Stanford To Launch Doctoral Program in Education and Judaic Studies With $12 Million Grant

By Josh Tapper

Published May 14, 2010.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Stanford University will introduce a new doctoral concentration in education and Jewish studies, thanks to a $12 million grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation.

The grant, which will endow a professorship for the program, is the largest gift in the history of Stanford’s School of Education. The program is expected to launch in January, 2011.

Stanford, located in Palo Alto, Calif., joins New York University as one of two national research institutions offering a doctorate in education and Jewish studies. NYU’S program is also funded by JJF, which funds a diversity of education-based projects for American Jewish youth.

“There’s a need to produce more scholars with this background,” said Sam Wineburg, a Stanford professor of education and history who collaborated on the initial planning grant. “More children across the globe are educated in religious institutions than secular ones; however, we don’t yet know, and have not yet begun to properly study, what ramifications this may have for future generations.”

Those involved believe that the program will encourage innovative research on the intersection of religion and education, an academic crossroads rarely studied at secular institutions. Among other things, the curriculum — developed in tandem by the Stanford University School of Education and its Taube Center for Jewish Studies — will examine both the influence of religious education on identity formation and the impact of religious schooling on moral behavior. More broadly, the goal is to train scholars who will have an impact on the world of elementary and secondary school learning.

For the first three years of the program, two students will be admitted annually. One additional student will be accepted each year until the incoming class peaks at seven. “What makes this renewed concentration unique is its broad, all-encompassing approach to education,” said Jonathan Sarna, professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University. “SUSE and the Jim Joseph Foundation understand that Jewish education encompasses issues of nationality, peoplehood and culture, as well as religion, that Judaism is a broad civilization embracing both secular and Jewish elements.”

The role of religion in secular education has come under the microscope in recent months, most notably in Texas, where conservative activists have petitioned the state school board to play up the role of Christianity in the state’s social studies curriculum. Stanford University School of Education Dean Deborah Stipek said that beyond its Jewish focus, the grant would help expand scholarship on the “nexus of culture, religion and education.” Founded in 2006, JJF has granted nearly $145 million as of July 2009 to target communities in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston and Washington. Twenty-one percent of that total was used to fund experiential and classroom education projects for Jews ages 23 to 30, with nearly $17 million aimed directly at university degree programs.

Contact Josh Tapper at tapper@forward.com






Find us on Facebook!
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.