The Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education's (MCSJE) faculty and community of affiliated scholars conduct research that promotes a deeper understanding of learners and learning in Jewish education. These projects ask critical questions, challenge assumptions, explore the dynamics of Jewish educational settings, and provide practitioners with foundational learnings which can inform pedagogic and curricular decision-making.

MCSJE is committed to sharing its findings more broadly with other scholars and practitioners in an effort to strengthen the field of Jewish education scholarship. To that end, information about both current and past MCSJE research can be found on the website.

We welcome inquiries from scholars about MCSJE financial and staff support for research that supports the Center's vision to study teaching and learning in Jewish education.

To inquire about MCSJE support for a project, please email Jenny Small.

MCSJE faculty and research offer their thoughts on how their research has been impacted by the events of October 7 and those that followed, including the dramatic rise in antisemitism globally.

Current Research

An initial pilot study examining how American Jewish teens completing a gap year in Israel between high school and college understand their experience, relative to the rest of their educational continuum.
A longitudinal study of a group of American Jewish elementary and middle school students that focuses on how they think and feel about Israel, and how that thinking changes over time. Learning based on data collected through 2021 speaks to children's thoughts about the current moment in Israel.

How various religious traditions think, write and talk about the goals of educating within those traditions.

A study of teachers in Israel during Fall 2023, asking: What happens in a classroom when a country has suffered a series of attacks that shake its sense of security? And what pedagogies take priority when teachers and students are forced to educate and learn during a time of war?

A qualitative study seeking to understand how Jewish students on university campuses have been impacted by the Hamas attack on October 7 and the ensuing war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

A national study examining identity development, sense of belonging, and concerns about antisemitism among members of Jewish and Jewish-heritage fraternities and sororities, with supporting insights from the campus professionals who support them.

An investigation into the history of Jewish day schools in America since their beginning in the early 20th century – the origins of the idea of modern Jewish day schools, why they have developed as they have, and whether they are likely to be sustainable in the future.

Research examining what happens when Jewishly-identified visitors participate in Jewish cultural arts experiences. What do they learn about themselves, and about Judaism as a communal experience? How are they changed by what they see, touch, hear or taste?

Exploring the concept of Jewish literacy, its outcomes and assumptions.

A study seeking to develop new knowledge about how contemporary Jewish children make sense of what it means to live in these extraordinary times, and how their educators make sense of what it means to teach in them. 

A lab for Brandeis students to develop social scientific research skills, as they participate in a range of collaborative empirical studies focused on how children read and understand sacred texts. Current SCRoLL Lab studies include Children Read Biblical Joseph and The Science of Reading: Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).

A book project bringing together 14 scholarly chapters that examine what we know about the teaching and learning in Jewish day schools.