Sarah Tauber

Assistant Professor of Jewish Education

My name is Dr. Sarah Tauber, and I am an assistant professor of Jewish Education at The Jewish Theological Seminary. Before becoming a professor at JTS, I was a history and Judaic studies teacher at Solomon Schechter School of Westchester, Upper School, and the director of education at Beit Gil, a liberal synagogue in Geneva, Switzerland. From 2005 through 2007, I was a teaching mentor for MA students attending JTS's William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education.

I chose to teach at JTS because I love combining Jewish scholarship with teacher education. Teaching and writing are two strong passions of mine, and they, too, are why I enjoy what I do. I became an expert in the field of Jewish education because of my dual commitment to studying the Jewish tradition and to teaching it. I earned a BA in History, magna cum laude, from Yale University, and an EdD in Jewish Education from JTS. My earlier training included attending a Jewish day school and a public high school in Connecticut. Several rabbis from both my childhood and adulthood, as well as several memorable teachers from my secular education, profoundly inspired and influenced me and my career. I also went on to study modern Jewish history in Paris, France, at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, as well as at JTS.

I see myself as a lifelong student of all things Jewish, and am also fascinated by many intellectual and religious issues that concern the world beyond Jewish studies, particularly history, philosophy, and education. As a consequence, I am interested in exploring the interaction between Judaism and the larger society from historical and contemporary perspectives: How is Jewish life influenced by the broader milieu of which it is a part? How is it distinctive? And how do Jews help shape both worlds? I bring these interests and questions into my area of scholarly expertise, Jewish education.

Educational scholarship is an important pursuit for me, particularly research into the philosophy of teaching and the teaching of adults. My research interests include adult education, the role of the rabbi as teacher, and the intersection of education and leadership in contemporary American Jewish life. Recent research that I have conducted includes the congregational rabbi as a teacher of adults. I am currently studying team teaching in higher education in light of theories of reflective professional practice, and am exploring its relationship to traditional Jewish educational models in particular.

The Jewish narrative, extending backward into biblical times and forward from the present, reveals the dynamism, creativity, and complexity of the Jewish experience. To me it is a fascinating story, and I seek to be an active participant in this ever-evolving drama. My suggestions for those entering my field of study are to love the process of teaching and learning, explore your scholarly passions, and pursue them with curiosity and an open mind.

When I am away from my work, I enjoy reading literature, walking, swimming, and listening to live chamber music. I have two teenage children, a son named Benjamin and a daughter named Hannah.

Dr. Tauber is presenting a three-part lecture and discussion series called Battle Lines: Great Schisms in Jewish History on February 28, March 20, and May 4. It is being held at Pleasantville Community Synagogue in Pleasantville, New York, and is open to the public.