News, Publications, and Presentations from Core Education Faculty

January 25, 2024

Three women smiling at the camera

Lauren ApplebaumLauren Applebaum, Ed.D. is a recipient, along with Sivan Zakai, Ph.D., of a research grant from the Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education at George Washington University. Their project is entitled, “Learning and Teaching about What Matters,” and explores what issues in the contemporary world matter most to Jewish children, and how children make sense of these issues. The study also considers how educators make sense of children’s ideas about the same issues. Drawing from interviews, storytelling exercises, and think-alouds with children, as well as interviews and collaborative investigations with educators as they examine the data from children, the study situates the ideas of both children and their educators in both day schools and supplementary schools as central to the work of Jewish education. Applebaum and Zakai are conducting the study as affiliated scholars of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University.

Lesley LitmanLesley Litman, Ed.D. advised and oversaw the design of the first year of an Israel curriculum framework for Grades 4-6 through ARZA Canada. She led a 2.5-day workshop for teachers from across Canada on Israel education in general and implementing the new curricular framework in particular.

Litman has been an active consultant, facilitator and advisor in the professional learning response to October 7th, including in the iCenter’s Conflicts of Interest Certification program. She has led four workshops for Jewish educators and her blog post for the iCenter, “The Questions of Today,” outlines the key questions Jewish educators have been facing in the new reality post October 7th.

Laura Novak WinerRabbi Laura Novak Winer, Ed.D. is being awarded the Distinguished Educator Honor at the Association of Reform Jewish Educators Annual Gathering, where she is presenting, along with Rabbi Dr. Ellie Steinman, a session titled, “Leading with a Diversity Mindset and the Challenges of Teaching Others to Do So.”

Novak Winer was also chosen to participate in the Senior Fellows Program of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University, a two year fellowship focused on research and scholarship. Her research project is an examination and reframing of the concept of Ahavat Yisrael as an aim for Israel Education.

Miriam Heller SternMiriam Heller Stern, Ph.D. will be on sabbatical during the Spring semester. She will be a visiting scholar at Stanford University Graduate School of Education and a scholar-in-residence at the Covenant Foundation. In October, Dr. Stern taught at the URJ North American Board Meeting in October on the topic, “The Power of Jewish Education: Toward a Future of Resilience, Wisdom, Creativity and Hope.”

Sivan ZakaiSivan Zakai, Ph.D. has been an indispensable advisor, teacher, and guide to Jewish educators, leaders, and parents since October 7th, giving numerous workshops and talks to a wide range of audiences.

Her publications have included:

  • Addressing Kids’ Big and Difficult Questions. PJ Library, forthcoming.
  • Walking the Tightrope: Talking about the Current Situation in Israel with Children. The Jewish Journal, October 11, 2023.
  • How to Talk to Kids about What’s Happening in Israel Right Now. Kveller, October 9, 2023.

Her public talks and workshops have included:

  • How to Talk to Your Children about October 7th and its Aftermath. Sinai Temple, January 4, 2024.
  • How to Talk to Your Kids about the War in Israel. JKidLA, a project of Builders of Jewish Education, in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, December 6, 2023.
  • Creating a School Culture for Healthy Teaching and Learning about Israel. A webinar for the BJE-LA Innovating Israel Education Community of Practice. November 28, 2023.
  • Supporting Our Children in a Time of Crisis. Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, November 27, 2023.
  • Teacher as Learner: Learning from Students’ Ideas about Israel. Mandel Teacher Educator Institute. November 7, 2023.
  • Supporting Our Students in this Time of Crisis. Mandel Teacher Educator Institute. November 6, 2023.
  • How to Talk to Your Children about the Conflict in Israel. Wilshire Blvd Temple, November 1, 2023.
  • Supporting Jewish Children and Families. HUC Connect Webinar. October 30, 2023.
  • Supporting Students in a Time of Crisis. A webinar for the BJE-LA Innovating Israel Education Community of Practice. October 24, 2023.
  • Confronting the Moment: Helping Kids Grapple with the Big Questions. A partnership of Hebrew Day School of Ann Arbor, University of Michigan School of Social Work, Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor. October 16, 2023.
  • Open Hour for Educators to Discuss the Current Situation in Israel. Mandel Teacher Educator Institute. October 12, 2023. (With Miriam Raider-Roth and Kathy Simon.)
  • How to Talk to Children about Israel Today. A webinar of the Jewish Education Project in partnership with Prizmah, PJ Library, Root One, The Blue Dove Foundation, the iCenter, Be Well, and the Jewish Teen Education and Engagement Funder Collaborative. October 10, 2023. (With Samantha Vinokor-Meinrath.)
  • Violence in Israel: A Gathering for Early Childhood Education Leaders. October 9, 2023. The Orchard. (With Erika Bocknek, Emily White, Meir Muller and Ellen Dietrick.)