MCSJE News & Events -I- March 2024


MCSJE Receives New Grant from Jim Joseph Foundation

MCSJE is pleased to announce that we've received a grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation to support a working group on Adult Jewish Learning. The goals of the Adult Jewish Learning Working Group are to develop a cohort of scholar-practitioners and to develop a knowledge base that will help to move the field of adult Jewish learning toward a greater focus on the learning trajectories of adult students. Dr. Tammy Jacobowitz (SAR High School) will lead the group, with the support of Dr. Diane Tickton Schuster.


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. In our new format, we share past research that centers around shared themes and ideas, from a variety of projects. This month's theme is Adult Jewish Learning.

Portraits of Adult Jewish Learning

In 2022, the “Portraits of Adult Jewish Learning” project published a book with that title that brought together the work of a dozen Jewish education scholars and practitioners who present colorful narratives about a highly diverse range of adult Jewish learners. 

Webinar about Portraits of Adult Jewish Learning

In September 2022, Diane Tickton Schuster discussed the book with a panel of esteemed experts who are interested in how adult learners learn and the evolving conceptions of Jewish literacy in the 21st century.

Spotlight on Adult Jewish Learning

In this webinar from December 2021, a group of experienced educators who participated in the “Portraits of Adult Jewish Learning” project talked about what they learned from their studies of adult Jewish learning opportunities. 

Serendipity and Pedagogy: Presenting the Weekly Parashah Through Rabbinic Eyes

Carl M. Perkins discussed the pedagogic challenges of teaching rabbinic perspectives on the themes of the weekly Torah portion during Shabbat morning synagogue services.

Using the Contextual Orientation to Facilitate the Study of Bible with Generation X

Beth Cousens, Susan P. Fendrick, and Jeremy S. Morrison examined how a contextual orientation toward teaching Bible in a liberal synagogue affects the learning and engagement process for adults in their twenties and thirties.

Teaching Adult Jewish Educators about Teaching Bible

Lisa D. Grant and Andrea L. Weiss wrote about what teachers of Bible to adults in liberal settings need to know and be able to do, and what kinds of learning opportunities foster those capacities.


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

Book Launch

The Second Conversation: Interpretive Authority in the Bible Classroom

Professor Ziva R. Hassenfeld

Date: Wednesday, March 13

Time: 3:30-5pm ET via Zoom and in-person at Brandeis University

A discussion, reception, and book signing with Ziva Hassenfeld (Brandeis University), author of The Second Conversation: Interpretive Authority in the Bible Classroom. This book is part of the Mandel-Brandeis Series in Jewish Education. It is now available for order from Brandeis University Press and will be available for purchase at the event. The discussion will also be live-streamed.

Register now

Learning About Learning: Conversations with Scholars of Jewish Education

Visualizing Jewish Texts and Practices through the Graphic Novel

Dr. Talia Hurwich

Date: Thursday, April 11

Time: 1 - 1:30pm ET via Zoom

What happens when students of classical Jewish texts encounter visual representations of those texts, not just words? In her recent study Reconsidering Religious Gender Normativity in Graphic Novel AdaptationsTalia Hurwich learned that students often respond in deeply personal ways to visual representations of topics that may otherwise be suppressed by social norms around Jewish texts and practices. In this session, she will discuss the role graphic novels can play in mediating between traditional religious practices and modern social change.

Register now


Learning About Learning: Conversations with Scholars of Jewish Education

Why Young Jews Love Yiddish

Sandra Fox

Over the last two decades, talk of Yiddish as an alternate path of engaging with Jewishness comes up in the Jewish press almost cyclically — a journalistic evergreen. In this session, historian and Yiddish podcaster Sandra Fox explains how Yiddish became culturally significant, why young people are flocking to learn Yiddish in larger numbers than ever before, and what the growth of Yiddish says about American Jewish youth culture. 

Video and podcast now available

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