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ADDITIONAL COPIES MAY BE OBTAINED by contacting NRJE at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion One West Fourth Street | New York, NY 10012 c/o Beth Lutzker-Levick 212.824.2299 |

NEWSLETTER OF THE Number 38 Fall 2012/5773



ecently, I was revisiting a course I taught a few years back to doctoral students at the Davidson School at JTS. The course was a study of ethnography, the third in their required sequence of research methods classes. A few of the topics we addressed in class were entering the field, “insider research” and the researcher’s stance, the nature of inductive research, and being willing to follow the data and have faith that a compelling narrative will emerge. When I created the course, I was a fulltime assistant professor in New York City, busy with teaching and anticipating my MICHELLE LYNN-SACHS next research projects. In recent months, I have relocated with my family to Austin, Texas, and I am taking a temporary hiatus from working while we all transition to our new life. As I reviewed the materials from that ethnography course with my colleague Dr. Meredith Katz, who is teaching her own version of it this year, I saw those same topics through a different lens. In my current situation, I am a preschool parent at the JCC, a New York transplant, a Texan coming “home” after a long absence, and a not-currently-employed academic and Jewish professional. When I introduce myself to people, I am usually aware of which parts of my identity I am presenting, and which I am leaving for a later conversation. When I reviewed my ethnography course materials, I couldn't help but think that I am in a period of “entering the field,” navigating relationships and trying to manage issues of power and role as I do. I’ve also noticed that in my daily life, I have a habit of analyzing the culture around me. My interest in cultural analysis is probably what led me to be an ethnographer in the first place; now, I realize that I am using the ethnographer’s mindset, tools, and questions to make sense of the new organizations I encounter and the larger culture in which they operate. If a key feature of ethnographic research is the commitment to letting the narrative emerge from the data and then seeing what there is to learn from it, I will try to heed my own advice to be patient as I explore professional opportunities. In the meantime, I will try not to compulsively take notes in the JCC parking lot. ARTICLES FOR THE SPRNG 2013 NEWSLETTER SHOULD REACH MICHELLE LYNNSACHS AT MICHELLE.LYNN@NYU.EDU BY MARCH 8, 2013.


RACHEL LERNER Graduate Student Liaison

ELI SCHAAP – Treasurer


OFRA BACKENROTH 2013 Conference Co-Chair

SARAH OSSEY Graduate Student Liaison

DAVID BRYFMAN Technical Committee Coordinator

KAREN REISS MEDWED 2012 Conference Co-Chair

LISA GRANT Past Network Chair

ALEX POMSON Past Network Chair

CAROL INGALL Emerging Scholars Award and Past Network Chair

MICHAEL SHIRE 2012 Conference Co-Chair

MEREDITH KATZ 2013 Conference Program Chair

MICHAEL ZELDIN Senior Editor, Journal of Jewish Education

JEFF KRESS Immediate Past Network Chair

TALI ZELKOWICZ 2012 Conference Program Chair


Living like an ethnographer




s I sit down to prepare this message on the eve of the High Holidays, my thoughts turn to Y.L. Peretz's delightful story, "If Not Higher." Peretz recounts the deeds of the pious Rebbe of Nemirov, who metaphorically ascended to the Heavens to plead for his flock each morning during the week before Rosh Hashanah by surreptitiously performing acts of loving-kindness for the neediest members of his community. Over the past few months, as the Network has been in the midst of transition, many of you have reached out with acts of hesed, large and small, that have eased my path and reinforced our sense of community. I am grateful in particular to Jeff Kress, who has been very patient about teaching me the ropes. The beginning of my term as Chair JONATHAN KRASNER coincided with major administrative changes at the NRJE. Our longstanding relationship with JESNA ended in June, as that organization moved to consolidate its work. As many of you know, JESNA not only served as our mailing address but also provided vital clerical, organizational and technological support for us. We are indebted to Leora Isaacs and to our past two administrative assistants at JESNA, Ada Maradiaga and Galit Dardashtian, for their service. In the wake of some initial conversations about partnering with other Jewish educational organizations, it became clear that it made the most sense for the Network to forge an independent path. In July we hired a part-time administrative coordinator, Beth Lutzker-Levick, who has been managing our transition and putting our financial books in order. Beth has been extraordinarily busy with myriad tasks. It is a testament to her professionalism that members should not experience any noticeable disruption in their dealings with the Network. For the past four years Beth


has served as Program Associate of the Leadership Institute, a program to cultivate educational leadership, operated jointly by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the Jewish Theological Seminary with a grant from the UJAFederation of Greater New York. Since Beth's office is at HUC-JIR, we've arranged for the Network to have a post office box at the College-Institute. All mail should henceforth be addressed to the Network for Research in Jewish Education, c/o Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute for Religion, 1 West 4th St. New York, NY, 10012 attn: Beth Lutzker-Levick. All email correspondence should be sent to Beth at Beth can also be reached by phone at 212-824-2299. For now, membership /Journal of Jewish Education subscriptions will continue to be handled by Taylor & Francis. I am pleased to welcome two new members to our Executive Committee. Ben Jacobs is our incoming secretary. He replaces Leora Isaacs, who is stepping aside after a long tenure. Ben is dedicated to continue strengthening and professionalizing our organization. With this issue of the newsletter, Michelle LynnSachs replaces Renee Rubin Ross as editor. Michelle's can-do spirit, meticulousness, and dedication to our field make her an ideal editor. I am looking forward to working closely with both Ben and Michelle. Leora and Renee have been a valuable members of our team and I hope to benefit from their continued counsel. In the coming months I hope to be able to announce additional changes. A newly formed subcommittee will be exploring how the NRJE can better utilize its website and social media in order to enhance communication with members and boost our organizational profile. In addition, as you can read elsewhere in this issue, our 2013 conference chairs, Ofra Backenroth and Meredith Katz are hard at work planning what will undoubtedly be a successful and stimulating 2013 Annual Conference, at the Jewish Theological Seminary, in New York. Finally, I am eager to hear your ideas as we look forward to this exciting new chapter in our organization's life. Feel free to contact me at . Best wishes for a sweet and healthy New Year!


NRJE 27th Annual Conference | JUNE 2-4, 2013 MEREDITH KATZ | OFRA BACKENROTH | SAVE THE DATE!!! The Network for Research in Jewish Education’s 27th annual conference will be held this academic year from Sunday, June 2 through Tuesday, June 4, 2013 at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) in Manhattan. The Network again welcomes proposals for papers, spotlights presentations and research consultations from researchers, doctoral students and practitioners. Now fall 2012 >>> the network for research in jewish education

is the time to start thinking about your proposal! Be on the lookout for the Call for Proposals in mid-October and share it with those in your networks who might be interested. Proposals will be due in the beginning of January. Please contact Dr. Meredith Katz, Program Chair (mekatz@jtsa. edu) or Dr. Ofra Backenroth ( with any early questions. <2>





ne of the best attended NRJE Conferences in memory for many, the 26th gathering of our Network took place in the light-filled Moshe Safdie architected site graciously hosted by our colleagues Michael Shire and Karen Reiss-Medwed, and President Daniel Lehmann, at Hebrew College in Boston. With over 60 individual paper, spotlight, and consultation sessions in total, a wide variety of topics and issues, a constant and rich intellectual buzz permeated the three days, as academics and practitioners engaged in the probing, rigorous and respectful collegial discourse that marks the NRJE culture. A generous and welcome supply of delicious food and meals before, during and after every program undoubtedly helped! In addition to wonderful spotlight and paper session, Sunday’s evening Plenary also helped the conference begin on a high, challenging, and inspiring note. With the ambitious title of “Pioneering a Bold Research Agenda for Jewish Special Education,” the plenary sought not only to brief participants on the current state of research in Jewish Special Education, but also to engage them. Opening the Plenary with a statement of the severity of the problem, Conference Chair, Tali Zelkowicz, declared: “We have, to date, at best, but a handful of serious academic articles addressing Jewish Special Education. For educators, researchers, and policymakers, alike, myriad complex issues are emerging for which there is virtually no research to guide us. And all this at a time when greater numbers of Jews of all ages are challenging leaders to include them and their unique needs in Jewish life and living. The little writing and data that we do have, are being produced by rabbis, educators, cantors, and camp directors. Why? Because they are reaching for books on their shelves by us that do not exist.” Five panelists each contributed distinct expertise and knowledge in the field of special education. The first two speakers mapped the philosophical and scholarly state of the fields of Jewish Special Education and general Special Education, respectively: Dr. David Ackerman, head of educational initiatives at the national JCC office in New York City, and long time researcher and thought leader of special education in Jewish education, and Dr. Don Wertlieb, the immediate past Korman Visiting Distinguished Professor of Special Education and Director of

fall 2012 >>> the network for research in jewish education

the Hebrew College Inclusive Education Roundtable (HIER) and professor at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, Tufts University, whose work as an applied developmental scientist focuses on how children, families, and communities cope with adversity and disability to design interventions that foster coping and resilience. Three professionals then responded from the field – again both from general and specifically Jewish perspectives: Howard

Filled with exciting and collaborative connections and explorations, the sessions … left attendees with much to think about … and more knowledge to be created for the field. Blas, a social worker and special educator who primarily teaches students with special needs and circumstances in Jewish Studies and for bar and bat mitzvah, and is Director of the Tikvah Program at Camp Ramah in New England; Mia Hyman, a board certified Applied Behavioral Analyst who works as a consultant with Melmark New England (an organization that provides services to children with autism spectrum disorders) where she educates teachers in Boston’s public school system how to meet the needs of kids with special needs; and Abby Uhrman who is currently a doctoral student at New York University writing her dissertation on Jewish parents' experiences with day schools based on special needs education for their children. Following the panelists’ presentations, each table of the over 150 participants was charged with the task of submitting (via texting) a response to the following question: If you had only enough funding, time, and human resources to pursue TWO research questions, what would those be, and why? Filled with exciting and collaborative connections and explorations, the sessions of the remaining two days of the Conference left attendees with much to think about and many more questions to investigate, and more knowledge to be created for the field. Hope to see you all at the 27th NRJE Conference in 2013!




acred Teaching and Spiritual Learning, the NRJE’s post conference seminar, was sponsored by the Shoolman Graduate School of Education, Hebrew College, and was held on Tuesday afternoon, June 4, 2012. “Spiritual beings need a pedagogy that engages and delves into their very souls, into the depths of their human spirit appealing to them personally and as persons. Indeed their minds must be well engaged too, but it is in the soul and only through the soul that life-transforming education in faith can take place.” Thomas H. Groome, Will There Be Faith: A new vision for educating and growing disciples, HarperOne, New York 2011. pp67-68 adapted. This seminar sought to explore such pedagogies for Jewish Education that are explicitly designed to We are not just form and nurture hovot halevavot – Duties of the looking for new Heart. Drawing upon programming but the established field of Religious Education a transformation and Christian Religious of Jewish education Education in particular, over 40 participants drew that will explicitly upon our common as address sacred well as our distinctive elements to construct the teaching and of a Jewish spiritual learning …. beginnings Religious Education for the 21st century. We were aided in our explorations by presentations from Professor Mary Elizabeth Moore, Dean of Theology and Religious Education at Boston University, Professor Nehemia Polen, Professor of Jewish Thought, Hebrew College and Professor Tom Groome, Dean of Theology at Boston College. In his opening introduction Michael Shire, Dean of the Shoolman Graduate School of Education at Hebrew College and convenor of the seminar stated, ‘This seminar put into context the opportunities for the enhancement of Jewish spiritual pedagogies for the field of Jewish Education. We want to better understand together in order to give expression to the spirit of the child. What is the right descriptor and qualifier for this work; ‘spiritual’ being a deeply problematic term in Jewish circles and ‘development’ much too prescriptive, constructed and individuative. Do we want to develop spirituality? Or deepen Jewish practice? Or grow religious individuals or open Jewish minds or touch Jewish souls or foster communities

fall 2012 >>> the network for research in jewish education

of holiness? We are not just looking for new programming but a transformation of Jewish education that will explicitly address sacred teaching and spiritual learning and infuse a new generation with richly deep religious experiences, conceptions and knowledge of shehinat el – divine presence in the search for human meaning. How do we educate for this religious awareness? We are creating an educated community but are we creating a community sensitive and aware of religious growth and the process for understanding how that happens? How do we educate for that and indeed find approaches to learning that foster tamim – explicit and implicit connection to the holy, the spiritual, to God and personal and community expressions of faith? The seminar, which used case studies, source texts and reflective discussion on the pedagogies of religious and spiritual education, was an exciting and initial exploration of this issue in Jewish Education. For proceedings of the seminar or for further work in this area, please contact Michael Shire at

Journal of Jewish Education Update SUE KITTNER HUNTTING |

▶ Check your mailboxes for Volume 78, No. 2 in which a thought-provoking Journal conversation kicks off with an article from Jonathan Woocher on 21st century Jewish education. Following in December will be eleven responses, from academicians and practitioners, as well as a rejoinder from Jonathan. ▶ Thank you to the many presenters from the NRJE Conference in June who have indicated their intentions to submit manuscripts to the Journal for consideration. We look forward to seeing many of these in print in the months ahead. ▶ Expect to see an issue featuring Emerging Scholars in Volume 79. ▶ A themed issue on Jewish Early Childhood Education is in the works. The intents deadline has passed and manuscripts are due by March 1, 2013. ▶ Talks have begun on how best to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Journal. Stay tuned for details.


NRJE’s Awards Committee Chooses Three for Recognition NRJE AWARDS COMMITTEE CAROL INGALL |


he NRJE Awards Committee began offering its first award, the Young Scholar Prize, in 1990. In 2005, the Committee, recognizing the often-inappropriate wording of the title, changed the name of the prize to the Emerging Scholar Award. This award is designed to help a promising doctoral student complete his or her dissertation. This year, the committee received a name change, recognizing their additional responsibility; not only would they review applications for the Emerging Scholar Award, but also for a new prize, the NRJE Research Award, designed to call attention to an article written by a recent recipient of a doctoral degree that made a significant contribution to the research literature of Jewish education. With two awards to grant, the newly named Awards Committee, consisting of Isa Aron (HUC), Shani Bechhofer (Yeshiva University), Shira Epstein (JTS), Carol Ingall (JTS, retired), Miriam Heller Stern (AHU), Harold Wechsler (NYU), and Sivan Zakai, (AHU) had a busy winter. The winners of the Emerging Scholar Awards for 2012, feted at the Boston Hebrew College in June, were Frayda Gonshor Cohen and Arielle Levites. Gonshor Cohen, a doctoral student at Mills College, is studying dilemmas of practice that emerge in the moral life of Jewish day schools. She notes: “While practically by definition the context of Jewish day school will raise moral dilemmas for teachers, we have surprisingly little information about how teachers go about managing those dilemmas, and how, if at all, their values (and perhaps Jewish values) figure into their deliberations. This lack of knowledge about this particular aspect of day school teaching limits our ability to prepare and support teachers in the field.” Levites is studying adult Jewish spirituality at NYU’s Steinhardt School. She writes: “Adults shape the world of Jewish education both as producers of educational environments and consumers in a marketplace of competing ideas and opportunities. Understanding what adults want Jewish education to do helps us understand why educational settings for Jews of all ages look the way they do. I fundamentally believe that Jewish education is more than schooling and takes place in a variety of settings and through diverse media. While the settings in which my project is sited operate outside of formal Jewish schooling they help shape a wider landscape of Jewish educational opportunities. I believe this project will contribute to the larger field by shedding light on the new contexts in which Jewish education is called on to act on Jewish lives.” The winner of the first NRJE Research Award was Sharon fall 2012 >>> the network for research in jewish education

Avni, an assistant professor at BMCC in New York, for her article Hebrew-only language policy in religious education that appeared in Language Policy, a leading journal in applied linguistics. Avni uses ethnographic analysis to explore the everyday negotiations of a Hebrew-only language policy and its implementation at a Jewish day school. The tension between ideology and enactment produced a unique set of cultural practices in the school resulting in questionable language learning achievements, but paradoxically reinforcing the school’s philosophy: a reaffirmation and strengthening of the students’ sense of Jewish identity. Please watch for the announcement of the 2013 NRJE Awards in the late fall or early winter. We encourage you to contact any of the members of the Awards Committee for further information about qualifications and the application process.

News from New York University WENDY PALER |

The NYU Graduate Programs in Education and Jewish Studies are pleased to announce that the AVI CHAI Foundation has granted NYU a matching grant to support three cohorts of doctoral students with demonstrated commitments to Jewish education focused on Jewish literacy, religious engagement, and Jewish peoplehood. Upon graduation, they will commit to work in day school or summer camp settings. This year, the NYU Graduate Programs in Education and Jewish Studies are delighted to welcome the following new students: Dual Master's Program: T'helah Ben-Dan (Jim Joseph Fellow) Jael Goldstein (Jim Joseph Fellow) Yael Mendelson (Jim Joseph Fellow) Ruben Rais (Jim Joseph Fellow) Doctoral Program: Mijal Bitton (AVI CHAI Fellow) Amitai Blickstein (Steinhardt Fellow) Daniel Loewenstein (AVI CHAI Fellow) Their biographies are available on our program website:


News from the Davidson School OFRA BACKENROTH | The William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education is proud to announce the enrollment of 29 new master’s degree students for fall 2012; 24 in-residence students as well as 5 students in the online master’s program. This incoming class consists of aspiring educators with diverse interests such as day school teaching, museum education, music education, educational leadership and experiential education. Ten will join the Kesher Hadash (New Connections) program, spending the spring semester in Israel. Both the Experiential Education concentration and the Kesher Hadash program are generously funded by The Jim Joseph Foundation. The Admissions Office of the Davidson School is actively recruiting students for the third cohort of the Executive Doctoral Program. Deadline for applications is January 2. The full time EdD program deadline for fall 2013 is January 2nd and the MA priority deadline is March 1. Additionally, the Davidson School launched two new programs this year: 1. The Jewish Experiential Leadership Institute (JELI), launched in March 2012, offers "leadership through a Jewish lens," providing professional development to 19 emerging leaders within the Jewish Community Center (JCC) movement through monthly webinars, 3 in-person learning retreats, monthly conversations with mentors, and fellows' own independent learning projects. Fellows engage in rich discussion of Jewish


text, tradition and history to inform their work as mid and senior level professionals in JCC's throughout North America. The 15-month institute is a program The Davidson School's Experiential Learning Initiative coordinated in partnership with the JCC Association. 2. The Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute (JECELI), launched in May 2012, is a 15-month program for new and aspiring leaders. Sessions of JECELI take place during a spring orientation, at summer sessions in New York and at a winter retreat. In addition, participants continue learning online and in relationships with mentors. The goals of JECELI are to develop leadership through Jewish study, reflective practice, understanding of human growth and development, and community building. The first cohort of 16 participants from twelve states has completed the first two components of their program and will continue their participation through the summer of 2013. The next cohort will begin in the spring of 2013 and continue through the summer of 2014. Three cohorts are planned. JECELI is one of the programs generously funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation Education Initiative. For information regarding participation in JECELI, please contact us at Both programs are generously funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation Education Initiative.

from Yeshiva University – Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration


Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration is proud to announce a new joint master’s degree program with Bernard Revel Graduate School. The intention of this program is to provide aspiring Jewish educators with high-level professional preparation by combining the discipline of pedagogy in Jewish graduate education at Azrieli with the acquisition of a level of expertise in academic Jewish studies at Revel. Graduates of this program will earn a MS in Jewish Education at Azrieli Graduate School and a MA in Jewish Studies at Bernard Revel Graduate School. Students in the second cohort of the Accelerated Master’s Program began classes this fall. The program, funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation, attracts talented educators to the field of Jewish education. The one year, full time program balances intensive course study alongside practical teaching experience fall 2012 >>> the network for research in jewish education

in Jewish Day School classrooms. Applications are currently being accepted for the third cohort to begin fall, 2013. New York State certification programs are now offered at Azrieli Graduate School. Students who hold an initial certification in Childhood Education 1-6 can enroll at Azrieli in the 36-credit Advanced Childhood Education 1-6 program leading to NYS professional teacher certification. Students who wish to teach at the middle/high school level can enroll in a 42 credit Adolescence Education program leading to initial/ professional certification in grades 7-12 biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, social studies, English and Hebrew. The addition of an expanded number of online courses provides students at Azrieli with the opportunity to use 21st century educational tools to communicate and collaborate with each other and their professor. Detailed information on all Azrieli Master’s programs and the online application can be accessed at: azrieli/ <6>

News from Yeshiva University Institute for University-School Partnership SHIRA ZAMIR | Yeshiva University’s Institute for University-School Partnership seeks to reimagine and sustain Jewish day schools throughout North America. Beyond servicing Jewish day schools with programs and support, the YU School Partnership serves as an important engine of faculty research and publications to advance the field. We are pleased to share with you an excerpt from a recent publication by Dr. Harry Bloom, which is based on our benchmarking and financial re-engineering work with dozens of day schools. You can find the full publication, Sustaining Your Day School: 50 Strategies from the Field (August 2012), on our website: www. Seven critically important processes that are instrumental in driving school quality and affordability are: 1. Fundraising 2. Tuition Setting and Financial Aid 3. Student Recruitment and Retention 4. Generation of Non-Tuition Income 5. Non-Educational Administration

developed and implemented successfully in 18 Jewish day schools nationwide. We are currently enrolling additional schools to use MaDYK for the 2012-2013 year, and a 3rd grade measure will be introduced this fall. Educators have reported that MaDYK results have had a direct impact on instruction and student learning, and research on MaDYK has been presented at national and international Jewish and Secular conferences. Data from over 1,000 students tested with the MaDYK measures has yielded preliminary benchmark goals for Hebrew reading in the early grades (see Table 1), by dividing students’ scores (total words read correct in one minute) into groups based on percentile rank, a procedure that has been used for development of benchmark goals for similar tests (e.g. DIBELS; Good, Kaminski & Dill, 2002). MaDYK provides educators with a valuable tool for early and ongoing assessment of students’ Hebrew reading skills. The preliminary benchmark goals will allow educators to compare their students to national norms and to provide improved instruction and support on the individual student, class-wide and school-wide levels. Table 1. MaDYK Preliminary Benchmark Goals

6. Education Delivery 7. Staff Compensation These processes are listed in the sequence order of how long it takes to responsibly implement changes that achieve a measurable impact on a school’s finances. For example, changes to fundraising practices can, in our experience, have very near term payoffs without disrupting the fabric of the schools. On the other hand, changes to education delivery and staff compensation can take years to plan and fully implement in a manner that ensures high educational quality and fairness for staff, but can have more significant long-term positive impact on school finances. MaDYK MaDYK (Dynamic Test of Hebrew Literacy) is a set of standardized dynamic assessment tools that measure student progress in Hebrew reading in the early grades. To date, 1st and 2nd grade MaDYK measures have been

fall 2012 >>> the network for research in jewish education

To learn more about our applied research and programs, please visit our website or email Follow us on twitter @yuschoolpartner





In SHARON FEIMAN-NEMSER’S recently published article “Beyond Solo Teaching” (Educational Leadership, May 2012, 69:8), she traces evolving ideas about new teacher induction: from easing novices' entry into teaching, to providing individualized professional development via mentoring, to incorporating new teachers into a collaborative professional learning culture. The piece was featured in a May, 2012 issue of “The Marshall Memo.” The article draws, in part, on the Mandel Center's work with day schools around new teacher induction. For more information, see Sharon is serving on the advisory board and on the Jewish Educational Leadership panel of CASJE, the Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education. JON A. LEVISOHN will be on leave from the Mandel Center for the current academic year. In the fall, he will be serving as a research fellow with the Jacobson Family Foundation and will be the AaronRoland Lecturer at Stanford University in January 2013. His article, "Rethinking the Education of Cultural Minorities to and from Assimilation: A Perspective from Jewish Education," is forthcoming in Diaspora and Indigenous Minority Education (DIME). The Teacher Learning Project, co-directed by SARAH BIRKELAND and VIVIAN TROEN, collaborated with Yeshiva University's Institute for University-School Partnerships to plan and facilitate the Induction Summer Institute for YU's ten Induction Partner Schools. The Teacher Learning Project launched its online toolkit: ( with a number of activities, including several webinars held over the summer.

NEWS FROM OUR MEMBERS SHIRAH W. HECHT, PH.D. published “Assessment and Evaluation: Tools for the Reflective Educational Environment” in the Fall 2011 Jewish Education Leadership issue. In Fall 2009, she published “Best Practices in Holocaust Education: Guidelines and Standards” in Jewish Education Leadership (Vol. 8, No. 1), based on a report originally completed with the Berman Center at JESNA. As a full-time internal evaluator with JF&CS in Boston, she continues to teach and consult on a part-time basis. In 2011, she completed two projects with CJP related to Jewish education, including a planning project for supplementary education in the south area; this year she continues to evaluate the CJP Teaching and Technology Fellowship program offered for Boston area teachers. Shirah

fall 2012 >>> the network for research in jewish education

Sarah, with Sharon Feiman Nemser, published an article in the April - June 2012 issue of The New Educator: “Helping School Leaders Help New Teachers: A Tool for Transforming SchoolBased Induction.” ERAN TAMIR continues his work as director of the Choosing to Teach Project, which studies teacher preparation, school conditions, and teacher practice and career choices. The project will publish its findings in a forthcoming book from Harvard Education Press, edited by Eran, Sharon Feiman-Nemser and Karen Hammerness. Learn more: choosing/index.html In the DeLeT Longitudinal Survey, Eran recently presented some new findings from a comparison of workplace conditions encountered by DeLeT and Pardes teachers at their schools. This NRJE conference presentation is available at: SO6UpM. His article, “What keeps teachers in and what drives them out: Findings from a longitudinal comparative case-based study of beginning teachers in urban-public, urban-catholic, and Jewish day schools,” is forthcoming in Teachers College Record. ORIT KENT and ALLISON COOK of the Beit Midrash Research Project have a forthcoming article in the fall issue of The Journal of Jewish Education, “Havruta Inspired Pedagogy: Fostering An Ecology of Learning for Closely Studying Texts with Others." They took havruta-inspired pedagogy into the realm of teen programming and arts education this summer. They worked with educators in the BIMA summer arts program at Brandeis on the design and implementation of their artists’ beit midrash. Learn more: beitmidrashresearch/index.html

will teach an on-line course in research methods for students in the graduate education and communal service programs at Gratz College in the Spring of 2013.

DIANE TICKTON SCHUSTER is Congregational Inquiry Coordinator of the B'nai Mitzvah Revolution (a joint project of the Union of Reform Judaism and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion). She is also conducting research for the Institute of Jewish Spirituality about the spiritual practices of non-believers. Most importantly, she is delighting in being a first-time (albeit long-distance) grandmother to Boston-based Gershom Brian Battis, son of Rabbi Jordi Schuster Battis and Seth Battis. Mazal tov to REBECCA SHARGEL and Ravi Mirchandani on the birth of their daughter, Leah Rekha.


Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education (CASJE) RAFAEL CASHMAN and FRAYDA GONSHOR COHEN |

As part of the Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education’s (CASJE) Project Management Team, we are excited to report on its recent activities! At this year’s NRJE conference in Boston, hosted by Hebrew College, there were a series of events and activities organized by CASJE in close partnership with NRJE leadership. CASJE was excited to publicly share, through a number of posters around the conference, some of our initial observations about what content-areas have (or have not) received attention in the last six years of Jewish education research. We appreciated the feedback offered by many NRJE participants; this feedback was both critical and constructive, and has helped us think about directions for CASJE’s work moving forward. We were especially pleased with the turnout and ensuing vibrant conversation on the last morning of the conference -- attended by over 25 NRJE members — to discuss possible areas of research for the Israel education panel, co-chaired by Rabbi Mitch Malkus, Ph.D. and Professor Alex Pomson. The ideas and insights from this session were instrumental in determining directions for the panel as members begin to craft their research briefs. Since the NRJE Conference, the Israel education panel has been working to create robust programs of research in the following five areas: 1. Metrics/measures/assessment/evaluation of outcomes in Israel education. 2. Israel education for what? An investigation of the purposes and possible outcomes of Israel education. 3. The Israel educator – an inquiry in to the preparation and capacities of effective Israel educators. 4. The role/contribution of Hebrew in/to Israel education. 5. The connection of Israel education to Jewish peoplehood (and to the concerns of Jewish education more broadly). In a parallel effort, the Jewish Educational Leadership panel, led by Professors Joe Reimer, Ellen Goldring and Lee Shulman, continues its work, with a focus on developing a bold research agenda to begin to explore aspects of educational leaders and leadership that influence the outcomes of Jewish educational institutions. Two aspects of this broader question will also be studied in-depth through additional studies: One study will likely address questions about the specifically Jewish qualities of Jewish Educational Leadership that are most significant for success, while another will likely address the challenges of training, preparing and developing Jewish Educational Leaders through purposeful programs of education, professional development, mentoring and/or recruiting. We are excited to announce that CASJE’s newest panel will focus on the economic sustainability of Jewish education, led fall 2012 >>> the network for research in jewish education

by Professors Ari Kelman (Stanford University) and Rachel Friedberg (Brown University). In the context of the rising costs of private education, the ubiquity of information online, the growth of more formal online education, the emergence of Hebrew charter schools and the increasing emphasis on the customizability of Jewish experiences, it is unclear whether or not the infrastructure of Jewish education that emerged during the 20th century can sustain the demands and dynamics of the American Jewish community in the 21st. Working from these pervasive concerns, the Sustainability Panel will convene informed and invested people from a diversity of backgrounds including economists of education, foundation professionals and lay leaders, each of whom will bring their unique perspective to this largely neglected but utterly crucial dimension of Jewish education. Not strictly limited to either questions of affordability or philanthropy, the Panel intends to take a systemic approach to this investigation in an effort to better understand the dynamics that underpin Jewish education and enable it to function. This is an exciting time to be connected to the burgeoning field of Jewish education research, and we are thrilled to have been given the privilege to participate. We hope as many of you as possible will continue to reach out to CASJE, as we begin to build an increasingly diverse, thoughtful and vigorous community of research and practice.

CALL FOR PAPERS POLIN: STUDIES IN POLISH JEWRY Volume 30 of Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry will be devoted to the history of Jewish education in Eastern Europe. Anyone interested in submitting an article should contact Eliyana Adler (

FIND US ON FACEBOOK! The Network for Research in Jewish Education has an active Facebook group with over 170 members. The page includes job announcements and information about research scholarships. Find the group on Facebook to join, or contact Sara Shapiro-Plevan at


NRJE 38 Fall 2012 Newsletter  

NRJE Fall 2012/5773 Newsletter

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