership cohorts, service cohorts, and of course, online. This session was an occasion to talk with a group of experienced educators about what they learned from their studies of adult Jewish learning opportunities—who the learners are, why they participate, what happens, and how they grow or develop through the experience. It featured insights gathered from the research they conducted for the Mandel Center Portraits of Adult Jewish Learning project.

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Spotlight on Adult Jewish Learning, December 2021 (1:13:59)