Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership

The Mayberg Center is dedicated to advancing community-based scholarship in the field of Jewish education and leadership, particularly in the arenas of pedagogy, identity, and literacy. The Center provides graduate level training for Jewish educators and professional development for Jewish administrators, educators, and nonprofit professionals, catalyzes research, and convenes academics and practitioners for critical conversations about the Jewish future.

Housed in the Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD), the Center is a vibrant laboratory for teaching, learning, and educational engagement. Through interdisciplinary studies and in collaboration with GSEHD’s graduate program in Experiential Education and Jewish Cultural Arts, the Center explores important links between evolving theories of teaching and learning in formal and informal educational settings.

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Conversations the Matter
Ruth Messinger, Sarah Hurwitz, and Erica Brown
Ruth Messinger
Sarah Hurwitz
Louis and Manette Mayberg
Dr. Erica Brown, Moshe Halbertal, and Jeffrey Goldberg
Jeffrey Goldberg
Moshe Halbertal
Thomas J. LeBlanc
Dr. Erica Brown and David Brooks
Mayberg Center Launch Attendees
Mayberg Center Launch Attendees
Conversations that Matter
Ruth Messinger, Sarah Hurwitz, and Erica Brown
Ruth Messinger
Sarah Hurwitz
Louis and Manette Mayberg
Dr. Erica Brown, Moshe Halbertal, and Jeffrey Goldberg
Jeffrey Goldberg
Moshe Halbertal
Thomas J. LeBlanc
Dr. Erica Brown and David Brooks
Mayberg Center Launch
Mayberg Center Launch
Master's Degree

The George Washington University Master's program in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Jewish education provides students with a challenging graduate learning experience and credentials to work both in and beyond the Jewish community. The degree prepares students to become teachers in formal classroom settings with an emphasis on teaching strategies, instructional techniques, and curriculum design for specific Jewish text-based disciplines: Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), rabbinics, and Jewish history. This concentration includes a course in experiential education as a complement to the emphasis on formal classroom instruction. The program is cohort-based to provide collegial support, peer mentoring and to enhance and to foster professional networking on a vibrant campus in the nation’s capital.

Program Highlights

  • Core courses in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Concentration courses in Jewish education
  • Supervised internship placement in a Jewish school
  • Two-year immersive cohort experience
  • Partial need and merit-based scholarships available
  • Opportunity to study in Washington, D.C. in the heart of the nation’s capital

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the program?

The program is a two-year, part-time graduate program to accommodate in-service teaching schedules.


Where and when are classes held?

Classes meet on GW’s Foggy Bottom in the evenings during the week.


Where do graduates find employment?

The DC Metro area has multiple Jewish day schools and dozens of congregational school programs as potential employers. Prospective students may also find employment in area Jewish nonprofits such as Hillel International, BBYO, Avodah, Moishe House, and Jewish Community Centers. Graduates can look for employment in Jewish day schools, nonprofits, and congregational schools nationwide with the Center’s assistance.


What are the application requirements?

  • Core courses in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Online Application
  • Resume
  • Statement of Purpose (500 words)
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation (one academic and one professional)
  • Transcripts (from all colleges/universities attended)
  • Hebrew reading proficiency (determined at interview)
  • Familiarity with Biblical & Rabbinic Texts (determined at interview)
  • Application fee

For more information on any of these requirements, please visit our Admissions FAQ page.


Are scholarships available?

Yes, partial need and merit-based scholarships are available.


Who are the program faculty?

Dr. Erica Brown is an associate professor and the director of the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education & Leadership. She consults with a variety of Jewish nonprofits and is the author of twelve books in Judaic studies and leadership.

Dr. Sharon Blumenthal-Cohen is the program director of the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education & Leadership. She teaches core courses in Curriculum and Instruction and manages teaching internships.

Additional Curriculum & Instruction faculty teach core courses in the program.


Will I still be able to work at my present job while I pursue this degree?

Classes in the program are held in the evenings to enable students to work at their present jobs during the day while matriculating in coursework at night. During the internship semester, students will need to be present in their assigned Jewish school settings during standard school hours. Internships may take place in educational institutions outside of the DC Metro area.


Interested students can apply by visiting GW's Student Portal.

Professional Development

Boosting Your Professional Skills: Workshops on Communication

July 19,2018

The Mayberg Center co-hosted “Boosting Your Professional Skills: Workshops on Communication” with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington on July 19, 2018. Almost 50 professionals working in Jewish nonprofits, day schools, and congregations attended and explored ways to strengthen practical communication skills and nurture positive relationships at work with donors, colleagues, clients, volunteers and parents. The first workshop, "Post with Purpose: Digital Strategies," was led by Jeff Rum, CEO+Founder, ignite:action. The second workshop, "Speak and Write for Impact," was facilitated by Dr. Erica Brown, Director of GW's Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership. Educators and others who work closely with parent populations stayed for a bonus workshop on communicating proactively and effectively with parents.

Connecting Children to Their Spiritual Selves with Rabbi Dr. Howard Deitcher

December 6-7, 2017

The Mayberg Center was honored to host Rabbi Dr. Howard Deitcher from Hebrew University in Jerusalem for a range of professional development workshops on topics including the possibilities and challenges of Jewish spiritual education and emerging challenges in day school education. On December 6-7, 2017, Dr. Deitcher engaged with a variety of professionals including day school heads, Jewish educational leaders in schools and congregations, and GW professors and graduate students. He also facilitated several sessions at The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington’s Jewish Early Childhood Educator Conference, as well as a learning session for parents on spirituality in young children. One camp educator noted that she valued “the opportunity to think about creative expression related to tefilah (prayer) and spirituality.” A day school principal shared that she “enjoyed every minute and so appreciated the two hours spent thinking about spirituality in Jewish Education with so many diverse practitioners; what a welcome window of reflection that was!” A veteran congregational education director expressed similar sentiments, “This was a great workshop! Dr. Deitcher was very professional and very aware of the audience.”

How Are We Doing? Better Teacher Evaluations

August 2017

One of the goals of the Mayberg Center is to provide high quality professional development for educators and nonprofit professionals, locally, regionally, and nationally. To that end, while many people were sitting on beaches in early August 2017, a group of day school heads and administrators sat in the Berman Hebrew Academy boardroom to engage in learning with Kim Marshall, a former teacher, principal, and district official in the Boston Public Schools. Marshall, who currently consults with schools all over North America on educational leadership practices, focused his presentation and discussion on effective teacher evaluation. Marshall challenged administrators from the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, Berman Hebrew Academy, and Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School to create spot assessments, what he calls “mini-observations,” and do them frequently. He shared his comprehensive rubric evaluation of teachers and the best way to give face-to face feedback. In the process, he showed a video of a teacher mid-lesson and asked the group to make their observations about what was effective and less effective in practice. He ended the day with a smaller session for school heads to take the rubric he shared and apply it to the evaluation of their principals. Feedback from the day showed it to be a valuable contribution in terms of learning, integrating new methods of assessment and bringing local professionals together in conversation.

Research & Convenings

2018 - Research Conference on Jewish Education

June 11-12, 2018

The Network for Research in Jewish Education (NRJE), chaired by GSEHD’s Professor Ben Jacobs, held its annual conference on June 11-12 at The George Washington University, co-chaired this year by the Mayberg Center. The conference brings together academics and practitioners to discuss important educational research in the field. Rabbi Dr. Scott Aaron was the program chair. Dr. Erica Brown was the conference chair.

Among this year’s sessions was a panel on racial identity development, the teaching of climate change in Jewish day schools and inquiry-oriented pedagogy in the teaching of Tanakh. Other presenters discussed Hebrew instruction, the application of Jewish sensibilities, the use of arts and literature in Jewish education, structured ethical reflection, the professional and Jewish identity of experiential educators, and curricular integration in non-Orthodox Jewish day schools, among other topics. Sessions focused on a range of learners, from elementary school students and adolescents through to adult education. One of the concluding sessions highlighted notions of thriving in Jewish education.

In addition to paper presentations, an emerging scholars forum and networking at meals, participants also enjoyed a documentary, “Restoring Tomorrow,” facilitated by Esther Foer, former executive director of the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue. The film catalyzed an important conversation on the role of synagogue life in the formation of Jewish communities.

When Israel is Your Classroom: JWRP Educational Assessment

June 2018

At the end of June, hundreds of women toured Israel through a Jewish Renaissance Women’s Project Momentum (JWRP) trip. JWRP’s mission is to inspire women to transform themselves, their families and their communities.To that end, the international organization partners with 143 organizations in 26 countries and has sent over 11,000 women to Israel. Erica Brown accompanied this group to observe and evaluate their educational offerings. Brown’s findings on the educational materials, the facilitation and the learning components of the trip were shared in a comprehensive report with their senior professionals, trip leaders and the head of the JWRP board and have already resulted in changes to the educational content and the preparation of its facilitators. We are honored that the Mayberg Center has been able to contribute to the body of work studying immersive experiences. This form of learning continues to prove to be both inspiring and educationally transformative. Examples of academic evaluations on immersive experiences informing the field include: “Taglit-Birthright Israel: Impact on Jewish Identity, Peoplehood, and Connection to Israel” by Leonard Saxe, Theodore Sasson and Shahar Hect; “Triangulation and Mixed Methods Design: Practicing What We Preach in the Evaluation of an Israel Experience Educational Program” by Leonard Saxe, Theodore Sasson, Shahar Hect, and Charles Kadushin; Brandeis University’s study, “A Mega- Experiment in Jewish Education: The Impact of Birthright Israel”; Chaye Kohl’s, “To March or Not to March: Reflections on March of the Living”; and “March of the Living, a Holocaust Educational Tour: Effect on Adolescent Jewish Identity” by Alan Nager, Phung Pham and Jeffrey Gold.

2017 - Re-Imagining Jewish Leadership Education Conference

Conference Agenda
Conference Registrant Bios
On March 15, 2017, the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership brought together a select group of academics, educators and conveners of Jewish leadership programs to discuss the state of Jewish leadership education in North America and what can be done moving forward to deepen its reach and impact. Many legacy non-profits and Jewish start-ups have invested heavily in leadership training both for volunteer lay leaders and professionals. We met to share observations and think critically about the content, pedagogy, duration and format of such courses to maximize their effectiveness.
Invited Participants:
Ilana Aisen, Executive Director of JPRO Network
Rabbi Laura Baum, Associate Vice President of Learning and Engagement at Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Boston's Federation
Rabbi Benjamin Berger, Program Director at The Wexner Foundation
Rabbi Rachel Rudis Bovitz, Chief Strategy Officer of the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning
Dr. Erica Brown, Associate Professor at the GW Graduate School of Education and Human Development and Director of the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership
Gali Cooks, Executive Director of Leading Edge
Abi Dauber Sterne, Vice President for Jewish Education at Hillel International
Rabbi Josh Fiegelson, Founder and Executive Director of Ask Big Questions
Dr. Michael Feuer, Dean of the GW Graduate School of Education and Human Development
Dr. Ben Jacobs, Visiting Associate Professor in the GW Graduate School of Education and Human Development
Dr. Susan Kardos, Senior Director, Strategy & Education Planning at the AVI CHAI Foundation
Judy Mars Kupchin, CEO of the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning
Dr. Erik Ludwig, Director of the Zelikow School of Jewish Nonprofit Management
Dr. Jon Levisohn, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Chair in Jewish Educational Thought at Brandeis University
Dr. Hal M. Lewis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership
Dr. Rona Milch Novick, Dean of the Asrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration at Yeshiva University
Dr. Alex Pomson, Managing Director of Rosov Consulting
Dr. Bill Robinson, Dean of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education
Rabbi Ari Rockoff, Director of Leadership Development at the Orthodox Union
Abby Saloma, Senior Program Officer with the Schusterman Family Foundation
Dr. Theodore Sasson, Director of Programs at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mendel Foundation
Dr. Elana Stein Hain, Director of Leadership Education at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America
Dr. Julia Storberg-Walker, Associate Professor at the GW Graduate School of Education and Human Development
Joshua Troderman, CEO of ShalomLearning
Dr. Jonathan Woocher, Senior Fellow at Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah
Mark Young, Managing Director of the Leadership Commons
Stefanie Zelkind, Director of The Wexner Graduate Fellowship/Davidson Scholars program
We asked participants to share some of the challenges they encounter in this important work. We have provided their rich insights below:
Conversations that Matter

The Limits of Civil Discourse - 2018 featuring Jeffrey Goldberg and Moshe Halbertal

The Mayberg Center hosted its second annual Conversations that Matter event with a theme titled, The Limits of Civil Discourse. The evening featured a riveting discussion with Moshe Halbertal, noted Israeli philosopher, professor, and author, and Jeffrey Goldberg, Editor-in-Chief of The Atlantic. Dr. Erica Brown, the Mayberg Center’s director facilitated the discussion in GW’s Jack Morton Auditorium.

Education, Integrity and Leadership - 2017

The launch for the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership, housed in George Washington University's GSEHD - Graduate School for Education and Human Development, featured this powerful conversation on "Education, Integrity and Leadership" between N.Y. Times columnist, David Brooks and Leon Wieseltier, the Isaiah Berlin Senior Fellow in Culture and Policy at the Brookings Institution. The conversation was moderated by Dr. Erica Brown, director of the new Center and associate professor at GSEHD.

The Mayberg Center will provide graduate level training for Jewish educators, certificate programs for Jewish non-profit professionals and a platform to bridge the Academy and community for high-level conversations on contemporary Jewish issues.

Mayberg Center Staff
Dr. Erica Brown
Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership
(202) 994-8372

Dr. Erica Brown is the director of the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership and an associate professor of curriculum and pedagogy at The George Washington University. Erica was a Jerusalem Fellow, is a faculty member of the Wexner Foundation, an Avi Chai Fellow and the recipient of the 2009 Covenant Award for her work in education. She is the author of twelve books on leadership, the Hebrew Bible and spirituality; her newest book is The Book of Esther: Power, Fate and Fragility in Exile (Koren). She has been published in the New York Times, The Atlantic, Tablet, First Things, and The Jewish Review of Books and wrote a monthly column for the New York Jewish Week. She has blogged for Psychology Today, Newsweek/Washington Post’s “On Faith” and JTA and tweeted on one page of Talmud study a day at DrEricaBrown.

Erica enjoys conducting interviews and moderating panels to get to know writers, thinkers and opinion makers and has been called the “Terry Gross of the Jewish world.” She has interviewed former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, David Brooks, Jeffrey Goldberg, David Gregory, Moshe Halbertal, Shai Held, Leon Wieseltier, Yehuda Mersky, Ruth Messinger, Sarah Hurwitz, David Makovsky, Dennis Ross, Deborah Lipstadt and others.

Erica has degrees from Yeshiva University, University of London, Harvard University and Baltimore Hebrew University. She previously served as the scholar-in-residence at both The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston and as the community scholar for the Jewish Center of New York. She currently serves as a community scholar for Congregation Etz Chaim in Livingston, NJ. Erica is also the author of Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet, Take Your Soul to Work: 365 Meditations on Every Day Leadership and Happier Endings: A Meditation on Life and Death (Simon and Schuster), which won both the Wilbur and Nautilus awards for spiritual writing. Her previous books include Inspired Jewish Leadership, a National Jewish Book Award finalist, Spiritual Boredom, Confronting Scandal and co-authored The Case for Jewish Peoplehood (All Jewish Lights). She also wrote Seder Talk: A Conversational Haggada, Leadership in the Wilderness, In the Narrow Places and Return: Daily Inspiration for the Days of Awe (All OU/Koren).

Erica Brown speaking at Prizmah 2019