Faculty and Administration - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Daniel Fisher is Assistant Professor of Bible at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a Research Affiliate at the National Humanities Alliance in Washington, DC. At HUC-JIR, Fisher teaches courses in Biblical and Near Eastern languages, literatures, and cultures. He has a special interest in community-engagedhumanities research, teaching, and programming. Prior to joining HUC-JIR/Cincinnati, he served as Postdoctoral Fellow and Project Director at the National Humanities Alliance. In this role, Fisher created and led Humanities for All, an initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to build capacity for public engagement in humanities scholarship across U.S. higher education. Dr. Fisher is currently revising his dissertation, Memories of the Ark: Texts, Objects, and the Construction of the Biblical Past, for publication as a monograph. He is also the editor of Judges for the Hebrew Bible: A Critical Edition, a new international text-critical project from the SBL Press. Dr. Fisher serves on the SBL Working Group on Biblical Studies in Undergraduate Education. He is also a member of the editorial board of Bible Odyssey, SBL’s NEH-funded public portal to the latest research on the people, places, and history of the Bible.


Leah Hochman directs the Louchheim School for Judaic Studies at the University of Southern California and serves as Associate Professor of Jewish Thought at HUC-JIR's Skirball Campus in Los Angeles.

Raised in the Seattle area, she came to Southern California to earn her undergraduate degree at Pitzer College in Claremont before moving east for graduate work. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in religion and literature from Boston University, where she wrote her dissertation on Moses Mendelssohn’s theories of religion and language. Dr. Hochman spent a year in Berlin as a post-doctoral fellow at the Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum and has continued to return to Germany regularly to research and lead classes. Before coming to HUC-JIR/Los Angeles in 2008, she was assistant professor of religion and Jewish studies at the University of Florida and taught in the Great Books program at BU.

At HUC-JIR, she teaches classes in medieval and modern philosophy, American Judaism, modern history, and food ethics. At USC, she teaches classes on contemporary Jewish literature, Jewish identity and the academic study of Judaism.


Rabbi Samuel K. Joseph (Professor of Jewish Education and Leadership Development at HUC-JIR/Cincinnati) has a special interest in how Jewish institutions and organizations, from schools and synagogues to national groups, attain excellence and consults with rabbis, educators, administrators, and communal and lay leaders, supporting the fulfillment of their mission. He works with international Jewish communities in Germany, China, Australia, and Hong Kong, where he founded the Progressive congregation.


Rabbi Jan Katzew, Ph.D., RJE, Director of Service Learning at HUC-JIR in Cincinnati is responsible for developing a curriculum for rabbinical students that will expand the classroom to the Cincinnati Jewish community. Rabbi Katzew also serves as the Senior Educator for the Executive MA program. Prior to joining HUC-JIR, Rabbi Katzew served as the Director of Lifelong Learning for the Union for Reform Judaism from 1997-2012. He directed the Department of Adolescent Education at the Community Foundation for Jewish Education of Metropolitan Chicago. Rabbi Katzew has served as a scholar-in-residence at congregations and central agencies for Jewish education throughout North America. A graduate of Wesleyan University in 1978, Rabbi Katzew was ordained by HUC-JIR in 1983 and received his doctorate in Education and Jewish Thought from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1997


Jeremy Leigh teaches Israel Studies and Modern Jewish History at HUC-JIR's Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem. He is the coordinator of the Richard J. Scheuer Israel Seminar for the Year-In-Israel Program, as well as director of the HUC-JIR-JDC Fellowship for Global Jewish Responsibility. He leads the Year-In-Israel Program's program in Lithuania and coordinates the annual professional development program in Former Soviet Union. 

Prior to coming to HUC-JIR, Leigh taught Ethnography of Israeli Society through Cinema, at Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University. As well as teaching at various academic institutions in Jerusalem, he is the director of 'Jewish Journeys,' a long standing initiative to develop and advance the field of global Jewish travel.

Leigh studied at University College London and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He has written extensively about the field of Jewish educational travel, including his last book, Jewish Journeys: Reflections on Jewish Travel (Haus, London 2006).

Leigh was born in London, England and moved to Israel in 1992.


Dr. Lesley Litman is the Director of the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education and works with the Experiment in Congregational Education as the coordinator of its Boston-based initiative. She also consults to The iCenter in the area of curriculum design, professional development and Jewish day schools in Israel education.  Lesley hold a doctorate in Jewish education from The Jewish Theological Seminary. Her research interests focus on the connection between curriculum and innovation in congregational education and the role of value tensions in leadership practice.


Michelle Lynn-Sachs, PhD is a leadership coach and consultant working with Jewish professionals and organizations across North America, a faculty member in HUC-JIR's Executive Master's Program, an associate editor at the Journal of Jewish Education, and the chair of the Wexner Field Fellowship.  Prior to founding Spotlight Consulting & Coaching, Michelle taught Jewish education and leadership at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the Jewish Theological Seminary, consulted for the Union for Reform Judaism and the Experiment in Congregational Education, and was the educational leader at Holy Blossom Temple.  Michelle is a proud alumna of Brown University (AB), the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at HUC-JIR (MAJE), and New York University (PhD), and she completed the coach training program at the Coaches Training Institute.  


Dr. Katherine Schwartz is the Associate Director of the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education. She is the President of the Association of Reform Jewish Educators, has served as the Faith Representative for the Early Childhood Council of Boulder County Advisory Committee, and is an active member of the faculty committee for OSRUI where she loves to spend her summers. She has authored teachers’ guides for the former URJ Press, Sex in the Texts and Atlas of Great Jewish Communities, and has been published in EJP and the Journal of Jewish Education. Kathy holds an AB from Washington University in St. Louis, an MAJE and MAJCS from HUC-JIR, and an Ed.D from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Kathy lives in Boulder, CO with her husband and two teenagers, where she serves as the Director of Lifelong Learning at Congregation Har HaShem.


Dr. Miriam Heller Stern is 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.  She is passionate about empowering Jewish educational leaders and teachers to engage in their work intentionally, skillfully and creatively. Her graduate courses include Teaching for the New Millennium, Social Foundations of Jewish Education, and Understanding Learners.

Dr. Stern’s current research and writing focuses on designing Jewish education as a tool for building a creative society. She collaborates frequently with teaching artists to enrich the educational effectiveness of their work and her own. She has published widely in various academic and professional journals and popular media outlets and is a frequent presenter at academic and professional conferences for educators.  Dr. Stern serves as a coach, mentor and advisor to Jewish educational leaders, institutions and initiatives across the United States and Israel. She serves on the boards of theatre dybbuk and Bimbam; on the education committees of Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy; the advisory board of the Los Angeles Jewish teen Initiative, including the wellness summit; the editorial board of the Journal of Jewish Education; the research awards committee of the Network for Research in Jewish Education; and a research advisory committee of the Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education (CASJE).

Previously, Dr. Stern served as dean of the Graduate Center for Jewish Education at American Jewish University, where she created Dream Lab, a strategic initiative to deepen the educational impact of teaching artists and weave a network of Jewish creatives who have a passion for education.

Dr. Stern earned her Ph.D. in Social Sciences, Policy and Educational Practice and her MA in history at Stanford University as a Wexner Graduate Fellow. Together with her husband Jonathan, she channels her interest in creativity into parenting their three elementary and middle-school aged children.


Dr. Sivan Zakai is the Sara S. Lee Assistant Professor of Jewish Education at the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at HUC-JIR's Skirball Campus in Los Angeles. A thought leader in Jewish education, her areas of expertise include curriculum design, history education, Israel education, and teaching controversial issues. Dr. Zakai serves as the Director of the Children’s Learning About Israel Project and co-Director of Project Orli: Research and Leadership in Israel Education. 


Dr. Michael Zeldin (Former Senior National Director of the Schools of Education) is senior Editor of the Journal of Jewish Education, the premier research and scholarly journal in the field of Jewish education, is co-editor and lead author of Touching the Future: Mentoring and the Jewish Professional, and has been called "the intellectual father of the Reform Day school movement."


Mishael Zion (Bio pending)