Alumni: please fill out our alumni contact form to receive additional information about The Davidson School and special alumni-only programs.
"One program successfully
launched this year is
our new Executive
Jewish education, as both an academic field of study and as a practice that takes place in the Jewish community, is a constantly evolving matter. New ideas, new institutions, and new concerns have a profound impact on the direction that the field takes. We try to anticipate the future, but our predictions are sometimes surprisingly off the mark, and events that no one could have anticipated come to have an influence over our thinking and our actions. The recent economic changes in America, to take the most obvious example, are having a significant impact on the course of Jewish education today in ways that no one would have imagined only three years ago.
But not every surprise is a negative one. New ventures and new ideas continue to blossom and change our perspective. Consider the following: When The Davidson School was founded in 1994, the world of Jewish education was a very different place from what we see today. It's hard to believe, but Birthright Israel, perhaps the most dramatic Jewish educational enterprise of our times, was then six years away from its beginning. Today it's hard to imagine the landscape of contemporary Jewish education without Birthright or Masa Israel (for longer educational visits to Israel). The Foundation for Jewish Camp, another highly influential organization in the contemporary Jewish educational landscape, was also not in existence at the time of the opening of The Davidson School. Other examples are not difficult to find.
The founding vision of The Davidson School allowed for the possibility of the evolution of the field. By defining itself around the core elements of what it means to be a Jewish educator rather than committing itself to specific educational institutions, Davidson had a built-in flexibility that helped it adapt to the changing needs of the community. The Davidson School was built around the image of the Jewish educator who was (a) a learner, (b) a teacher, (c) a leader, (d) a researcher, and (e) a religiously competent and knowledgeable person. No matter in what context educators find themselves, these five elements are relevant and at the heart of their work.
As Jewish education continues to evolve, novel modes of preparation and new programs will find their way into The Davidson School. Over the next few years, we are planning to introduce a number of innovations, and in future issues of the Davidson Newsletter we hope to be able to share these new ideas with you. One program successfully launched this year is our Executive Doctoral Program. We began with a cohort of seven experienced Jewish educators who enrolled this fall. The program is designed for "executives" along the model of other advanced degrees in business and education schools. To be accepted, the candidate needs to be an experienced professional employed in a leadership position in the field of Jewish education. As "executives," these students would not be able to enroll full-time in our regular doctoral program, but they must accumulate the same number of credits and complete all the other requirements for the doctorate in education (EdD), including the doctoral dissertation. The course work in the program is fulfilled by a combination of distance learning courses from JTS, a limited number of transfer credits from other universities, summer school courses at JTS, and (in its most innovative feature) a number of "weekend" (full-day Sunday and Monday) courses that meet every four to six weeks during the school year. Thanks to a generous grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation, we were able to offer significant financial aid to these outstanding students, helping to cover their tuition and, for those who live at a distance, travel expenses to New York.
The Executive Doctoral Program is a "cohort program"—that is, for the first two years of course work, all the students in the program take the same weekend and distance learning courses. Depending on their backgrounds and interests, the students choose electives individually, but they work the core of the program as a group. Particularly when students are geographically spread out, it is important to build a cohesive group—a community of scholars working together with shared aims. Of the seven students in our first cohort, two are from California, one is from Texas, one is from Chicago, one is from Boston, and two are from the Greater New York area. In order to test our ideas and give the students the proper amount of attention needed for doctoral work, we have decided to begin new cohorts of students only every other year; our next group will enter in September 2011.
Why do seasoned professionals sign up for a doctoral program? There are obviously a variety of motivations, but what characterizes all the students in the Executive Doctoral Program is a desire to expand their horizons, develop in new directions, learn about the latest research in Jewish education, and master new skills. For those of us on the faculty, the opportunity to teach such a motivated and accomplished group is tremendously exciting. As this program expands over the next number of years, we see the executive doctorate becoming one of the signature programs of The Davidson School. In the next issue of the Davidson Newsletter, we will outline other new programs on the horizon.
—Dr. Barry W. Holtz, dean of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education, JTS
On Thursday, April 29, 2010, the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education's Advisory Board invites you to honor and celebrate Dr. Carol K. Ingall, the Bernard Heller Professor of Jewish Education who retires in June after sixteen years of remarkable service to The Jewish Theological Seminary.
A beloved and inspiring professor who considers herself "teacher before scholar," Dr. Ingall will be sorely missed by students, faculty members, and colleagues, to say nothing of the myriad of professionals in a multitude of educational settings with whom she has had contact. Please join us as our guest for a marvelous evening, beginning at 6:00 p.m., and enjoy all of the festive foods and excellent learning.
The Davidson Advisory Board has seeded a special scholarship to be created in Dr. Ingall's name and posed a challenge to the larger community to help build this resource for a student who will be selected to reflect Dr. Ingall's core values of effective Jewish education. The scholarship will be the most meaningful acknowledgement of Dr. Ingall's passionate work over nearly two decades.
RSVP to the event and take advantage of the opportunity to make a gift to the Dr. Carol Ingall Scholarship. Please attribute your support "in honor of Dr. Carol Ingall."
For additional information, please contact Marion Dienstag at (212) 678-8849 or email@example.com.
Alumni of The Davidson School can be found in a variety of careers in any number of geographic locations, from head of school in Texas to founder and director of a Jewish camp in New York State—and those are just two of the many professional opportunities available to them. Listen in as Davidson alumni discuss the challenges and rewards of their chosen careers and other unique professional experiences.
>Recognizing the Gift of Jewish Education
Ilisa Cappell, head of school
El Paso Jewish Academy, El Paso, Texas
>Helping Make Judaism Come Alive
Rabbi Rebecca Rosenthal, director of education
Congregation B'nai Zion, El Paso, Texas
>Realizing the Importance of Early Childhood Jewish Education
Stephanie Sokol, teacher and Jewish studies coordinator
Rodeph Sholom School, New York City
>Creating a Place of Transformation, Growth, and Learning
Yoni Stadlin, founder and director
Eden Village Camp, New York State
>Creating Educational Experiences That Spark Thinking and Questioning
Sara Stave, teacher
Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County, New Milford, New Jersey
Ilisa Cappell is the head of school at El Paso Jewish Academy, a Texas community Jewish day school for children in grades one through eight.
*MA, The Davidson School,
Day School Education
*Harvard Principals' Institute
*Day School Leadership
Training Institute, 2006
*BA, Barnard College,
Art History, 2002
*MA, The Davidson School,
For the past eight years, my professional home has been in the world of Jewish day school education. As the head of a small school in El Paso, I wear many different hats. No days are the same, but all include working with students, teachers, and parents. Building relationships and communicating with all of the school's stakeholders are two of the main aspects of my job.
It can be challenging and isolating working in a day school located in a remote Jewish community. However, the benefits of a small school where I can deepen my relationships with students, faculty, and parents, and network with colleagues across the country, far outweigh the costs. In a small school, we get to know the students so very well. The children, faculty, and parents truly feel part of a family.
I am fortunate to have developed close relationships with incredible colleagues and mentors during my work on a master's degree at The Davidson School and through participation in Davidson's Day School Leadership Training Institute, a professional development program committed to training and supporting leaders of Jewish day schools across North America.
The first moment I walked into a Jewish day school, I felt at home. Being a Jewish day school graduate too, I recognize the gift of a Jewish education. I also love children, and am grateful to have found a career that connects my personal and professional passions.
"Being a Jewish day school graduate too, I recognize the gift of a Jewish education."
Ilisa Cappell is also enrolled in Davidson's new Executive Doctoral Program, which is intended for professionals pursuing a doctorate in Jewish education while continuing to work at their jobs. Ilisa tells readers of the Davidson Newsletter about the attractions of the program.
For years, I have been eager to begin doctoral-level studies, but geography and a dearth of programs that offer flexible course schedules to accommodate full-time professionals have prevented me from pursuing such an endeavor. The Davidson School's Executive Doctoral Program is the perfect fit, as it facilitates my learning with an incredible cohort while I lead a school in a remote Jewish community. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to study with the distinguished JTS faculty and to learn from colleagues with a wealth of experience and passion. The generous funding of this program helps make this dream a reality. What a blessing to be inspired by colleagues and teachers, and to be able to apply my learning to my work as a head of school.
Rabbi Rebecca Rosenthal is the director of education at Congregation B'nai Zion, the Conservative synagogue in El Paso, Texas.
*MA, The Davidson School,
The key elements of my job are developing the curriculum for our school so that it is in line with the synagogue's vision for education and supporting the teachers in their work. I spend a lot of time going into classrooms, talking to teachers and parents, and interacting with the kids, which is one of the great benefits of a small school. I also develop and implement family workshops and teach adult education classes. Another important element of my job is Shabbat and holiday programming, which reaches beyond our school to all families in the community. It is great to watch families learn and grow together over a shared Shabbat experience.
I love watching parents and kids learning together, teachers applying new techniques, and students having those moments of understanding where they realize that what they have been working on has just clicked. I feel really lucky that I get to interact with these families every day. I love helping them make Judaism come alive and knowing that they will carry these experiences with them throughout their lives.
"I love helping [synagogue families] make Judaism come alive and knowing that they will carry these experiences with them throughout their lives."
Stephanie Sokol is head "twos" teacher and Jewish studies coordinator for the two- and three-year-old children in the early childhood program at the Rodeph Sholom School in New York City, the only Reform day school in New York that serves students from nursery school through eighth grade.
*MA, The Davidson School,
I had been a List College bachelor's student and always enjoyed teaching. I taught in many religious schools all over New York. As a religious schoolteacher and Shabbat morning-service leader, I had the power to make a difference in the lives of New York families. I was never a classroom teacher who believed my job was done when class was finished. Instead, I built relationships with my students and their families and continued to maintain these relationships. One of my religious school's directors approached me about my future and suggested the Davidson program. She saw my passion for early childhood Jewish education and believed that program was the perfect fit for me.
A major goal of early childhood Jewish education is to nurture in children the development of a strong, positive, warm Jewish identity and a love for Judaism. Jewish early childhood education must strive to foster in children the desire and ability to grow into Jewish adults who are proud of their heritage and happy and able to participate in Jewish life.
More and more Jewish educators are realizing the importance of creating a positive Jewish foundation for early childhood learners. In fact, over the past few years many Davidson students have contacted me about my choice to pursue early childhood Jewish education. I was fortunate enough to have found my niche while at Davidson and to have created my own path into a profession I love.
"More and more Jewish educators are realizing the importance of creating a positive Jewish foundation for early childhood learners."
Yoni Stadlin is the founder and director of Eden Village Camp, a new Jewish environmental overnight camp for third to twelfth graders, located one hour north of Manhattan on 248 acres of land.
Eden Village Camp is rooted in the Jewish vision of creating a more environmentally sustainable, socially just, and spiritually connected world. We are a pluralistic, compassionate community where campers build leadership and outdoor skills, explore new interests, and awaken their sense of positive Jewish identity, purpose, and joy.
The Eden Village Camp experience includes organic farming, kosher organic food, animal care, wilderness adventure, natural science, a zero-waste goal, arts, music, sports, a pool/lake, service projects, a Shabbat program, and a culture of kindness. Our campers have fun while deepening their understanding and appreciation of themselves, their communities, and the natural systems that sustain us.
*MA, The Davidson School,
I feel tremendous gratitude for the incredible support of my community and am thrilled to be registering many amazing campers with whom to share this coming summer.
"My job is to create a place where transformation, growth, and learning happen in a fun and safe camp environment."
—Yoni Stadlin, founder and director, Eden Village Camp
"My job is to create a place where transformation, growth, and learning happen in a fun and safe camp environment."
Sara Stave teaches at the Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County in New Milford, New Jersey.
*MA, The Davidson School,
The key elements of my job include the following: working with other teachers to align our Tanakh curriculum with the Standards and Benchmarks in Teaching Tanakh; facilitating small and large group tefillah in the middle school; using technology, such as the SMART Board, to enhance teaching of texts; helping to facilitate informal programming, such as Shabbatot, Purim, Israel education, lifecycle-event education, partnering with Nahariya, and hesed activities; daily teaching of humash, parashiyot, and mishnah skills.
I enjoy creating experiences for students that make them think and ask questions, while engaging with our traditional texts. I especially enjoy discussing theological questions and engaging in iyun tefillah with my students. On most days, students bring new insights to the texts, leading to "wow" moments for all.
"I enjoy creating experiences for students that make them think and ask questions, while engaging with our traditional texts."
Sara Stave discusses her work on Siddur Sababa, a full-color, illustrated siddur curriculum that allows students to record their own personal prayers and to explore the connections between Jewish prayer and tikkun 'olam (the Jewish imperative to fix the world).
My work at Solomon Schechter inspired me to start work on Siddur Sababa in order to improve the experience of tefillah education in day schools. We all feel the struggle to create meaningful tefillah experiences while praying daily to an invisible God with students who may not be developmentally prepared for such a task. Siddur Sababa allows students to create meaning that is more personal and understand the value of structure. In fact, Siddur Sababa provides students with regular progress maps to aid in learning the order of the service. As my company, Sababa Books, slowly expands, I am also fulfilling my dream of owning and operating my own business, a goal I have had since studying economics and business in college.
Every winter, first-year students from The Davidson School spend two and a half weeks in Israel. During the Visions and Voices of Israel Seminar, the students grapple with many essential questions. Ita Paskind is a student in The Davidson and Rabbinical schools who went on the Visions seminar this winter. The following is an excerpt from a devar Torah she wrote just after the seminar.
I just participated in the Visions and Voices of Israel Seminar that constituted an extended Jewish peoplehood mifgash or meeting. Our schedule included almost none of the standard Israel sites—no Masada, no Eilat, and minimal time in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Instead we spent time in the Negev and the north and did a lot of thinking. We were joined by a cohort of five Israeli education students from Oranim College (not too far from Haifa), and together we delved into questions of Jewish identity in Israel and the Diaspora, the problems of land and people in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the narratives of Arab Israelis, the stories of Ethiopian Jews, and more. Through the lens of these challenging conversations, individual Jews from all over Israel and North America discovered which issues separate us and, more important, which ones unite us.
In fact, some of the chidushim—the exciting discoveries that came out of this seminar—were related less to the content of the academic discussions and more to the group dynamics and interactions. One of the Israeli students, who had grown up in a rather secular home but who had begun to recite psalms during the 2006 Lebanon war, came to the Torah for her first aliyah with the group when we gathered at Robinson's Arch (near the Kotel) for Shaharit on New Year's Eve. A religious Israeli man and a Reform American woman were able to find commonalities in their approaches to Jewish religion through dialogue. We all enjoyed hearing one another's Jewish journeys, making connections to our own lives, and thinking about what we could borrow from someone else's community that might improve our own.
Andrea LeVine, a student in The Davidson School, also attended the Visions and Voices of Israel Seminar this winter. Here are her reflections.
On the Visions and Voices of Israel Seminar, we were faced with many difficult issues: everything from my own issues with Israel's nonegalitarian religious environment to, of course, the Palestinian conflict. To top it off, I feel as though I still don't have any answers, and there have been times where that has led to frustration. However, what I have come to accept is the value of asking the right questions. I now feel so much more empowered to push my current and future students and myself to deal with the hard questions, whether or not we are able to find answers. On top of that, and maybe even more important, I've come to realize how much I still don't know, and how I am not satisfied with that fact. I want to know more, I want to push the boundaries of what I think I know, and I want to keep asking the hard questions. Only then can I begin to approach the answers.
"I now feel so much more empowered to push myself and my current and future students to deal with the hard questions, whether or not they are able to find answers."
The Davidson School, in partnership with the National Ramah Commission, is overseeing a grant from the AVI CHAI Foundation to increase the use of the Hebrew language in the Ramah camps. All seven overnight Ramah camps, the new Ramah in the Rockies Outdoor Adventure program, and the three-day camps are all participating. Each camp can select a designated number of fellows who will be trained throughout the year and then attend a special four-day workshop in the spring. In addition, each camp can select one senior Hebrew educator to be trained in Israel who, together with the fellows, will implement the newly designed curricular materials during the summer. The target group for this project is one of the three younger age groups in camp, although all staff will be exposed to the materials and methodologies during staff training in the hope that the active use of spoken Hebrew will increase throughout the camp.
The Ramah camps have always had Hebrew as one of their core values, and most camps use basic Hebrew words and phrases and have public announcements and signage in Hebrew. This grant will take that language usage to the next level. Short dialogues and everyday phrases will be taught and practiced in the unique living and learning environment of the Ramah camps. By concentrating efforts on one or two of the younger groups, the chance of success is higher than starting with the entire camp and changing a culture that is already embedded.
Cheryl Magen, in her role as The Davidson School's educational consultant to Camp Ramah, is overseeing the grant. Four other staff members have been hired to work on various aspects of the project. A Hebrew-language expert has been engaged to write the interactive curriculum and develop training. One team member is translating two plays that will be integrated into the curriculum and performed this summer at all the camps. Two Israeli staff members are collecting educational materials, assisting with the curriculum, training the senior Hebrew educators and the large group of shlichim (Israeli staff emissaries) who come to camp each summer, and organizing the training schedules.
The goals of this project are that, in five years, the Ramah camps will be infused with spoken Hebrew at a much higher level than in past years and that a new love for the language of the Jewish people will be instilled more deeply in the thousands who spend their summers at Ramah.
For more information, contact Cheryl Magen, educational consultant to the National Ramah Commission, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (267) 702-5566.
"The goals of this project are that, in five years, the Ramah camps will be infused with spoken Hebrew at a much higher level than in past years and that a new love for the language of the Jewish people will be instilled more deeply in the thousands who spend their summers at Ramah."
The seventh annual Career-Coaching Workshop was held in January 2010 for graduating Davidson students. The three-day workshop covered important topics such as defining a career path, writing a resume, developing a personal mission statement, and, most importantly, practicing interview skills. Both MA- and PhD-level students attended.
At the end of the workshop, Edward Edelstein, head of the Jewish Educators Assembly—the professional-development arm of the Conservative Movement—talked about job descriptions and how to negotiate a contract. He made himself available to all students, regardless of what arena or setting they may choose to work in when they graduate.
For more information on the Career Coaching Workshop, contact Cheryl Magen, educational staff member, The Davidson School, at email@example.com or (267) 702-5566.
In March 2010, Dr. Jennifer Lewis facilitated two webinars for Davidson alumni titled "Ongoing Professional Development in Jewish Educational Settings."
These webinars considered ways in which teachers can carve out time for enhancing their training, and explored what the character and content of professional development should be to improve teaching and learning in meaningful and substantive ways.
Dr. Lewis is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Michigan, working on research projects in mathematics and teacher education. She has worked with the Mandel Teacher Educators Institute, training principals and other administrators to bring professional development into Jewish schools and agencies.
In February 2010, Dr. Evie Rotstein facilitated two webinars for Davidson alumni called "Models of Supervision for Professional Growth." They explored the fundamental goal of supervision and feedback for teacher growth, focusing on a specific model of supervision called the Classroom Walk-Through (CWT). Dr. Rotstein teaches at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), and is the project director of the Leadership Institute for Congregational School Educators, a joint program of The Davidson School and HUC-JIR.
What is powerful about siddurim (prayer books) that teach?
Exploring this question is Dr. Deborah Miller's class, Methods of Teaching Prayer. The participants are students of The Davidson School and the H. L. Miller Cantorial School and College of Jewish Music of JTS, who find common ground in investigating siddurim that are designed to bring prayer alive for students. Working together, participants from the two schools practice the collaborative skills that will serve them well in their professional lives and enable them to be effective teammates in the Jewish community. Dr. Miller is an adjunct assistant professor of Jewish Education and associate director of the Melton Research Center for Jewish Education at The Davidson School.
Thanks to the generosity of the Jim Joseph Foundation, The Davidson School is pleased to offer full-tuition fellowships for exceptional MA applicants for fall 2010. The MA curriculum provides a strong foundation in Judaica and education, in addition to fostering religious development and personal growth. The Davidson School offers full-time, part-time, and distance learning MA programs in Jewish Education, with opportunities for electives in day school education, synagogue school administration, and informal and community education. Through the JTS consortium with Teachers College, Columbia University, there are opportunities to pursue interests such as, but not limited to, early childhood education, special education, and arts education.
The application deadline is May 1, and all Davidson applicants will be automatically considered for the fellowships.
For more information, please visit our website, or contact Director of Admissions Abby Eisenberg at (212) 678-8022 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Day School Leadership Conference held its first meeting in January 2010 at the Teaneck Marriott in Teaneck, New Jersey. The conference attracted professional and lay leaders from Reform, Conservative, community, and Orthodox Jewish day schools—a first-ever unified educational symposium for the four day school networks. It included keynote sessions by cutting-edge thinkers, case studies, and intensive workshops, among other offerings.
The conference was jointly planned by the following organizations: RAVSAK: The Jewish Community Day School Network; Institute for University-School Partnership at Yeshiva University; Solomon Schechter Day School Association; and PARDeS: The Progressive Association of Reform Day Schools.
Talks by Davidson School participants in the National Day School Leadership Conference included:
"What Can We Learn About Leadership From Studying Torah?"
Charlotte Abramson, director of the Jewish Day School Standards and Benchmarks Project at the Melton Research Center for Jewish Education, JTS
Dr. Ofra A. Backenroth, moderator, associate dean of The Davidson School and adjunct assistant professor of Jewish Education, JTS
"Supporting Our Teachers in Addressing Evaded Curriculum Issues"
Dr. Shira D. Epstein, assistant professor of Jewish Education, JTS
"Recruitment and Retention"
Dr. Barry W. Holtz, dean of The Davidson School and Theodore and Florence Baumritter Professor of Jewish Education, JTS
"Torah for All: Supporting Differentiated Instruction in Torah Study"
Dr. Deborah Miller, associate director of the Melton Research Center for Jewish Education and adjunct assistant professor of Jewish Education, JTS
"How Do You Grow Yourself as a Leader?"
Fran Urman, project director, Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI), JTS
The conference also included The Davidson School / DSLTI alumni reception.
Chaim Moshe HaLevi (Marc Howard Landas) (MA '04) is working as an instructional supervisor for Non-Public Educational Services Inc., a provider of Title I services in literacy, math, and English as a second language to students in yeshivas throughout New York City.
Noah Hartman (MA '09) and his family will be honored this spring by the Yeshiva of Atlanta.
Sam Schindler (MA '07) and his wife, Jamie, welcomed daughter Nora Grace into the world on June 12, 2009.
Mitchel Malkus Is Recipient of Milken Family Foundation Jewish Educator Award
Rabbi Mitchel Malkus (EdD '01) is the recipient of the Milken Family Foundation Jewish Educator Award. The award is presented annually to give public recognition to education professionals who have made significant contributions to excellence in education in day schools affiliated with the Los Angeles Bureau of Jewish Education. Rabbi Malkus, who was awarded the first-ever EdD from The Davidson School in 2001, received his rabbinic ordination from The Rabbinical School in 1999 and an MA from The Graduate School in 1991, and is head of school of the Rabbi Jacob Pressman Academy of Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles.
Davidson Doctoral Student Wins National Jewish Book Award
Paul Steinberg, a current participant in The Davidson School's Executive Doctoral Program, won a National Jewish Book Award in the Jewish Family Literature category for the latest volume in his series on the Jewish holidays. Entitled Celebrating the Jewish Year: The Spring and Summer Holidays, the book was published in 2009 by the Jewish Publication Society.
Davidson Alumnus Speaks About New Book
On February 8, 2010, Davidson alumnus Rabbi Judd Kruger Levingston (GS '02, DS '02, RS '93) spoke about his new book, Sowing the Seeds of Character: The Moral Education of Adolescents in Public and Private Schools, in JTS's Library Lounge. In his brief presentation, "Character Studies: How Schools Sow the Seeds of Character," he discussed his research on Jewish, Muslim, Roman Catholic, Quaker, and Chinese heritage schools.
Dr. Ofra A. Backenroth, associate dean and adjunct assistant professor of Jewish Education, coauthored the article "Breaking Myths, Building Identity: Practitioner-Researcher Reflections on Running an Israel Seminar for Jewish Education Graduate Students" with Dr. Alex Sinclair, an adjunct associate professor at JTS, and Roberta Bell-Kligler, a doctoral student at The Davidson School. It was published in the online International Journal of Jewish Education Research (Winter 2010). She also authored a chapter on Temima Gezari, the founder of Jewish arts education, in the new book The Women Who Reconstructed American Jewish Education, 1910–1965, edited by Dr. Carol K. Ingall (see Dr. Ingall's faculty note below for more information on the book).
Dr. Shira D. Epstein, assistant professor of Jewish Education, currently serves on the advisory board for BJENY-SAJES Early Childhood Department and is presenting on "reflective practice" throughout 2010 at six BJENY-SAJES professional development days for early childhood Jewish educators on Long Island and in Westchester and Brooklyn, New York. Dr. Epstein is also working with the 14th Street Y and Storahtelling to develop the StorahSteps initiative for early childhood Jewish settings.
Dr. Carol K. Ingall, Dr. Bernard Heller Professor of Jewish Education, is the editor of The Women Who Reconstructed American Jewish Education, 1910–1965, an anthology that is being published in June by Brandeis University Press. It is the first volume to examine the contributions of women who brought the forces of American progressivism and Jewish nationalism to formal and informal Jewish education.
Dr. Jeffrey S. Kress, chair of the Department of Jewish Education and assistant professor of Jewish Education, gave two presentations this past fall in Columbus, Ohio: "It Takes a Kehillah to Make a Mensch: How Can the Community Help Build Jewish Identity and Values?" (cosponsored by JTS and two local synagogues, Agudas Achim and Tifereth Israel) and "Raising a Mensch: Promoting Jewish Values in a Confusing World." He coauthored, with Joseph Reimer, the chapter titled "Shabbatonim as Experiential Education in the North American Community Day High School" in Jewish Day Schools, Jewish Communities (A. Pomson and H. Deitcher, eds. Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2009). His article "Identity: A (Thankfully?) Elusive Construct" was published in the Union for Reform Judaism's Torah at the Center (Fall 2009: 13,1). Dr. Kress currently serves as chair of the Network for Research in Jewish Education.
Dr. Deborah Miller, associate director of the Melton Research Center for Jewish Education and adjunct assistant professor of Jewish Education, is leading yearlong professional development workshops on teaching the values embedded in the Jewish holidays for the teachers at United Synagogue of Hoboken, New Jersey. Dr. Miller also organized a series of eleven webinars for day school teachers and administrators in differentiating instruction in the teaching and learning of Torah, using MaToK, the Bible curriculum for Solomon Schechter Day Schools. For more information about MaToK, please contact Dr. Miller at email@example.com or (212) 678-8031.
The Davidson School's sixth annual Visions and Voices of Israel Seminar, held in Israel December 23, 2009, through January 9, 2010, was led by Dr. Alex Sinclair, adjunct associate professor at JTS; Roberta Bell-Kligler, doctoral student at The Davidson School; and Dr. Ofra Backenroth, associate dean and adjunct assistant professor of Jewish Education.
*The Davidson School is the recipient of a major grant from the Covenant Foundation. The grant will be used to develop, implement, and evaluate a new twenty-first-century curriculum for students in the third to fifth grades in Conservative congregational schools.
*To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Teachers Institute (TI), more than a year of events, programs, and performances have been planned. Two proceedings thus far have been a sukkah dinner for young alumni (October 2009) and a studio performance and artist dialogue with Israeli choreographer Renana Raz (December 2009). The performance paid homage to the legacy of art and expression cultivated by the Teachers Institute. Dr. Ofra Backenroth, associate dean of The Davidson School and a 2004 Davidson alumna (EdD), paid tribute to the memory of Devorah Lapson (z"l), who was a TI faculty member. The performance was followed by a dialogue with the artist.
Additional TI anniversary events have included the JTS Library Open House (February 2010) and JTS daylong symposium "Transforming American Jewish Life: A Celebration of the Teachers Institute's 100th Anniversary" (March 2010). Cosponsored by The Davidson School, List College, and the Wohl Office of Alumni Affairs, the symposium featured TI faculty and alumni and a panel discussion ("The Teachers Institute: Creating an American Jewish Counterculture") led by JTS's Dr. Carol K. Ingall (SC '61), Dr. Bernard Heller, professor of Jewish Education at The Davidson School. Respondents were Dr. Ofra Backenroth (DS '04), Joshua Krakoff (DS '00), and Davidson School doctoral candidate Sarah Tauber.