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October 6, 2015 | 23rd Tishrei 5776

Joint Education Symposium 2009 Schedule, Featured Scholars and Workshops


Our Symposium program is in its final stages of development. The program will begin on Monday, November 2 at 7:00 PM and conclude on Wednesday, November 4 at 12:30 PM.


Monday, November 2, 2009

4:00     Registration opens

7:00     Welcome & Opening

7:15     Jewish Identity: The Story – Dr. Michael Zeldin

8:30     The New Normal: Multiple Selves and Jewish Identity – Dr. Bethamie Horowitz


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

            Breakfast on your own

8:00     Shacharit and Text Study - Rabbi Jan Katzew

9:10     A Field Guide to Jewish Identity in the Next Generation – Dr. Ari Y. Kelman

10:40   Break

11:00   iDENTITY:  A panel about Technology and Jewish Identity – Dr. David Bryfman, Scott Hertz, Dr. Dan Mendelsohn Aviv facilitated by Rabbi Karen Thomashow

12:15   Lunch

1:45     Dialogue on Jewish Identity with Dr. Ari Y. Kelman and Dr. Bethamie Horowitz, facilitated by Dr. Michael Zeldin

2:45     Break

3:00     Workshop Block 1

4:30     Workshop Block 2      

6:00     Dinner on own

8:30     Evening Programs:

                        “The Tribe” - Rabbi Jonathan Blake

                        Jewish Identity through Music - Cantor Brad Hyman                


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

            Breakfast on own

8:30     Shacharit

9:15     Open Space Program

10:30   Coffee Break

11:00   Closing Remarks – Dr. Michael Zeldin

11:30   Wrap up and Evaluation – Rabbi Jan Katzew


Featured Scholars

Our featured scholars bring different perspectives that will challenge our operating assumptions and thereby enrich our understanding of Jewish identity

Dr. Bethamie Horowitz

Socio-psychologist Bethamie Horowitz has studied major issues and problems facing the Jewish people for more than two decades. She has an active research and consulting practice, working with a wide range of audiences: decision-makers, organizational and communal leaders, strategic planners, and the scholarly community. 

She began her professional career studying “images in conflict” in the Middle East.  As research director at New York UJA-Federation in the 1990s she designed and conducted the 1991 NY Jewish Population Study, and subsequently developed the groundbreaking Connections and Journeys

Study documenting patterns of Jewish engagement among baby boomer and younger American Jews.  Her “Trend Spotting” columns about noteworthy developments affecting American Jewry appeared monthly in The Forward from 2003-2007.

She teaches the core doctoral seminar in the Education and Jewish Studies at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.


Dr. Ari Kelman

Ari Y. Kelman is an assistant professor of American Studies at UC Davis, where he also serves on the Jewish Studies Program Committee and the Executive Committee of the Graduate Group in Religious Studies.  He is the author of "Station Identification: A Cultural History of Yiddish Radio in the United States" (UC Press, 2009), and the editor of "Is Dis a System?: A Milt Gross Comic Reader" (NYU Press, 2010).  He is the co-author with Steven M. Cohen on a number of influential studies of contemporary Jewish identity and culture including "The Continuity of Discontinuity," (2007) "Uncoupled," (2008) and "Jewish Cultural Events and Jewish Identity" (2006).  He is the co-author of "Sacred Strategies: Transforming Functional Synagogues into Visionary Congregations" (Alban Institute Press, 2009), a national study of synagogue transformation projects.  He has spoken and taught to audiences across North America, and has published in places as diverse as American Studies, The Journal of Jewish Communal Service, and Guilt and Pleasure.  Currently, Ari is working on a book about Evangelical Christian worship music.  He lives in Berkeley, California.


Dr. Michael Zeldin

Michael Zeldin is Professor of Jewish Education and Director of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education. He is also the Director of DeLeT – Day School Leadership through Teaching, an innovative program to recruit, prepare and retain high quality teachers for Jewish day schools.

Dr. Zeldin is the Senior Editor of the Journal of Jewish Education, the premier research and scholarly journal in Jewish education. He has written widely on the field of Jewish education focusing on Jewish day schools, summer camps, educational change, curriculum and mentoring. His articles have appeared in Journal of Jewish Education, Religious Education, Studies in Jewish Education, CCAR Journal, Journal of Reform Judaism, Jewish Education News, Agenda: Jewish Education, Journal of Jewish Communal Service (co-authored with Bruce Phillips), Private School Monitor, Pedagogic Reporter, and Compass. He has authored chapters in A Place of Our Own: The Rise of Reform Jewish Camping, The Cambridge Companion to American Judaism (co-authored with Isa Aron and Sara Lee), The Jewish Educational Leader's Handbook, The Jewish Principals Handbook, Curriculum, Community, Commitment: Views on the American Jewish Day School in Memory of Bennett J. Solomon, Brit Milah in Reform Perspective, and Jewish Education Worldwide: Cross-Cultural Perspectives. He is also the author of teachers' guides for Behrman House, KTAV and the UAHC Press.

Dr. Zeldin is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of California, Berkeley. He received his M.A. in Hebrew Education from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.


Workshops and Workshop Presenters

We are please to offer a variety of workshops that address some of the salient issues raised in our conversations about Jewish identity.  Our workshop presenters each make valuable contributions to our dialogue and challenge our thinking. Our workshop offerings are:

Workshop Block 1


Lessons from Jewish Adults:  The challenges of constructing Jewish identity in a non-Jewish world
Alena Strauss

This workshop will present findings of Alena’s research into the experience of being Jewish in a non-Jewish world with an examination of the contextual influences on this experience, encounters with everyday prejudice and responses to these encounters.  Participants will reflect on their own experiences and the impact those experiences may have had on their Jewish identity.  We will consider what this dialogue between academic research, personal experience and knowledge of adult Jewish experience through our work can tell us about how to enrich and support the Jewishness of ourselves and our community.


Jewish and…: A Global Jewish Community
Lacey Schwartz

Approximately 20 percent of the Jewish population is racially and ethnically diverse, including African, African American, Latino (Hispanic), Asian, Native American, Sephardic, Mizrahi and mixed-race Jews by heritage, adoption, and marriage. Lacey Schwartz, New York director of Be'chol Lashon and herself a Jew of color, will discuss how to talk about diversity in the Jewish community in educational settings. How do we define “Jewish diversity”? All Jews have different backgrounds, life experiences, and perspectives on their relationship to Judaism that are informed by their geography, socioeconomic class, ideology, culture, skin tone, language, paths to Judaism, and many other factors. Learning more about the diversity of the global Jewish community expands everyone’s Jewish identity and is particularly engaging for younger and unaffiliated Jews who want Judaism to reflect the global community in which they live. We will identify tools that can be used to expand the concept of the global Jewish community.


Israel:  What place does Israel have in Jewish identity?
Ilan Wagner

Israel can be both a catalyst for the strengthening of Jewish identity and at times an impediment. The dynamics by which Israel impacts Jewish identity depends on what is the perceived meaning of Israel as presented in the educational context. By expanding understandings of what Israel is and by developing a more nuanced and inclusive type of educational approach to Israel, educators can minimize the ways in which Israel impedes Jewish identity formation and maximize the ways in which it can serve as a catalyst.


Things We Can Learn About the Future of the Jewish People - From the (Future) of the Jewish People?
Dr. David Bryfman

While it is true that there are aspects of adolescence that have remained constant over time, this workshop will also present some findings that indicate that life for Jewish teenagers today is very different than at any other time in history. Understanding this demographic is not only essential for our understanding of who Jewish teens are today but also because it gives us a strong insight into what the Jewish world may look like in the years to come. Utilizing technology, popular culture and the voices of teens themselves this workshop will open up many discussions that are important for professionals and institutions to continue if they are dedicated to engaging Jewish teens today in meaningful and relevant activities.


Workshop Block 2

Back to School: The impact of Day School on the Jewish identities of parents
Dr. Randal Schnoor   

The greater part of the research literature on schooling focuses on the experiences of students and/or teachers. Based on a book published by Dr. Schnoor with Alex Pomson in 2008, this workshop will examine the ways that Jewish day schools impact on the Jewish identities of the parents of whose children they serve.  Based on a case-study of a pluralistic day school located in downtown Toronto, as a group, participants will discuss the ways that Jewish day schools may serve many of the spiritual, social and intellectual needs satisfied historically by the synagogue as a house of worship, meeting and study. Dr. Schnoor will argue that the outcomes and relationships identified have profound consequences for how to conceive of the role of schools in societies, and more particularly for how to imagine the cultivation of Jewish community in a post-modern context. The Jewish day school may serve as a gateway to engaged Jewish life for adults no less than for children.


Membership Required?:  Blossoming Jewish identity outside of Jewish institutional affiliation
Rachel Gross

This workshop will provide historical and sociological background on the changing role of institutional affiliation since the post-war period, and facilitate a conversation about the evolving relationship between institutional affiliation and Jewish life/identity. How can we build community, cultivate Jewish identity and learning in a "dis-organized" Jewish world? What steps are organizations and communities taking to adapt to this changing landscape?  We will examine the meaning of community "membership" and consider its relationship to Jewish identity and education.


Formal and Informal Learning:  What can we learn from past practices for educating youth into the future?
Dr. David Bryfman

Can school be more like summer camp? Can youth group be a venue for serious learning? These are just some of the questions that educators and learners alike are asking. As the boundaries between formal and informal education are increasingly more blurred than ever, this workshop will explore how both settings can inform another as we strive to achieve the best learning possible for our youth and young adult populations. The session will also look at what is meant by experiential Jewish education as a philosophy and pedagogy of education, as well as provide practical examples, that can help bridge these divides.


Worship, Music, Identity:  What can we learn from Evangelical Christians?
Dr. Ari Y. Kelman

Most Reform synagogues are organized around weekly worship, yet most Reform Jews have a difficult time with creating and sustaining a regular worship practice.  Does this mean that worship, as a primary site of connection to Jewish community and Jewish identity, is often more troublesome than beneficial?  Taking a look at current worship practices among Evangelical Christians will help us reflect on our own worship and its role in fostering spiritual and personal connections for and among Reform Jews.



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