Benjamin Jacobs

Benjamin Jacobs
Associate Research Professor, Experiential Jewish Education
(202) 994-2518

Ben Jacobs has spent most of his professional career preparing social studies teachers and Jewish educators for school and non-school settings, and consulting with various Jewish education agencies on curriculum and teaching.

His publications which have appeared in journals such as Teachers College Record, Theory and Research in Social Education, and Journal of Jewish Education, as well as collections such as the International Handbook of Jewish Education, the Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies, and the Cambridge Dictionary of Judaism and Jewish Culture, include several studies of the history and theory of social education, Jewish education, and teacher education on the American scene. Along with colleagues Barry Chazan (educational philosopher) and Robert Chazan (Jewish historian), he published a book, Cultures and Contexts of Jewish Education (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2017), which addresses the historical and contemporary centrality of education in Jewish life, as well as its future prospects. His current projects aim toward the reconceptualization of Jewish education in the 21st century.

Jacobs earned his Ph.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University, as a Wexner Graduate Fellow. He served on the social studies faculty at the University of Minnesota (2005-2010) and at New York University (2010-2015), where he was co-founder and assistant director of the graduate programs in Education and Jewish Studies.

Prior to pursuing his doctorate, Jacobs taught history at a Jewish day high school outside Washington, D.C. He is a past chair of the Teaching History SIG of the American Educational Research Association, and of the Network for Research in Jewish Education. He currently serves on the advisory board for the Consortion for Applied Studies in Jewish Education (CASJE).

Ph.D., Teachers College, Columbia University


Jacobs, B. M. (2018). Critical lessons: Nel Noddings and social education [Special issue]. Theory into Practice, 57(4).

Jacobs, B. M. (2018). Teaching and learning Jewish history in the 21st century: New priorities and opportunities. Journal of Jewish Education, 84(2), 111-130.

Chazan, B., Chazan, R., & Jacobs, B. M. (2017). Cultures and contexts of Jewish education. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.

Jacobs, B. M. (2014). Social studies as a means for the preparation of teachers: A look back at the foundations of social foundations courses. Curriculum Inquiry, 44(2), 249-275.

Jacobs, B. M. (2013). Social studies teacher education in the early 20th century: A historical inquiry into the relationship between teacher preparation and curriculum reform. Teachers College Record, 115(12).

Jacobs, B. M. (2013). Problems and prospects of Jewish education for intelligent citizenship in a post-everything world. Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education: Studies of Migration, Integration, Equity, and Cultural Survival, 7(1), 39-53.

Jacobs, B. M., & Shem-Tov, Y. (2011). History: Issues in the teaching and learning of Jewish history. In A. Pomson, L. Grant, & H. Miller (Eds.), International handbook of Jewish education (pp. 441-460). New York: Springer.

Jacobs, B. M. (2010). Dewey Laboratory School. In C. Kridel (Ed.), Encyclopedia of curriculum studies (pp. 290-291). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Jacobs, B. M. (2009). Affordances and constraints in social studies curriculum-making: The case of “Jewish social studies” in the early 20th century. Theory and Research in Social Education, 37(4), 515-542. [2010 Exemplary Research in Social Studies Award, National Council for the Social Studies]

Jacobs, B. M. (2009). Socialization into a civilization: The Dewey-Kaplan synthesis in American Jewish schooling in the early 20th century. Religious Education, 104(2), 149-165.

Jacobs, B. M. (2008). Social studies. In G. McCulloch and D. Crook (Eds.), International encyclopedia of education (pp. 553-554). London: Routledge.

Chazan, R., & Jacobs, B. M. (2005). Jewish history from the academy to the schools: Bridging the gap. In M. Nisan & O. Schremer (Eds.), Educational deliberations: Studies in education dedicated to Shlomo (Seymour) Fox (pp. 157-180). Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House.

Jacobs, B. M. (2005). What’s wrong with the history of American Jewish education? Journal of Jewish Education, 71(1), 33-51.

In the News

Dr. Ben Jacobs has become chair (for 2016-2019) of the Network for Research in Jewish Education, the leading academic organization in the field.