Lesley Litman Moderates Panel Discussion on "Israel in North American Jewish Day Schools" - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Lesley Litman Moderates Panel Discussion on "Israel in North American Jewish Day Schools"

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Thursday, May 29, 2014


Lesley Litman, Coordinator, Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education, HUC-JIR, moderated an "ELI on Air" panel discussion on "Israel in North American Jewish Day Schools" on May 29, 2014, with Alex Pomson, Senior Researcher at the Melton Centre for Jewish Education at the Hebrew University, and Jack Wertheimer, Joseph and Martha Mendelson Professor of American Jewish History at The Jewish Theological Seminary. During the "ELI on Air" conversation, Litman, Pomson, and Wertheimer took a deeper look at The AVI CHAI Foundation's recent report on Israel in North American Jewish Day Schools

Litman stated, "The AVI CHAI Report provides significant insights into Israel education and points to multiple opportunities to strengthen this area in both Jewish day schools and the field of Jewish education as a whole. The Report deserves multiple read-throughs and today's "ELI on Air" conversation enabled participants to more fully plumb its implications for our work."


Lesley Litman is the Coordinator of the Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion 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 and professional development in Israel education.  Lesley served as the Director of Congregational Learning at Temple Israel in Boston.  Prior to her work at Temple Israel, she was the Regional Educator for the URJ and the URJ’s national specialist in Hebrew and Day School education and served on the staff of Jewish Day Schools for the 21st Century, a project of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education. Lesley was a founding member of Kibbutz Yahel in the Arava where she was the first treasurer and headed up the kibbutz’s search for an industrial project.   She is a doctoral candidate in Jewish education at the Jewish Theological Seminary doing research looking at the connection between curriculum and innovation in congregational education.

Dr. Alex Pomson is a senior researcher at the Melton Centre for Jewish Education at the Hebrew University. He was founding head of Jewish studies at the King Solomon High School in London. He is co-author of Back to School: Jewish Day School as a Source of Meaning in the Lives of Adult Jews, and co-editor of Jewish Schools, Jewish Communities: a Reconsideration and of the soon to be published International Handbook of Jewish Education. He has just launched a longitudinal study funded by the Canadian government to study the transitions from Jewish elementary school to high school.

Dr. Jack Wertheimer is the Joseph and Martha Mendelson Professor of American Jewish History at The Jewish Theological Seminary. His area of specialization is modern Jewish history, with a particular focus on trends in the religious, educational, and organizational sectors of American Jewish life since World War II.  From 1997 to 2007, Dr. Wertheimer served as provost, the chief academic officer of JTS. He also served as the founding director of the Joseph and Miriam Ratner Center for the Study of Conservative Judaism from 1987 to 2008. The Ratner Center preserves the records of the rabbis, synagogues, and organizations of the Conservative Movement and also promotes research on the history and contemporary state of Conservative Judaism.


ELI Talks are short video talks modeled on the popular TED Talks with the central themes of Jewish literacy; Jewish religious engagement; Jewish peoplehood, with Israel at the center; or any combination of those three, presented in light of their presenter’s own professional work, personal experiences, or Jewish or secular texts. The speakers’ passions result in engaging and inspired talks that teach something new and perhaps counterintuitive and are intended to develop a global discourse amongst Jews worldwide. The AVI CHAI Foundation began producing ELI Talks in 2012 at the North American Jewish Day School Conference. While initiated by the Foundation, ELI Talks are intended to be a product of those who create them, who share them, who converse around them, and who are inspired by them.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu