Sivan Zakai, Sara S. Lee Associate Professor of Jewish Education at the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at HUC-JIR’s Skirball Campus in Los Angeles, has been granted tenure, as of July 1, 2021. A thought leader in Jewish education, her areas of expertise include curriculum design, history education, Israel education, and teaching controversial issues.
Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D., Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost, stated, “In the years leading up to her promotion as Sara S. Lee Associate Professor of Jewish Education with tenure, Dr. Sivan Zakai has distinguished herself as leading scholar in the field of Jewish education, particularly through her ground-breaking longitudinal study of American children’s beliefs about Israel. Dr. Zakai has amassed an impressive dossier of academic and popular publications—including her 2018 article, “History that Matters: How Students Make Sense of Historical Texts,” which was awarded the “Article of the Year Award” by the Journal of Jewish Education—and she has earned a reputation as a caring, gifted teacher and an influential voice in educational decision-making at the College-Institute and the wider Jewish world.”
Dr. Zakai serves as the Director of the Children’s Learning Israel Project at the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University and co-Director of Project ORLIE: Research and Leadership in Israel Education. Her forthcoming book, My Second Favorite Country: American Jewish Children and the State of Israel, will be published by NYU Press in 2022.
Dr. Zakai received her M.A. in History (2006) and her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teacher Education (2009) at Stanford University, where she also completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the Stanford History Education Group. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wesleyan University, where she received her B.A. with honors in Government and in The College of Letters, an interdisciplinary program combining history, philosophy, and literature.