Opening Doors

The NRJE Podcast: Insights, Ideas and Interventions in Jewish Education

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Episodes will be released each Monday and Thursday during the weeks of the Conference.  Stay Tuned!

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Ruth Calderon is the Founder ‘Alma’ home for Hebrew culture, Tel Aviv.
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Episode #1

How is the study of sacred text possible for secular people?

What (if anything) makes sacred texts sacred for secular people?  How do Israeli and American contexts differ in regards ongoing practices of Jewish learning? How do Israeli and American audiences differ, in regards  to interactions with “the secular”? Finally, are texts like parents and, if so, how so? 

Jon A. Levisohn is the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Associate Professor of Jewish Educational Thought at Brandeis University.

Episode #2

How do people learn about Israel?

What is the space between education and propaganda? How do elders, educators and five-year-olds learn about Israel? What does it mean that Israel education is multidisciplinary- literary, topographical, historical, religious and more? Can models of learning about Israel pioneered in the diaspora influence learning about Israel by local Israelis? 

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Dr. Rachel Korazim is a Jewish education consultant specializing in teaching Israel through poetry

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Sivan Zakai is the Sara S. Lee associate professor of Jewish education at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. 
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Sara Wolkenfeld is the Chief Learning Officer at Sefaria, a database and interface for Jewish texts that is committed to building the future of Torah in the digital age. 
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Ziva Hassenfeld is the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Professor of Jewish Education at Brandeis University

Episode #3

What is the status of text and literacy in a digital age?

In 2022, as we gradually emerge out of a pandemic, are people interacting with Jewish text in new ways, on and offline? How are notions of canon shifting in light of longstanding Jewish tradition and migrations to digital spaces? How do people argue that texts are essential for Jewish life and who cares about these arguments?

Episode #4

How do institutions shape the delivery of Jewish education?

What are institutions? How do individual Jewish activists navigate institutions within history? What kinds of activists through what kinds of institutions do what kinds of work within the Jewish world, historically and today? 

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Rabbi Mira Rivera serves Romemu as Rabbi/Board Certified Chaplain in New York City after being their second Jewish Emergent Network rabbinic fellow. At Ammud: Jews of Color Torah Academy, she teaches, mentors and provides spiritual guidance to JOCs and allies in the US and beyond.
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Jonathan Krasner is the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Associate Professor of Jewish Education Research at Brandeis University
Ziva Hassenfeld is the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Professor of Jewish Education at Brandeis University
Ziva Hassenfeld is the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Professor of Jewish Education at Brandeis University
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Marcella Kanfer Rolnick is Executive Chair of GOJO. She founded and guides Walnut Ridge, a family office that supports the business, investment, philanthropic, and multi-generational family goals of the Kanfer family. Marcella is a director of Lippman Kanfer Family Foundation.
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Lila Corwin Berman is Professor of History at Temple University, where she holds the Murray Friedman Chair of American Jewish History and directs the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History. 

Episode #5

What is the relationship between kemach and torah?

Pirkei Avot 3:17 states that, “Without kemach (flour), there is no Torah, and without Torah, there is no flour.” How do we understand this relationship? In what ways do Jewish institutions rely on philanthropy? What are appropriate models for philanthropy in Jewish life today? Does the particular history of philanthropy in American Jewish life inform the Jewish situation of today? 

Episode #6

How can Jewish education be more creative?

What is creativity? What does and doesn’t it mean for Jewish education to be creative, as such? What is gained (and lost) in Jewish education’s creative-ness? Who cares and who should care about Jewish creative education? 

Kendell Pinkney is a Brooklyn based theatre-artist, creative producer, rabbi, and founder of The Workshop - North America’s premier fellowship centering the work of professional JOCISM (Jews of Color, Jewish-Indigenous [i.e. indigenous peoples of the Americas], Sephardi & Mizrahi) artists & culture-makers.
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Dr. Miriam Heller Stern is Vice Provost for Educational Strategy, National Director of the School of Education and Associate Professor at HUC-JIR, based at the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at HUC-JIR's Skirball Campus in Los Angeles. 
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Dr. Laurence Kotler-Berkowitz is Director of Survey Research at Rosov Consulting, a research and evaluation firm working exclusively in the Jewish communal sector.  
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Dr. Gage Gorsky is a queer mixed Mexican Jewish multimodal research advisor, data analyst, and program evaluator who uses a range of methodologies to explore intersections of identity and the phenomenon of social categorization, with a focus on the liminal and marginal embodied experiences of real people in the contexts in which they live and work. 

Episode #7

How should we think about counting Jews and Jews counting?

Do all Jews count and how would we know? That is, how should we make choices about the research we do and how should we aspire to illuminate phenomena concerning Jewish people today? How do one’s positions, methodologies and audiences influence how one approaches such questions? What might practically and methodologically inclusive research models look like, such that richer data and truer stories can come to light?

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Episode #8

What are the kinds of issues that inquiry on Jewish education can and cannot address?

What are the methodologies we need? What are the advantages and limits of Jewish educational research, as currently practiced? What is a network and what can a network do to support the work of a research-and-practice community in Jewish education?  

Miriam Raider-Roth is a professor of Educational Studies with a specialization in Educational & Community-Based Action Research at the University of Cincinnati, the Director of the UC Action Research Center and the Director of the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute (MTEI). 
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Dr. Bethamie Horowitz is Research Director of the Mapping Jewish Chaplaincy project. A sociopsychologist by training, she has been an astute analyst of the American Jewish community, identity dynamics, and Jewish education for the past three decades, from a variety of different institutional vantage points. 
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Rabbi Ed Harwitz is the Head of The Weber School in Atlanta, GA and has taught and held a variety of leadership positions in Jewish high schools and organizations.
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Dr. Daniel R. Weiss is the Head of School at Bornblum Jewish Day School in Memphis, TN and has 23 years of experience working in Jewish Day Schools, with 18 in a leadership capacity.

Episode #9

What are challenges and possibilities of Day School leadership today?

What characterizes the role of headship of Jewish day schools? What do heads of Jewish day schools do and what opportunities and challenges do they face? How can medieval Jewish texts and contemporary educational theory inform the ongoing work of headship? What is the space between Jewish educational leadership, on the one hand and scholarship, on the other?

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