MCSJE News & Events -I- November 2023


Announcing the Next Cohort of the Doctoral Fellows Program

Mazel tov and welcome to the members of the fourth cohort of the Doctoral Fellows program:

Tamara Frankel, Hannah Z. Kober, Kimberley Kushner, and Bryan Hanan Oren.

The fellows are led by Dr. Ilana Horwitz, Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies and Sociology and Fields-Rayant Chair in Contemporary Jewish Life at Tulane University.

The MCSJE Doctoral Fellows Program provides intellectual and professional support to a small group of current doctoral students in North America and Israel-based universities whose research is related to Jewish education.

A New Study of Jewish College Students

Dr. Jenny Small, Associate Director of MCSJE, and Professor Pietro Sasso, Delaware State University, co-lead Jewish Campus Belonging: Fraternities and Sororities as Jewish Educational Spaces. This new national study examines identity development, sense of belonging, and concerns about antisemitism among members of Jewish and Jewish-heritage fraternities and sororities, with insights from the campus professionals who support them. While the study was developed months ago, the questions that it is pursuing are more pressing than ever.

Jewish Campus Belonging is a collaboration between MCSJE, the Timothy J. Piazza Center for Fraternity and Sorority Research and Reform at Penn State University, and the following organizations: Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority, Penn State’s local chapter of Beta Sigma Beta, Sigma Delta Tau Sorority, Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity, and Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity.


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.

Reflections on Gender and Jewish Education

In May 2023, twenty Brandeis community members and visiting scholars and practitioners from around North America gathered in discussion around three goals: (a) to provide a forum to discuss the intersection of gender and Jewish education, (b) to build a community of scholars to think together about those ideas, and (c) to generate a set of short papers about those ideas. Subsequently, the participants developed their thoughts from the day into short thought pieces, now available to all on our website. This convening was co-sponsored by the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute.

Why Jews Need a Common Language: A Plan for Universal Hebrew Literacy

Professor Vardit Ringvald’s essay in Jewish Priorities: Sixty-five Proposals for the Future of Our People makes the claim that modern Hebrew is today a crucial Jewish value, a powerful tool for strengthening Jewish identity, and a window into an entire Jewish world of life, creativity, and culture. It is also a statement about the ideal pedagogical venues and the philosophical frames that can support the teaching and learning of the language and its cultures.


Brandeis at 75: The Future of American Jewry

Joseph Reimer, Associate Professor Emeritus of Jewish Education, shared his thoughts on the future of American Jewry in a panel celebrating Brandeis University's 75th anniversary. Reimer says, "There is power in a ritual celebration when it is peer oriented and joyous.”

The Power and the Peril of Public Jewish Storytelling

Professor Laura Yares, co-leader of MCSJE's Jewish Learning Through the Cultural Arts project, discusses the form of "witness" that occurs when Jewish audiences attend Broadway shows centered on Jewish stories and characters, in a recent Jewish Telegraphic Agency article.


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

Learning About Learning: Conversations with Scholars of Jewish Education

Getting Serious About Play in Jewish Education

Rabbi Judd Levingston, PhD

Date: Wednesday, November 15

Time: 1 - 1:30 p.m. ET via Zoom

Beyond lifting the spirits of teachers and students, play in Jewish education spaces can also shape moral development and character. Drawing from his new researchJudd Kruger Levingston will share how teachers and administrators can cultivate "a moral ecology of play" in classrooms, hallways, gathering spaces, and playgrounds. In this session, Levingston will speak about ways in which a wide variety of approaches to play across the curriculum and throughout a school's culture can transform a young person's values and moral outlook.

Register now

Spotlight on Jewish Learning: Past, Present and Future | A panel of Brandeis faculty in recognition of the University's 75th anniversary

Date: November 30

Time: 1 - 2:15 p.m. ET via Zoom

What have we learned about Jewish learning in the past, where are we today, and what do we still need to learn for the future? Join MCSJE for this special Spotlight Session in honor of Brandeis University’s 75th anniversary, at which Brandeis scholars of Jewish education share some of the most important developments in the field of Jewish education and why they matter for the flourishing of individual students and the vibrancy of the Jewish community.

Panelists include Sharon Feiman-NemserZiva HassenfeldJonathan KrasnerJon Levisohn, and Joseph Reimer.

Register now


Learning About Learning: Conversations with Scholars of Jewish Education

What 19th Century Jewish Education Can Tell Us about Jewish Education Today

Professor Laura Yares

Most histories of American Jewish education deride 19th-century Jewish Sunday schools. But when Laura Yares looked more closely at the curricula, the operative philosophies and the experiences that students and teachers had in these schools, she found that they did important cultural work. In this session, she discussed her recent book, Jewish Sunday Schools: Teaching Religion in Nineteenth-Century America, and described what educators can learn from this pioneering generation in American Jewish education. The session was led by Professor Jonathan Krasner (MCSJE). 

Video and podcast now available

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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. Watch our videos on our YouTube channel or listen to our podcasts on Spotify, Amazon, Apple, or Google.

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