Shira D. Epstein

Dean, William Davidson School, Assistant Professor of Jewish Education

Department: Jewish Gender and Women's Studies , Jewish Education , William Davidson Graduate School

Phone: (212) 280-6044

Email: shepstein@jtsa.edu

Building Room: Brush 408A

Office Hours: By Appointment

BIOGRAPHY

BA, Brown University; MA, New York University; EdD, Teachers College, Columbia University

Dr. Shira Epstein is dean of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education and an assistant professor of Jewish education. She joined the JTS faculty in 2004 and during her time here has taught courses to master’s and executive doctoral students and served as coordinator of the Pedagogy and Teaching Concentration. She has received multiple fellowships, grants, and awards in the field, and has published numerous articles and lectured widely about issues in Jewish education and gender equity.

Dr. Epstein’s research explores ways to support educators in reflecting upon their practice through a gender lens. She was founding project director for Addressing Evaded Issues in Jewish Education and she codeveloped Evaded Issues in Jewish Education: A Resource Guide for Jewish Educators, and the Educational Jewish Moments methodology. She authored two curricula for Jewish Women International: “Strong Girls, Healthy Relationships: A Conversation on Dating, Friendship, and Self-Esteem” and “Strong Girls! Friendships, Relationships, and Self-Esteem.”  

GRANTS, FELLOWSHIPS, AND AWARDS

  • eLearning Faculty Fellow, jointly among JTS, Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion, and Yeshiva University, 2013–14.
  • Addressing Evaded Issues in Jewish Education project.
  • Voices of Valor Award, Dayenu! Enough Silence, the domestic violence initiative of the New York Board of Rabbis, April 2008.

PUBLICATIONS

  • “Gender Equity and Leadership Initiative: A Research and Planning Task Force of the Leadership Commons,” with Andrea Jacobs (2019).  
  • “Socio-emotional Learning in Jewish Education.” Gleanings: Dialogue on Jewish Education from the Davidson School 1, no. 4 (Fall 2014): 12–13.
  • “State of the Field: Teacher Training for Day Schools.” With Rona Novick, Susan Wall, Sharon Feiman-Nemser, Amy Ament, and Miriam Heller Stern. HaYidion: The RAVSAK Journal (Winter 2013): 14–19, 22. 
  • “Educational Jewish Moments: A Methodology for Educators to Self-Audit.” In Growing Jewish Minds, Growing Jewish Souls: Promoting Spiritual, Social, and Emotional Growth in Jewish Education, edited by Jeffrey S. Kress, 147–62. New York: URJ Press, 2013. 
  • “Not Just Fun and Games: Preparing Teachers for Meaningful, Constructivist, Experiential Education.” With Jeffrey S. Kress. HaYidion (Winter 2011): 50–51, 62. 
  • “Gender: Shifting from ‘Evading’ to ‘Engaging’: Gender Issues and Jewish Adolescents.” In International Handbook of Jewish EducationPart One, edited by Helena Miller, Lisa D. Grant, and Alex Pomson, 785–804. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer, 2011. 
  • “The Pedagogy and Practice of Jewish Communal Artistic Engagement: LABA and the 14th Street Y,” in The 14th Street Y. New York: The 14th Street Y: 2009. 
  • Evaded Issues in Jewish Education: Overview of Evaded Issues Training Sessions-Educational Jewish Moments Training Guide. With Naomi Less. New York: The Jewish Theological Seminary2009. 
  • Evaded Issues in Jewish Education: A Resource Guide for Jewish Educators. With Abbi Sharofsky, edited and revised by Naomi Less. New York: The Jewish Theological Seminary2008. 
  • From Reflection to Action: Professional Development as Springboard to Gender Education.” Jewish Educational Leadership 6, no. 3 (Spring 2008): 10–14. 
  • Strong Girls! Friendships, Relationships, and Self-Esteem. Washington DC: Jewish Women International, 2008. 
  • Strong Girls, Healthy Relationship: A Conversation on Dating, Friendship, and Self-Esteem. Washington DC: Jewish Women International, 2006. 
  • “Bringing the Text to Life and into Our Lives: Jewish Education and the Arts.” With Ofra Backenroth and Helena Miller. Religious Education 101, no. 4 (Fall 2006): 467–80. 
  • Review of Reimagining Literary Practices: Creating Living Midrash from Ancient Texts through Tableau, by Amy L. Sales and Leonard Saxe. Journal of Jewish Education 70, no. 1–2 (Summer 2004): 107–10.

Lectures

  • “Expanding Our Lens: Issues of Race and Gender.” Columbia/Barnard Hillel, New York, January 2015.
  • “Exploring Text Through Drama.” Jewish Early Childhood Education Leadership Institute, New York, Summer 2012, Summer 2013, Summer 2014.    
  • “Clothing and Teens: What They’re Wearing, and What We Can Learn about Identity.” New Center for Collaborative Leadership webinar, May 2012.
  • “OMG—I Can’t Believe She Wore That.” Cofacilitator of a teen lunch and session, What to Wear: Women, Clothing, Religion (a daylong public event at JTS), New York, March 2012.
  • “What Girls Want Their Parents to Understand: An Experiential Encounter for Parent Development.” Copresenter, at the Nextbook Jewish Body Festival, JCC Manhattan, New York, October 2009.    
  • “Diversity in the Classroom.” Guest presenter, JTS Graduate Student Series in Pedagogy and Teaching, New York, March 2008.
  • “Educational Jewish Moments and LGBTQ Youth.” Invited institute faculty member and presenter, Hineini Education Project National Training Institute, Atlanta, GA, May 2008. 
  • “Thinking Beyond Curriculum.” Invited presenter, Ma’yan, Strong Voices, Critical Choices: A Training Institute for Jewish Youth Professionals, New York, October 2007.
  • “Strong Girls, Healthy Relationships.” Four-part teleconference, trainer, Jewish Women International, Fall 2007.
  • “What We Teach, and What Is Learned: The ‘Evaded Curriculum’ in Our Schools.” Guest educator, Day School Leadership Training Institute Alumni Institute, Los Angeles, February 2007.
  • “The Evaded Curriculum.” Keynote address, JWI Training Day for Professionals and Advocates Who Work with Jewish Teens and Young Adults, Skokie, IL, March 2006.
  • “Crossing the Line.” Facilitator of discussion of harassment issues, JTS Orientation Week, New York,  September 2005.
  • “Strategies to Integrate Formal Text Learning with Informal Methodologies.” Network of Community Youth Professionals Spring Roundtable, West Palm Beach, FL, May 2005.
  • Guest lecturer for the AvodaArts course Creating Commentary, State University of New York, Purchase, NY, February 2005.
  • “Curriculum Design.” North American Association of Community & Congregational Hebrew High Schools, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, July 2004.
  • “Literacy Through Drama.” Workshop for pre-service students in elementary education, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, June 2003, February 2003.
  • “Conflict Resolution Through Drama” and “God Talk Through the Arts.” Workshops, Wexner Graduate Fellowship Winter Institute, Miami, FL, January 2001.                                 

Research

Dr. Epstein’s research explores ways to support educators in reflecting upon their practice through a gender lens. She was founding project director for Addressing Evaded Issues in Jewish Education and she codeveloped Evaded Issues in Jewish Education: A Resource Guide for Jewish Educators and the Educational Jewish Moments methodology. She authored two curricula for Jewish Women International: “Strong Girls, Healthy Relationships: A Conversation on Dating, Friendship, and Self-Esteem” (2006) and “Strong Girls! Friendships, Relationships, and Self-Esteem.”