Miriam Heller Stern - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Miriam Heller Stern, Ph.D.

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National Director of the HUC-JIR School of Education; Associate Professor (blended track)

HUC-JIR/Los Angeles

Schools of Education
Academic Field: 
History; Education
Research Interests: 
History of Education; Teaching and learning through creativity and the arts; Practitioner Research

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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.


Sample Public Lecture and Workshop Titles

Note: Dr. Stern specializes in practical, engaged and interactive presentations which engage in the audience in thinking about authentic applications to their own lives and work. She combines leading theory and tools from the field of education with sources from Jewish tradition and history.

  • Jewish Education for a Creative Society
  • Jewish Striving in an Age of Uncertainty, Opportunity and Creativity
  • Can we talk? Tools for Dialoguing Across Divides
  • Teaching for the New Millennium
  • Unplugging to Recharge: Shabbat as a Family Lifeline
  • Cultivating Creativity in Leadership, Teaching and Learning
  • “And it Was Good:” The Role of Reflection and Assessment in Creative Practice
  • Revelation and the Holy Act of Listening: The Sacred Work of Being a Mentor (a workshop for mentors)
  • Realizing Your Potential in 4D (A goal-setting, self-assessment workshop using appreciative inquiry techniques)
  • The Prophet Facing Backwards: What Can the History of Jewish Education Tell Us about the Future of Jewish Life?
  • Talking to Kids About____ (the holidays, Jewish values, Israel)
  • The Art of Parenting as a Professional




Selected Publications and Edited Works

“From Thriving to Striving: Jewish Education for a World of Uncertainty and Opportunity,” (2018) Where Jewish Education Helps Students Thrive: A Tribute to Dr. Jonathan Woocher, edited by David Bryfman and Beth Cousens (Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah) p. 35-40.  

“Lessons from Pixar Studios: Staying Animated in Leadership,” HaYidion, Winter 2017

“When Creativity Nourishes the Mind, Soul and Heart,” HaYidion, Summer 2016

“Embracing the Practical,” HaYidion, Spring 2016

“Having Faith in Sports,” HaYidion, Winter 2016

“A Very Good Listener,” HaYidion, Fall 2015

“The Year of the Creative in Jewish Education,” The Jewish Journal, September 2015

“Your Kids are Ready to Talk about Israel; Are You?” with Sivan Zakai Kveller.com Summer 2014

Inquiry as a Path to Professional Learning, The Journal of Jewish Education, Volume 80Issue 1, 2014

  “Redefining Jewish Womanhood through Informal Education," in Women Who Reconstructed American Jewish Education, edited by Carol Ingall, (University of New England Press: 2010)

  “Method is Education: Making Informal Education Social and Substantive,” Journal of Jewish Education 72:3 (Spring 2007)

  “A Dream Not Quite Come True:” Reassessing the Benderly Era in Jewish Education,” Journal of Jewish Education 70:3 (Fall 2004)