- Alan Abrams
Interests: Chaplaincy education
Alan Abrams, a rabbi specializing in chaplaincy and clergy education and a Jim Joseph Fellow at NYU, believes that leadership and the ability to provide compassionate caring to people in crisis are not qualities one is born with – they are things that can be learned and can be taught. His research interests involve increasing our understanding of how the development of empathetic skills and of spiritual leadership can be fostered through educational processes, as well as our understanding of how practitioners with those skills can influence Jewish identity among those they care for in key lifecycle moments -- in birth, death, illness and marriage. He currently serves as a chaplaincy supervisor/educator in Reading, PA, and has taught techniques in Israel for composing spontaneous prayer and gave a workshop on "Working the Midrashic Muscle" at the National Association of Jewish Chaplain’s annual conference in January of 2010. Alan has taught rabbinics at the Gann Academy/New Jewish High School in Boston. He holds Masters Degrees both in Talmud and in Public Policy. Alan loves to cook and is passionate about the bicycle as a means of alternative transportation that can help us be kinder to our planet.
- Mijal Bitton
Program: Education and Jewish Studies
Research Interests: Sephardim in the United States, Religious Education, Community education, the intersectionality of ethnicity and religion in the United States
Principal Advisor(s): Harold Wechsler, Lisa Stulberg, Steven M. Cohen, Nissim Leon
Dissertation Title: “Syrian Jews in America: In Search for Community”
Research Description: Mijal Bitton is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Education and Jewish Studies program. Her dissertation “Syrian Jews in America: In Search of Community” examines the mechanisms for the maintenance of religion and ethnicity in a Sephardic immigrant community. Mijal’s study aims to bring to light insights from a long understudied population to complicate and enrich normative understandings of education, ethnicity, religion, and identity in the sociology of immigrant communities in America. Ultimately, her project argues against normative notions of western religion and ethnicity that render many immigrant communities both marginal and unintelligible in academic scholarship. Using qualitative methods Mijal seeks to describe a Jewish-American-Syrian social group and its efforts towards self-perpetuation while paying careful attention to its complex genealogies.
Before beginning her doctoral studies, Mijal graduated summa cum laude from Yeshiva University. She received an Avichai Fellowship and a Wexner Graduate Fellowship for her doctoral studies. Mijal works as a Doctoral Fellow and Faculty at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America.
- Eli Ciner
Interests: Learning theories, adolescent development, history of Jewish education
Eli Ciner is currently the Associate Principal of The Frisch School, a Modern Orthodox high school with a student population of 600. In this role, Eli helps students blend the religious, intellectual and social goals of The Frisch School in an atmosphere of mutual respect, intellectual integrity, and religious excitement. His past work includes founding leadership training programs in New York, Australia and Israel. The seminars provided a forum for adolescents to think about and discuss the political, intellectual and communal issues facing the Jewish community.
Eli is pursuing a Ph.D. in Education and Jewish Studies at New York University. His area of interest focuses on understanding modern educational theories as reflected in medieval rabbinic literature. He received his Semikha from Yeshiva University and also holds degrees in Psychology (B.A.) and Education (M.A.) from Yeshiva University. Prior to attending Yeshiva University, Eli spent two years studying at Yeshvat Sha'alavim in Israel. He and his wife live in Riverdale with their daughters.
- Michael Emerson
Program: Education and Jewish Studies
Research Interests: religious education, Jewish education
Principal Advisor(s): Robert Chazan
Dissertation Title: TBD
Research Description/Bio: Michael Emerson is a fifth year doctoral student in the Education and Jewish Studies program. He is researching the religious beliefs of Modern Orthodox Jewish high school educators. He is particularly focused on the ways in which teachers navigate the space between their personal beliefs and their professional roles as religious educators.
Michael is a graduate of Columbia University (’09) and completed his rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University’s RIETS in 2014. He is an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship. Currently, he is in his fourth year teaching at SAR High School, an Orthodox day school in Riverdale, NY. Michael has also been an educator at Drisha and the Wexner Service Corps. He has worked as a consultant for the iCenter, a Chicago based non-profit organization focused on improving Israel education in America, and as a research assistant for Eran Tamir of Brandeis University, analyzing the working conditions and induction practices of new teachers in urban public, Catholic, and Jewish day schools.
Michael lives in Forest Hills, Queens with his wife Adina Bitton and their daughter.
- Jeni Friedman
Interests: Adult education, professional development, clergy education
Rabbi Jeni Friedman is a doctoral student in Education and Jewish Studies at NYU where she is a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar and a Jim Joseph Fellow. Jeni works with the LOMED project at the Jewish Education Project where she consults on Congregational Education for synagogues in the New York area. For the past five years Jeni was a rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom, Roslyn Heights, NY. She chairs the Advisory Board to the Nahum Goldmann Fellowship for the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. Jeni holds a B.A. in Jewish Studies (Rabbinic Literature) and English Literature (Creative Writing) from the American Jewish University and Rabbinic Ordination and an M.A. in Midrash from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. She currently resides in Brooklyn.
- David Galpert
Program: Education and Jewish Studies
Research Interests: education, leadership, innovation, history
Research Topic: Roles and Expectations of Educational Leaders in Modern Orthodox Jewish High Schools
Bio: David Galpert is pursuing a Ph.D. in Education and Jewish Studies at New York University as an AVI CHAI Fellow. Previously he pursued a dual master’s degree in Education and Jewish Studies and Hebrew and Judaic Studies at NYU as a Jim Joseph Fellow. He received his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude through the History Honors Program at NYU’s College of Arts and Science, where he also minored in Public Policy & Management, General Education, and Hebrew & Judaic Studies. Prior to attending NYU, he spent a year studying advanced Judaic texts in Israel at Yeshivat Eretz Hatzvi. David has diverse interests in history, education, technology, social media, innovation, and leadership. He wrote his undergraduate history honors thesis on the reactions of the Jews to the First Crusade in the Rhineland. David is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Alpha Theta honor societies.
David is currently the Assistant Administrator of Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School, a Modern Orthodox high school in Brooklyn, NY. In this role he is responsible for overseeing building operations for the high school, which includes facilities management, security, and a major renovation project. David also coordinates school-wide exams, including finals, Advance Placement, and College Board related exams. He also works on teacher and student schedules and programs in conjunction with the principal. In addition, David coordinates senior grade events, programs, and activities; organizes the annual open house for eighth grade students and their parents, is the social media manager, and teaches courses on leadership and Jewish ethics.
In the past, David served as the project coordinator of Sweat Equity Education, where he was responsible for overseeing the progress of their workforce development program; creating technological platforms that distributed curriculum; and producing promotional materials. David was also the project coordinator at Tiferet Academy where he oversaw the process of starting a new innovative elementary school. In that role he managed the legal status, financial planning, staffing, curriculum development, student recruitment, communications, and other areas within the school.
David is pursuing a career in the field of Jewish education as an educational leader and education reformer so as to improve the teaching and learning within schools in order to enhance students’ futures and help them become enthusiastic learners, analytical thinkers, problem solvers, and ultimately, successful leaders in their communities and industries.
- Adam Gaynor
Program: Education and Jewish Studies
Research Interests: Jewish multicultural and feminist education; experiential teen education; philanthropy and educational policy
Principal Advisor(s): Harold Wechsler
Research Description/Bio: Adam Gaynor is a founding partner of Plan A Advisors, a management consulting firm for nonprofit institutions. He advises a wide range of educational, cultural and human service organizations, agencies and philanthropies on their strategic direction. Adam works closely with clients on strategic and business plans, campaigns and fundraising strategy, board composition and function, and strategic partnerships and mergers. Adam was previously Executive Director of The Curriculum Initiative, a national Jewish program that worked with over 240 secular and Christian independent schools in the United States and Canada. He has also worked in colleges and universities, New York City public schools, and agencies such as the Educational Alliance and the Department of Education at the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem. Adam earned a BA in Women’s Studies from Bates College, an MS in Social Work from Columbia University, and an MA in Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He holds voluntary leadership roles on the Alumni Council of the Becket-Chimney Corners YMCA and the Education Committee of Congregation Beth Elohim.
Adam’s research explores the history of the Jewish service learning movement as a lens through which to examine the complex relationship between community policy, philanthropy, and educational programs.
Selected Publications and Presentations:(2011). Beyond the melting pot: Finding a voice for Jewish identity in multicultural American schools. Journal of Jewish Communal Service, 86(1/2), 174-183.
(2009). Militant masculinity and Jewish women’s peace activism in Israel. In L. Dresdner and L. S. Peterson (Eds.), (Re) Interpretations: The shapes of justice in women’s experience (209-228). Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Read more about Adam here.
- Shira Hammerman
Interests: Teacher community, school community, professional development
Shira is completing her dissertation on how teachers in an Orthodox Jewish day school express and experience community. Her study engages a diverse group of teachers in conversations about community within their school, their classrooms, and their lives in order to better understand the nature of Jewish community in today’s world. Shira works as a curriculum writer and teacher trainer for the Melton Center at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is currently working on a congregational school curriculum that uses technology, the arts, family education, and experiential education to teach third grade students about Jewish holidays, values, texts, and prayers. Shira’s experiences in formal and informal Jewish education include working at Areyvut, a non-profit organization that creates educational programs related to service learning, philanthropy, and community service; teaching in congregational school, day school, and camp settings; supporting teachers; developing curriculum and educational programs; and researching educational initiatives. She earned a dual undergraduate degree in Political Science and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and completed an MS in Elementary Education from the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Shira is an alumna of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship/Davidson Scholarship Program for graduate students and a recipient of the Maxine Fischer Scholarship. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and four children.
- Talia Hurwich
Talia Hurwich is thrilled to be starting her first year as a doctoral student. Talia studied Fundamentals: Issues and Texts and Religious Studies at the University of Chicago, where she graduated with honors and, as a squad captain on the fencing team, taught and coached novice fencers. Talia has since taught middle school students both as a head Hebrew teacher at the Rodeph Sholom School in Manhattan and in writing summer courses such as "Heroes and Villains" and "Writing and Imagination" with Johns Hopkins University's Center for Talented Youth. Talia has also helped publish Bereishit and Shemot supplementary curricula with the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, and has appeared on several professional panels exploring the myriad of uses for Graphic Novels in the classroom.
- Naomi Kalish
Interests: Professional education and training, multiculturalism
Naomi Kalish is a doctoral student at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development and a Steinhardt Fellow. She works as the Coordinator of Pastoral Care and Education at New York Presbyterian's Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. In addition to providing direct pastoral care, Naomi teaches Clinical Pastoral Education, a nationally accredited program of study, to seminary students, clergy, and lay leaders. She has taught students from a wide spectrum of Jewish and Christian affiliations and she serves as an Instructor of Pastoral Counseling at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. Naomi is a board certified Jewish Chaplain through the National Association of Jewish Chaplains and a board certified chaplaincy supervisor through the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. In 2006 she received the Lennart Cedarleaf Award for an Outstanding Theology Paper. Naomi received her undergraduate degree from Tufts University in American and Jewish Studies, and her rabbinic ordination and a Masters Degree in Jewish Philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is married to Rabbi Robert Scheinberg, a congregational rabbi, and they have three daughters. Naomi's research interests include the professional training of clergy, the history of pastoral counseling education, the interdisciplinary hospital team, and multicultural competency.
- Navah Kogen
- Joshua Krug
Interests: Modern Jewish Thought, Jewish Ethics, Jewish History, Legal Theory, Philosophy of Education
Josh Krug is a Steinhardt Fellow in Education and Jewish Studies at NYU.
Josh earned a B.A. with Honors from Yale and an MDiv from Harvard. He is an inspired educator, facilitator, and innovator whose work testifies to how traditional and contemporary Jewish sources can animate and inform the lives of diverse young adults. Josh has collaborated with Genesis Philanthropy Group, KIVUNIM: New Directions, Prozdor, Harvard Divinity School, Moishe House, and Kevah: Making Space for Jewish Learning.
Josh lives in NYC, where he reads and writes, practices yoga, dances, sings, and facilitates intense conversations (sometimes, all at once!)
- Arielle Levites
Interests: Spirituality, the intersection of psychology and religion in contemporary American life, the anthropology of affect, critical and feminist theories of religion, religious publishing, Jewish families
Arielle Levites is a doctoral candidate at NYU where she is a Jim Joseph Fellow. Her dissertation research is supported by an award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Arielle holds a BA from Brown University in Religious Studies and an MS Ed from the University of Pennsylvania in Religious Education. She is an alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship and a recipient of the Emerging Scholar Award from the Network for Research in Jewish Education.
Arielle’s dissertation project, an ethnographic study utilizing participant-observation, interview, and social network analysis, asks how contemporary American beliefs about spirituality and the desire for it have shaped attitudes towards and expectations of the purpose and practice of Jewish education. Her research interests include: spirituality, religious emotion, the intersection of psychology and religion in contemporary American life, religious publishing, and Jewish families.
Arielle has held a number of leadership and applied research positions in Jewish education, including: Director of Publicity and Public Programming for the Jewish Publication Society; Director of Education for Re/Presenting the Jewish Past; and Senior Research Associate for Rosov Consulting. She is currently a research team member along with Drs. Mark Rosen, Steven M. Cohen, and Ezra Kopelowitz on a mixed-methods study designed to understand the impact of Chabad-Lubavitch outreach efforts on the lives of young American Jewish adults.
- Benjamin Lewis
Interests: Homeschooling, Parental Motivations on Education, Alternative Educational Models
Ben is a seasoned Jewish educator with experience in both formal and informal environments. He currently serves as President of Concierge Jewish Education, a consulting group committed to a tailored approach toward Jewish education. Ben holds a B.A. in Political Science and Jewish Studies from Indiana University as well as an M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision from Loyola University Chicago. Currently, Ben is a Ph.D. candidate in Education and Jewish Studies at New York University where he is a Jim Joseph Foundation Fellow. His candidacy paper, completed in February 2014 is entitled, “And You Shall Teach Your Children: On Jewish Homeschooling.”
Ben lives with his wife Meredith and their two sons in Rockland County, NY.
- Daniel Loewenstein
Interests: Character education, identity formation, teacher training
Hailing from Woodmere, New York, Daniel Loewenstein is a graduate of Yeshiva College and the Azrieli Graduate School of Education in New York and of the rabbinical school of Hebrew Theological College in Chicago. He has also spent time studying in Yeshivat Kerem be-Yavneh in Israel. Daniel has taught in a variety of settings, most recently teaching Hebrew language, English and creative writing at the Fasman Yeshiva High School in Chicago. Much of Daniel's graduate work thus far has focused on applying research in character education to Jewish contexts, and his informal teaching has consistently focused on demonstrating the relevance of Judaism to his students' lives.
Daniel joins the doctoral program in Education and Jewish Studies as an AVI CHAI fellow in the hopes of improving the net benefits of receiving a Jewish education. He plans to conduct research on best practices by working closely with Jewish day schools, both during his career at NYU and after, as a day school faculty member and perhaps eventually as a part of a larger educational organization. Daniel hopes to develop concrete methods for improving the effectiveness of Jewish day schools at achieving core affective educational goals, such as the promotion of good character and meaningful religious identity. He plans on starting programs geared toward training teachers, administrators and community leaders in how to effectively implement such methods through policy making, curriculum development, school-community relationship-building, and professional development.
- Gad Marcus
Interests: Jewish philosophy, philosophy of education, teaching history, special education
Program: Education & Jewish Studies / Philosophy of Education
Research Interests: Education & Jewish Studies, Jewish Thought, Philosophy, Philosophy of
Principal Advisor(s): René Arcilla, Moshe Halbertal, Harold Wechsler
Dissertation Title: “The Art of Study”
Research Description: Based on Jewish texts the research by Gad Marcus aims to examine and describe the concept of Torah Lishmah. This Talmudic concept of a mode to study, usually being translated into ‘study for its own sake’ not only has a religious meaning to it but also bears some deep pedagogical value. Furthermore, several intriguing concepts that emerge from said inquiry are then brought into conversation with modern philosophers. By pointing towards similarities and parallels between modern philosophy and Jewish thought by means of Jewish education, his work aims to become a platform for further dialogue within the fields of Jewish Thought, Philosophy, Philosophy of Education and Jewish Philosophy of Education.
Gad is a Steinhardt Fellow in Education and Jewish Studies at NYU. Born in England, he grew up in Switzerland and moved to Israel after High School. An officer in the I.D.F. he holds a B.Ed. from the David Yellin College for Education in Jerusalem, an M.A. magna cum laude in Jewish Philosophy from Tel-Aviv University and was a 'Melamdim' fellow at the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. He has been teaching history, special education, and Jewish studies at different high schools in Israel and the United States and has also been working as a gallerist. As a scuba diving instructor, Gad has also taught diving at various places around the world.
‘Being in the Gap between Past and Future: Hanna Arendt and Torah Lishmah’ (2016): Philosophy of Education Society Year Book.
Gadi’s Nahost-Konflikt’ (2004): TV Documentary (52min); in collaboration with Georg Häsler. Translated into English (‘Gadi’s Dilemma: The Story of an Israeli Officer’) and French (‘Le dilemma de Gadi’). Co produced by SF/ARTE, Point de Vue, Basel.
- Daniel Olson
Program: Education and Jewish Studies
Research Interests: Disability and Jewish Education, Curriculum Studies, Summer Camping
Principal Advisor(s): Bethamie Horowitz, Harold Wechsler
Research Description: Daniel Olson is a second-year doctoral student in the Education and Jewish Studies program. He plans to write a dissertation about different attitudes surrounding Inclusion in the Jewish community, mostly centered on Disability, but around other axes of difference as well. Daniel has also done qualitative work on vocational training programs for young adults with disabilities at Jewish summer camps.
Before beginning his doctoral studies, Daniel graduated from Yale University with distinction with a degree in Environmental Studies. He then worked as a full-time congregational educator at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn and as the unit head for the vocational training program at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. Daniel is a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar.
“It’s Off to Work We Go: Vocational Training at Jewish Summer Camps” presented at the Network for Research in Jewish Education Conference and the World Congress for Special Needs Education.
- Sarah Ossey
Interests: Moral education, experiential education, cultural foundations of educationSarah Ossey is a doctoral student in Education and Jewish Studies at NYU, where she is a Steinhardt Fellow and a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar. Originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, she holds an MA in Jewish Education from the William Davidson School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary and a BA from Brandeis University in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Spanish Language and Literature, as well as minors in Women and Gender Studies; and Hebrew Language and Literature. She worked as the Special Projects Director for Camp Ramah Darom and has focused much of her work on experiential Jewish education, particularly on Jewish camping. Recently, she has worked as a program associate at the National Ramah Commission. She serves a a graduate student representative to the executive committee of the Network for Research in Jewish Education. She is interested in the nexus between moral and experiential education. She currently resides in Manhattan with her husband.
- Lisa Samick
Interests: Early childhood education
Lisa Samick is currently the Director of Early Childhood Education at the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue. She has worked as a classroom teacher - in both Jewish and secular settings and later did extensive work in curriculum development, particularly in the area of informal Zionist education. Lisa also worked for several years at Park Avenue Synagogue as the Director of their High School and later as the Director of their day camp. She currently serves on the advisory board for Shalom Sesame and holds an executive board position in the Jewish Early Childhood Association.
Lisa is a PhD student in the department of Teaching and Learning. Her research is focusing on the processes of cultural transmission in Jewish early childhood classrooms and its effects on the family. She is also teaching in the department in the Masters' program.
Lisa lives in NYC with her daughter, Jenna.
- Yona Shem-Tov
Interests: History education in Jewish schools, facilitating interfaith ties between North American Jewish and Muslim communities
Yona Shem-Tov is the Executive Director of Encounter, an educational organization training Jewish leadership to help resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to heal internal Jewish rifts formed in its wake. Yona began her career as a Jewish history teacher at The Tannenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto, the largest Jewish high school in North America and pursued doctoral work at NYU as a Wexner Graduate Fellow, where her research focused on the teaching of citizenship and history education in both Jewish and Muslim-American schools. In addition to helping envision and launch The Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship, a transnational network of Jewish and Muslim social entrepreneurs, Yona helped create and serve as the Associate Director of Re/Presenting the Jewish Past, a network of Jewish history educators from across Canada and the USA. She has worked and consulted for a broad range of American Jewish organizations, including American Jewish World Service, Mayan, Matan, RAVSAK: The Jewish Community Day School Network and Abraham’s Vision, where she taught at both the AJ Heschel School and the Al-Iman School in Queens, NY.
- Sara Smith
Program: Education and Jewish Studies
Research Interests: American Jewish educational history, curriculum development, Hebrew language evaluation
Principal Advisor(s): Harold Wechsler
Dissertation Title: Shul with a School: A history of non-Orthodox Jewish day schools in Los Angeles
Research Description/Bio: Sara Smith is a third-year doctoral candidate in Education and Jewish Studies. Her dissertation topic came about from an interest in the education of minority groups in America coupled with her longstanding interest in American Jewish history. This dissertation focuses on the development of specifically synagogue-sponsored Jewish day schools in Los Angeles, whose growth was heavily influenced by the implementation of court-ordered busing in Los Angeles. Thus, Sara engages with both American Jewish educational history and the history of public education in Los Angeles.
Before beginning her doctoral studies, Sara graduated summa cum laude with high honors from Brandeis University, where she studied both history and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, receiving Phi Beta Kappa as well. She also holds an M.A.T from Brandeis in Bible education. Sara worked as a middle school and high school Bible teacher in Los Angeles in Jewish day schools. Sara is a Wexner Graduate Fellow/ Davidson Scholar.
Selected Publications and Presentations:
“The Imahot in the Amidah: A History,” published in Contemporary Jewry, 2013.
- Daniel Smokler
Interests: Philosophy of education, liberal learning, Covenantal theology, emerging adulthood
Rabbi Daniel Smokler is the Senior Jewish Educator at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU.
Dan grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan and attended Yale University where he graduated cum laude with a B.A. in the History of Art. Before entering the world of Jewish education, Dan worked as a labor union organizer in Connecticut and Los Angeles. In 2006, Dan was ordained by Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg in Jerusalem.
Since then, Dan has worked for Hillel, where he founded the Senior Jewish Educators Initiative, which places talented educators on college campuses to explore the moral questions of emerging adulthood with college students through the lens of the Jewish tradition. Funded by a major grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation, the Senior Educators program has been at the forefront of Hillel’s educational transformation.
In 2011, the Jewish Week named Dan one of the "36 under 36" changemakers in Jewish life. Dan is currently pursuing a PhD in Education and Jewish studies at NYU as a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar and a Steinhardt Fellow, while he is also continuing his work at the Bronfman Center. Dan completed his PhD candidacy paper in March 2013. He lives in New York with his wife Erin Leib Smokler, a PhD candidate at the University of Chicago, and their son Shalev.
- Eszter Susán
Interests: Digital media and learning, Non-formal education, Experiential education, Education management, Adult education
Eszter Susán is a doctoral student in Education and Jewish Studies at NYU and a Steinhardt Fellow. She studied Aesthetics and German Literature at the ELTE University in Budapest, and spent three years in Berlin researching Holocaust education, and artistic representations of the Holocaust. After returning to Budapest she was a key figure in creating Sirály, the alternative JCC in the heart of the Jewish district. She worked for the JDC as a Community Projects Development Coordinator, and is a founder of MAROM Europe and served as its director in 2009 and 2011. She established the Budapest Moishe House in 2009 where she was a resident until 2011. Eszter is founder and board member at Dor Chadash, a young egalitarian minyen in Budapest and a founding member of MAROM Hungary (www.marom.hu), which she has been active in for the past ten years. In 2010 Eszter became the academic assistant at the Center for Central European German-Jewish Culture at ELTE University.
Eszter has a great passion for the old Jewish quarter of Budapest. In 2009 she was the program organizer of MAROM ‘s Quarter6Quarter7 Festival which supports the preservation and revival of the Budapest Jewish Quarter (www.quarter6quarter7.com). As part of the festival in 2012 Eszter produced staged readings of three theatre plays written by American playwritgh Sarah Gancher reflecting on Budapest Jewish quarter and being Jewish today in Hungary. In 2013 Eszter launched the Time Traveler Project, the development of a unique, interactive e-learning 2.0 program about the old Jewish quarter of Budapest, in co-operation with high-schools, university departments and NGOs.
- Abigail Uhrman
Interests: Special needs, learning disabilities
Abigail Uhrman is an advanced doctoral student in Education and Jewish Studies at New York University, where she is a Steinhardt Fellow. Abigail graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Los Angeles with a major in history and a minor in education studies. Following graduation, she spent two years as a fellow at the Drisha Institute of Jewish Education. Abigail then worked as a fifth grade teacher at the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan and, later, a literacy coach and new teacher mentor. Upon completing her coursework, Abigail worked at the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life and was adjunct faculty at NYU. Beginning this year, Abigail will begin as a research fellow at the Davidson School at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Abigail lives In New York with her husband and daughter.
- Iscah Waldman
Interests: Teaching religious texts
Rabbi Iscah Waldman came to NYU’s doctoral program in Education and Jewish Studies as a Steinhardt Fellow to examine how the study of visual culture parallels the teaching of rabbinic texts, and plans to research how midrash is currently accessed by rabbis and teachers in today's Jewish world. She has taught in a large variety of Jewish educational settings, and has spent the past 8 years as a teacher of Talmud and rabbinic literature at the Solomon Schechter High School of Long Island. She also teaching courses in Jewish law to Cantorial and Rabbinical Students at the Academy for Jewish Religion.
In addition to her love of rabbinic literature, Iscah is involved in her own artistic pursuits including cartooning and woodworking. Iscah holds a BA degree from Columbia University in Ancient studies, and a BA, MA and rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. She lives with her husband, Matt Agin and children, Tani and Shaya, in New Jersey.
- Simcha Willig
Program: Education and Jewish Studies
Research Interests: Moral and Religious Philosophy, Individualized Education, History of Yehiva, Informal Jewish Education.
Principal Advisors: Dr. Robert Chazan, Dr. James Fraser.
Dissertation Title: “The Greatness of Humanity: Rabbi Nathan Tzvi Finkel’s psycho-religious educational philosophy.”
Research Description/Bio: Rabbi Simcha Willig is a doctoral candidate in the Education and Jewish Studies program. His dissertation “The Greatness of Humanity: Rabbi Nathan Tzvi Finkel’s psycho-religious educational philosophy” examines the background, content, and impact of a revolutionary late nineteenth-century Lithuanian rabbi’s discourses. The educational powerhouse established by Rabbi Finkel in Slabodka, and his unique approach to psycho-religious education, changed the course of global Jewish Education in the twentieth century.
Simcha has been a formal and informal educator in Jewish schools, youth groups, and summer camps throughout North America, Israel, and South Africa. From 2008-2015 Simcha was a member of the rabbinic team at Young Israel of Scarsdale and from 2010-2104 he was a Jewish Student Union educator/advisor in Westchester's public high schools. Simcha holds an MA in Jewish Education from the Azrieli School and Rabbinic Ordination from Yeshiva University. He previously studied at various yeshivas, including Ner Israel, Kerem B'Yavneh and Jerusalem’s Mir Yeshiva.
Since 2012 Simcha has been a member of the faculty at Yeshiva University, teaching undergraduate courses in Biblical Themes and Jewish Ethics. He also teaches Talmud and Bible at Westchester Hebrew High School. Simcha is a Wexner Fellow/Davidson Scholar and Jim Joseph Fellow. Simcha enjoys bowling and he plays tennis, basketball, and the guitar.
Selected Publications and Presentations:
“Zero or Hero?: Exploring Judaism’s self-concept and the Mussar movement” Portland ‘16
“Revival: Recreation, and Responsibility: The Yeshiva as an Institution (1803-2003)” New York ‘13
“The Most Important Thing Is...: A meta-analysis of the search to identify the most important Jewish principle” Columbus ‘12
- Amanda Winer
Interests: Designing Media for Digital Learning, Philosophy of Education, Psychometrics, Experience-Based Education
Amanda Winer is thrilled to be starting her second year at NYU in the Education and Jewish Studies program. She is a Graduate Fellow at the UJA-Federation of New York, Youth Advisor at East End Temple, and Student-Teacher Coordinator at OnlineJewishLearning.com. She is a digital media enthusiast, designing video games and other online tools to assess the needs of and provide resources to educational institutions. She is an alumna of Challah for Hunger, and continues to contribute by coordinating the Alumni Giving and Chapter Advisor teams.
Prior to graduate school, Amanda spent two rewarding years in the prestigious Education Fellowship at the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL), generating and leading innovative religious school programs to communities in the south eastern United States. Amanda is from Westborough, MA and is a graduate of Binghamton University, with a triple major in History, Judaic Studies, and Classical Civilization. She received an Exemplary Student Award, and served as President of the Class of 2012, a Faculty-Student Scholar, a campus tour guide, and a tutor and marketing intern at the Writing Center.