Dr. David Mendelsson Appointed Director of the Year-In-Israel Program at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion/Jerusalem

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. David Mendelsson to Director of the Year-In-Israel Program. Dr. Mendelsson is currently serving as Acting Director of the Year-In-Israel Program.

Rabbi Kelman noted, “Dave Mendelsson is a consummate educator, beloved teacher, and scholar of Modern Jewish History. These gifts have been evident in his new role, as he seeks academic excellence and forging a culture of learning and growth for each of our students in their first year of studies. He is internationally recognized as one of finest and most serious practitioners of ‘Israel Engagement Education.’ This is a vital pillar of the program,  particularly at a time when sensitivity, depth, and balance are necessary. He is able to provide that voice in our Richard J. Scheuer Israel Seminar and in the History of Zionism classes that he teaches.”

Until 2012, Dr. Mendelsson served as the Academic Coordinator of the Israel Seminar for the Year-In-Israel Program.  He continues to fulfill that role for students at the School of Jewish Nonprofit Management at HUC-JIR/Los Angeles, in cooperation with the Jewish Community Center Association in Israel, for their Israel Seminar.  He served as the Schusterman Visiting Professor of Israel Studies at the University of Southern California and HUC-JIR/Los Angeles during the academic year 2010-2011, and has also been a Visiting Scholar at Brandeis University’s Hornstein Program in Jewish Professional Leadership, Michigan State University, and James Madison College.

Dr. Mendelsson received his Ph.D. from the Hebrew University’s Department of Contemporary Jewry (2003), with a dissertation entitled “Between Integration and Separation: A History of Anglo-Jewish Education 1944-88.” Previously, he earned the M.A. (1987) there with a thesis on “Pioneering Youth Movements in Britain, 1929-48.”  He received his B.A. in Politics and Modern History from Manchester University (1979).

He is a Lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Rothberg International School in their One Year Program, served as a member of their One Year Program Academic Committee from 2006 to 2008, and is the Coordinator of their Israel Studies Summer Course Institute.  He is also the Academic Coordinator and Scholar-in-Residence at the Foster Seminar in Israel for students in Brandeis University’s Hornstein Program in Jewish Professional Leadership, in co-operation with the Hebrew University’s Melton Centre for Jewish Education and the Jewish Community Center Association in Israel.

Dr. Mendelsson’s academic publications include A History of Jewish Education in England, 1944-1988 (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2010); “Issues in Anglo-Jewish Education: Day Schools, State Funding, and Religious Education in State Schools,” in Lisa Grant, Helena Miller and Alex Pomson (eds.), International Handbook of Jewish Education (New York: Springer, 2011); “Embracing Jewish Day School Education in England 1965-79,” History of Education 38: 4 (2009), 545-563;  and “A History of Habonim in England”(Hebrew) Discussion Forum on Research into Youth Movements (Hebrew), 8 (1991).

Among his conference papers, in June, 2002 he delivered “Anglo-Jewish Identity through the Prism of Jewish Education, 1944-88,” at the Joint International Conference of the Israeli Association for Research in Jewish Education and the North American Network for Research in Jewish Education at Haifa University.  In 2002-03 he delivered “Jews, Jewish Education, and Multi-Cultural England, 1965-88,” at the workshop on “Paradigms of Contemporary Jewish Identity: A Comparative Study” at the Zalman Shazar Center for Jewish History and the World Jewish Congress in Jerusalem.  In June, 2003, he delivered “The Zionist Entry into Jewish Day School Education in England, 1948-65” in Hebrew at the Annual Conference of the Israel Association of Historians of Education in Jerusalem.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to 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 American Jewish Archives, 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