MCSJE News & Events -I- April 2023


Announcing Shaul Kelner as Director of the Next Cohort of the Senior Fellows Program

With gratitude and appreciation for Tali Zelkowicz, director of the first cohort of Senior Fellows, MCSJE is thrilled to announce Shaul Kelner as director of the second cohort.

The MCSJE Senior Fellows Program invests in and nurtures senior scholars of Jewish education who have the unique and valuable vantage of serving in leadership roles in programs, organizations, or institutions. The program is designed to connect a small group of peers and provide them with the opportunity to collaborate and contribute their unique talents and expertise as scholars-leaders.

The application process for the next cohort of Senior Fellows will begin later this month.

An Inside Look at the MCSJE Undergraduate Teaching Fellows Program

MCSJE's Undergraduate Teaching Fellows Program offers professional learning to Brandeis undergraduates who are working in supplemental Jewish education. Working in collaboration with other student fellows, under the mentorship of a master educator, undergraduates explore their own Jewish journeys, reflect on their teaching, develop new inquiry skills, and gain insight into their students’ learning. 


A recent article in The Jewish Experience explores more about the Undergraduate Teaching Fellows Program through interviews with Robin Kahn, the program’s director, and a variety of participants.

36th Annual NRJE Conference

MCSJE is honored to host the annual conference of the Network for Research in Jewish Education, which will take place at Brandeis University June 11-13. Registration for the conference is now available on the NRJE website


MCSJE is committed to sharing its research findings broadly with other scholars and practitioners in an effort to strengthen the field of Jewish education scholarship. To that end, please find links to current and past MCSJE research:

Envisioning Zion

In the recent issue of Journal of Jewish Education, MCSJE Director Jon A. Levisohn reviews Benji Davis and Hanan Alexander’s new study, in which they propose a conceptual taxonomy of six types of Israel education. Jon shares his thoughts on Davis and Alexander’s own proposed version of Israel education, “Mature Zionism.” 

From Hebrew Infusion to Acquisition: Unleashing the Power of the Hebrew Language

Andrew Ergas, a member of the current MCSJE Doctoral Fellows Cohort and the CEO of Hebrew at the Center (HATC), reflects on HATC’s efforts to improve Hebrew language acquisition at camps. HATC used the scholarship and learnings published in the MCSJE’s award-winning book, Hebrew Infusion: Language and Community at American Jewish Summer Camps, to develop their pedagogical approach. Hebrew Infusion was co-authored by Sarah Bunin Benor (MCSJE Affiliated Scholar), Jonathan Krasner (Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Chair in Jewish Education Research at Brandeis), and Sharon Avni (MCSJE Affiliated Scholar).


Congratulations to MCSJE Associate Director Jenny Small who was recently recognized as an ACPA Foundation Diamond Honoree in recognition of her outstanding and sustained commitment to higher education through student affairs and student development. The ACPA Foundation exists to provide philanthropic support to generate and disseminate research and scholarship about college students and further the professional development of student affairs and student service professionals.


These MCSJE events are free and open to the public. Pre-registration is required.

Ethiopian Israelis and the Creation of Knowledge: Encounters of Homeland and Diaspora

Date: April 23 & 24

Brandeis University

The story of Ethiopian immigration to Israel has been told many times, but often from the perspective of the non-Ethiopian onlooker as a story of the “rescue” of African Jews and how open (or resistant) they have been to change after two generations in Israel.

Co-sponsored with the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, this in-person conference takes a different approach by bringing Ethiopian scholars, activists and artists into the center of the picture. Understanding this encounter as malleable and contingent, we will examine not just how Israel affected Ethiopian Jews, but how these immigrants changed Israeli society.

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

Date: Wednesday, May 3

Time: 1 - 1:30 p.m. ET 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. 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. The session will be led by Professor Jonathan Krasner (MCSJE). 

Register now


Learning About Learning

A Conversation with Professor Ilana Horwitz

What Girls Learn in Jewish Families

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.

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The Mandel Center offers a robust schedule of events to convene scholars, practitioners, and policy makers to advance thinking, generate new questions and, in some cases, generate new work for future publication. See our full list of recent conferences and events and view past videos of events, or listen to our podcasts on Spotify, Amazon, Apple, or Google.

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