Embracing the Joys and the "Muckiness" of Israel Education

Elliott Rabin
Knowledge Topics
Teaching and Learning
Debby Arzt-Mor, Rabbi David Stein, Sivan Zakai

Debby Artz-Mor, director of Jewish learning at the Brandeis School in San Francisco, and Rabbi David Stein, Judaics studies principal at Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles, join Sivan Zakai to discuss her new longitudinal study of Israel education , My Second Favorite Country. They consider understandings of "age-appropriate" learning that can impede educational engagement and exploration, discuss the relationship between school mission and student influences, and consider pedagogy that opens up student curiosity and discovery.


Debby Arzt-Mor is the director of Jewish learning at The Brandeis School of San Francisco. Raised in Jerusalem, Debby has been living in San Francisco with her family for many years. As a member of Brandeis’ senior leadership team, Debby partners with faculty and staff in guiding Jewish and Hebrew programming and curriculum throughout the school. Debby is a cohort 10 graduate of The Davidson School’s Day School Leadership Training Institute, and of the Melton Senior Educators program at The Hebrew University. Debby holds a BA in psychology and Jewish philosophy (University of Haifa), and a graduate degree in nonprofit administration (USF).

Rabbi David Stein is the Judaic studies principal at Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles as well as the co-founder and managing director of the LaHaV Curriculum Project. David attended Yeshiva College and RIETS for his undergraduate and semikhah studies, and also holds master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Columbia University and in Jewish education from American Jewish University. He is currently studying towards his doctorate in education at Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education & Administration and was a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar.

Sivan Zakai is the Sara S. Lee Associate Professor of Jewish Education at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and is an affiliated scholar at the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education at Brandeis University. In addition to directing the Children’s Learning About Israel Project and co-directing Project ORLIE: Research and Leadership in Israel Education, Sivan serves as a senior editor of the Journal of Jewish Education and as a member of the faculty of the Mandel Teacher Educator Institute.