William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education

In 1994, William Davidson of Detroit, Michigan, established a $15 million endowment at JTS to fund the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education with the goals of adding more professionals to the field, providing development opportunities to educators already working in the many venues in which Jewish education takes place, and increasing the field’s knowledge base through academic and practitioner research.

The William Davidson School offers both master’s and doctoral degrees in its historic home at 3080 Broadway, where Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan became the dean of its predecessor, the Teachers Institute, in 1909. It also offers courses leading to a master of arts degree online.

In addition to offering degree-oriented courses with its renowned faculty, The Davidson School also implements professional-development programs for educators in the field, and develops curriculum materials that are used in Jewish schools in a variety of settings. 

Our Philosophy

The William Davidson School is informed by a vision of the Jewish educator that unites five distinct strands:

  • The Educator as Learner: Those wishing to become Jewish educators can build a strong foundation in Judaica at The Davidson School. We hope that this experience will ensure the habits of mind that foster lifelong Jewish learning.
  • The Educator as Teacher: The Davidson School prides itself on preparing educators who are knowledgeable in the theory and practice of Jewish education. Our graduates can apply contemporary pedagogy and educational policy to classrooms, camps, adult settings, and community centers.
  • The Educator as Leader: Davidson School students see themselves as equipped to provide educational solutions to the problems besetting American Jewish society, other diasporas, and the State of Israel. Learning for leadership takes place in the classroom, in field placements, and in cocurricular arenas.
  • The Educator as Inquirer: Our master’s level students have the opportunity to improve their research skills in their course work. Qualified candidates can undertake original research under supervision. Doctoral students must complete a minimum of 9 credits in various research methodologies in preparation for writing a dissertation.
  • The Educator as Religiously Literate: Our school accepts Jews of all denominations, as well as those who identify as secular or cultural Jews. However, we expect that all of our graduates will be knowledgeable about Jewish culture and ritual practice. We offer opportunities for personal religious and spiritual growth through tutorials and Lunch and Learns for all students.

JTS is proud of its long tradition of commitment to Jewish texts in their original languages. Since Hebrew is at the core of Jewish culture, we expect a mastery of reading and understanding from all of our students. The degree of mastery differs in the MA program from that of the EdD program, and within the areas of focus of the MA level. For example, students hoping to enter the field of day school teaching will require different Hebrew preparation from that of their peers entering the Educational Leadership in Synagogues and Communal Settings area of focus.