Miriam Heller Stern, Ph.D.

Vice Provost for Educational Strategy; Director, School of Education; Associate Professor

Contact Information

school/program: School of Education
department: Academic Affairs, Provost’s Office
academic field: Contemporary Jewish Studies, History, Jewish Education, Professional Development
campus: Los Angeles, National
email: mstern@huc.edu
phone: (213) 765-2116
extension: 4216

Dr. Miriam Heller Stern, Ph.D., is Vice Provost for Educational Strategy, National Director of the School of Education, and Associate Professor at HUC-JIR. She is passionate about empowering Jewish educational leaders and teachers to engage in their work intentionally, skillfully, and creatively. Her graduate courses include Charting the Future of Jewish Education, Teaching for Our Times, and Understanding Learners. She is the founder of Beit HaYotzer/the Creativity Braintrust, an initiative based at HUC-JIR designed to catalyze creative thinking and artistic expression through Jewish education and leadership, funded by the Covenant Foundation. Stern is a member of the inaugural cohort of the Mandel Senior Leadership Fellowship at the Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University.

Dr. Stern’s current research and writing focuses on designing Jewish education as a tool for building a creative society and fostering creative thinking. Her peer-reviewed article, “Jewish Creative Sensibilities: Framing a New Aspiration for Jewish Education,” received the “Best Article of the Year Award” for 2019 from the Journal of Jewish Education. She co-edited “Revelation is Just the Beginning,” a collection of insights on navigating complexity, with the artists of Beit HaYotzer/the Creativity Braintrust. She has published widely in various academic and professional journals and popular media outlets and is a frequent presenter at academic and professional conferences, on webinars, and on podcasts. She is called upon as a strategic thinker on national task forces across the sectors of Jewish education, including Prizmah-the Center for Jewish Day Schools, the Jewish Education Project, UnitED, 18×18/M2, and early childhood initiatives. A coach, mentor, and advisor, she is committed to championing and elevating the work of Jewish educational leaders, institutions, and initiatives across North America and Israel. 

In the community, Dr. Stern serves on the boards of Shalhevet High School, theatre dybbuk, and the Torah Studio. She is a leader in the field of Jewish educational research, serving on the board of the Network for Research in Jewish Education and the Journal of Jewish Education Editorial Board. She earned her Ph.D. in Social Sciences, Policy, and Educational Practice and her M.A. in history at Stanford University as a Wexner Graduate Fellow.

Articles and Essays

“Sustaining a Creative People: Learning the Habits of Creative Thinking,” The Peoplehood Papers, edited by Shlomi Ravid and Dean Bell, Volume 30, August 2021. https://jpeoplehood.org/project/peoplehood-papers-30-peoplehood-education-goals-pedagogy-and-outcomes/

“Jewish Creative Sensibilities: Framing a New Aspiration for Jewish Education,” Journal of Jewish Education, 85:4, 429-446, DOI: 10.1080/15244113.2019.1686336

“Experiencing God in the Midst of Conflict,” in Because My Soul Longs for You: Integrating Theology into Our Lives, edited by Edwin C. Goldberg and Elaine S. Zecher (CCAR Press: 2021), pp. 89-98.

“The Past as Portal to the Future: theatre dybbuk’s Creative Exploration and Presentation of Jewish History,” with Tobin Belzer, in Portraits of Adult Jewish Learning: Making Meaning at Many Tables, edited by Diane Tickton Schuster (Wipf and Stock Publishers: 2022).

“Beyond Disruption: Learning, Leading and Healing in 2021,” eJewishphilanthropy, November 5, 2021. https://ejewishphilanthropy.com/beyond-disruption-learning-leading-and-healing-in-2021/

“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


“Episode 6: How can Jewish education be more creative?” Opening Doors: the Jewish Education Podcast, Network for Research in Jewish Education, June 16, 2022.

“Adapting Exagogue,” the dybbukast, Season 2: Episode 8, June 10, 2022.

“I-Tell-You,” the dybbukast, Season 1: Episode 1, November 2020.

Putting Creativity in the Heart of Jewish Schooling,” Prizmah Podcast Series, Research Encounter, April 2020.  

“Reimagining Jewish Education,” Judaism Unbound Episode 186, September, 2019.

Thinking Aspirationally about Jewish Education: the Future of Jewish Creativity

How to teach Creative Thinking

Redefining Jewish Education: Past, Present and Future

Recalibrating our Compass: New Directions in Jewish Education

Plus ca change and deja vu: how to break the cycle and change Jewish education

Affirming Hope: Tikvah as a Jewish Creative Sensibility

Go and Be Bold: Lech lecha as a Jewish Creative Sensibility

Charting the Future of Jewish Education

Teaching for the New Millennium/Teaching for Our Times

Understanding Learners

Supervised Leadership

Ph.D. in Social Sciences Policy and Educational Practice, Stanford University

M.A. in History, Stanford University

B.A. in History, Near Eastern Judaic Studies, Women’s Studies, Brandeis University

Mandel Senior Leadership Fellow, Inaugural Cohort, Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education, Brandeis University (2021-2023)

Wexner Graduate Fellow