Prizmah Podcasts


Whether over breakfast, on the drive to or from work, or resting in your armchair in the evening, enjoy an episode of a Prizmah podcast. These podcasts consist of conversations that delve into issues from contemporary education and scholarship, exploring how Jewish school leaders reflect upon leading trends and ideas and bring them to life in their schools.


"Kol ha-kavod! I just finished listening to your recent podcast. I intend to use this in a professional development session with my colleagues for the questions you raise about skills, content and values." - Rabbi Judd Kruger Levingston PhD, Director of Jewish Studies, Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

We bring you three podcast series:

Research Encounter


Hosted by Elliott Rabin, Prizmah's director of thought leadership, presents a discussion between a researcher and a day school leader about a recent work of scholarship.

Start-up Day School


Hosted by Josh Gold, middle school principal at HAFTR, Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaways in Lawrence, New York, offers a give-and-take on matters of contemporary educational leadership in Jewish schools.

Prizmah Podcasts Live

Prizmah Podcasts Live showcases innovative and transformative initiatives taking place in Jewish schools. Each episode includes a presentation, conversation and audience Q&A. Episodes will be recorded and uploaded on Prizmah’s podcast channel. Grab a lunch, breakfast or aruchat eser and come learn about the creativity that flourishes in our field.


Share them with colleagues and friends, discuss them in faculty meetings, and continue the conversations! Let us know how you use them and feel free to send suggestions for future episodes.


Research Encounter



Putting Creativity at the Heart of Jewish Schooling

Dr. Miriam Heller Stern, National Director of the HUC-JIR School of Education in Los Angeles, and Susie Tanchel, head of school at JCDS Boston, talk about creativity as a vital component of a school’s mission and vision. They explore how the school's conception of creativity can be guided by Jewish values, and ways that it can inform school culture, curriculum and pedagogy.

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Strengthening Jewish Studies with Insights from Cognitive Science

Dr. Moshe Krakowski, Director of the Master's Program at the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration at Yeshiva University, and Rabbi Daniel Alter, head of The Moriah School in Engelwood, New Jersey, discuss findings from the Science of Learning (cognitive science) and how they can inform Jewish Studies. They look at techniques that can improve retention of material and lead to greater fluency, mastery and enjoyment of Jewish text learning.

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Teaching the Students, not Jewish Identity

Dr. Tali Zelkowicz, Director of Curriculum and Research at the Wexner Foundation, and Dr. Sarah Shulkind, head of Milken Community Schools in Los Angeles, examine the perils of teaching for Jewish identity. They consider how a focus on identity outcomes can overburden the Jewish studies classroom with unrealistic expectations that go against what we know is good pedagogy, which creates room for student exploration and growth on students’ own terms.

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What Do Students Really Think of High School Talmud?

Dr. Arielle Levites, managing director of CASJE, Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education, and Rabbi Jethro Berkman, dean of Jewish education at Gann Academy in Waltham, Massachusetts, reflect upon the findings of a study into student responses to their Talmud education. They consider the possible shortcomings of Talmud curriculum and pedagogy and discuss other ways that schools might approach the teaching of rabbinics.

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Reflecting on and Learning from Jewish Day School Boards

Daniella Pressner and Moshe Werthan, head of school and board member at the Akiva School in Nashville, Tennessee, discuss their experiences of working with board members, the challenges and successes that their board has seen, and the culture that they try to cultivate on the board. They are joined by Alex Pomson, principal and managing director of Rosov Consulting, and host Ilisa Cappell, Prizmah’s vice president for leadership development, who draw upon Prizmah’s recent study of lay leadership in Jewish day schools to highlight contexts and trends in this field.

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Preparations for Success During Covid

Professor Jack Wertheimer of the Jewish Theological Seminary talks with Cheryl Maayan, head of the Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School in St. Louis, and Dr. Steven Lorch, head of Kadimah Day School in Los Angeles, about how Jewish day schools have fared during the pandemic. Wertheimer proposes trends that have set up many day schools for success in the face of the overwhelming challenges that schools and families have experienced.

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Gender, Class and Young Jewish Women

How do we support girls in the transition from middle school to high school? Joni Fishman, middle school dean of students at the Rashi School in Dedham, Massachusetts, speaks with researcher Cheryl Weiner about Rosh Chodesh groups, SEL, and ways that girls think of themselves and their overlapping identities as they enter the cusp of adulthood.

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Envisioning Jewish Education

Ben Jacobs and Barry Chazan of George Washington University are joined by Rebecca Schorsch (Rochelle Zell Jewish High School, Chicago) and Hillel Broder (HALB, Long Island) to discuss “18 x 18,” a blueprint for Jewish education that proposes areas of knowledge and experience that Jews should obtain by the age of 18.

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Teacher Learning and Growth

What are Jewish schools doing to ensure that professional development is excellent and a top school priority? This conversation featuring Tammy Anagnostis, dean of Golda Och Academy's lower school, Rabbi Maccabee Avishur, academic dean and general studies principal at Heichal Hatorah, Dr. Arielle Levites, managing director of CASJE, Suzanne Mishkin, K-6 principal at Sager Solomon Schechter Day School and Flora Musleah, upper school dean of faculty at Golda Och Academy, starts from CASJE's recent study Career Trajectories of Jewish Educators and engages four day school educational leaders in the goals and methods of PD, the impact that it has on teachers' work and careers, and more.

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Behind the Gates. Looking Inside Day Schools.

Alex Pomson and Jack Wertheimer, authors of the recent book Inside Jewish Day Schools: Leadership, Learning and Community, speak with two school leaders featured in the book, Erica Rothblum and Ami Neuman, about the stories that their schools tell as well as larger stories of the field. They reflect upon how to tell our stories, what stories have emerged over the past few years, and which stories we might be reading in the near future.

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What We Learned from Online Learning

Now that Covid is waning and classrooms feel close to the old normal, what have we learned from two years of online and hybrid pedagogy? Despite the challenges and drawbacks, are there things that remote learning enables that we might preserve as we move forward? Hear a university researcher and two day school educators reflect on what was achieved during the pandemic.

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Educating Jewish Producers

What are we trying to achieve in Jewish education? What do martial arts have to teach us about pedagogy for Jewish learning? How do we think about community and autonomy, tradition and innovation, in day schools? Brandeis education professor Jon A. Levisohn is joined by heads of school Stephanie Ives at Beit Rabban in Manhattan and Rafi Cashman at Netivot HaTorah in Toronto to discuss what our schools are and might be.

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How Gender Impacts Education

How do students internalize and act out gender narratives in their relationships to their school, to different subjects, to their teachers and other students? How do teachers sometimes reinforce gender roles in the classroom, in ways that can harm students' confidence and limit their expression? Heads of school Jason Feld (Northwest Yeshiva High School in Mercer Island, WA) and Hannah Bennett (Briskin Elementary School at Temple Israel of Hollywood in Los Angeles, CA) join Jason Ablin to discuss these and other issues raised in Ablin's new book, The Gender Equation in Schools: How to Create Equity and Fairness for All Students.

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Embracing the Joys and the "Muckiness" of Israel Education

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. Listen Here

Foundation for Life - Excellence in Jewish Early Childhood Education

Learn about the vital, sophisticated work of Reggio-inspired Jewish early childhood educators from two day school administrators and a field leader who is also the author of a recent dissertation. The conversation ranges from the ways that educators understand the minds of young students to the development of Jewish identity and creativity, with a glimpse into the state of the field as well. Listen Here

Power Tools, Paper Weaving, Tightrope Walking: Purposes and Methods of Jewish Arts Education

Listen to a far-ranging podcast and expand your understanding of what Jewish arts education is and can be. Explore how one teacher sets up an artists beit midrash, and how students go about creating art from tefillah. Hear how students at another school pass through a collaborative, multilayered iterative process from study to the creation of objects. Explore the way that a rabbinical school teaches Biblical narrative texts and Talmudic Halakhic passages through the embodied learning of circus arts experiences. Discover how these programs conceive of the relationship between the social and individual aspects of creativity. Listen Here


Start-up Day School


Want to effect positive behavior changes in students? Be their coach.

Rabbi Yaakov Sadigh, the head of school at HANC, the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County, joins Josh Gold for a conversation about student behavior and support. They focus on shifting the ways that teachers and administrators work with students, especially regarding behavioral and social-emotional issues, from a punitive approach to one of guidance rooted in moral reflection based on Jewish values.

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Hearing the song beneath the words: Active listening strategies for school leaders

Bracha Rutner, interim head of school at the Yeshiva University High School for Girls ("Central"), participates in a discussion on active listening and empathy. She and Josh Gold explore the changing paradigm of good teaching, which requires teachers to be good listeners more than good speakers and to foster authentic dialogue between students. They also present ways to generate authentic dialogue with parents and teachers.

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Turning Challenge into Opportunity under COVID

Daniel Weiss, head of the Bornblum Jewish Community School in Memphis, discusses running a school under COVID: adapting to changing needs and conditions of education, new opportunities that may be arising now that will reap benefits later, and holding on to a school’s vision and strategic plan.

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Collaborating with Students

Dr. Eliana Lipsky, middle school principal at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland, discusses ways that her team works with students to help strengthen their sense of agency, through collaborative problem-solving and the study and practice of leadership. Hosted by Josh Gold, middle school principal at HAFTR in Lawrence, New York.

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"Driving the Car"--Project-Based Learning in Jewish Education

Tikvah Wiener, founding head of The Idea School in Tenafly, New Jersey, joins Josh Gold to discuss the goals and impact of project-based learning, the educational philosophy upon which her school is based. They talk about student agency, self-actualization and reaching deeper levels of knowledge. Hosted by Josh Gold, middle school principal at HAFTR in Lawrence, New York.

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Torah, Forest Baths, and Environmental Education

Yosef Gillers and Sara Just-Michaels, co-directors of Grow Torah, join Josh Gold to discuss their work leading a team of environmental educators employed in many day schools and camps. They explore their philosophy and pedagogy and the benefits of this learning for students. Hosted by Josh Gold, middle school principal at HAFTR in Lawrence, New York.

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Positive Psychology in Jewish Schools Two psychologists, Dr. Yali Werzberger, director of guidance and pupil personnel services at the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway (HAFTR), and Dr. Mordechai Schiffman, assistant professor at Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education, join Josh Gold in a timely discussion of the principles of positive psychology, its importance for teachers and students and its relation to Jewish values and texts. Listen Here
Leadership Coaching Start-up day school series Heads of school C. B. Neugroschl (Maayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls) and Rabbi Menachem Linzer (Hillel Torah) along with leadership coach Jane Taubenfeld Cohen join Josh Gold in a discussion of leadership coaching: what it is, how it works, why school leaders need it. Listen Here

What is Institutional Advancement?

Two directors of institutional advancement, Mandi Miller of Beth Tfiloh Dahan in Baltimore and Stephanie Bash-Soudry of Golda Och Academy in West Orange, New Jersey, delve into the nature of their role. They talk about the kinds of teamwork they perform with the administrative team and the faculty, and they discuss their work in ensuring that their schools' missions are powerful and in alignment with everything that takes place within the school and is communicated about the school. Listen Here

Prizmah Podcasts Live


The School as a Thinking Institution

Rabbi Tully Harczstark, founding principal of SAR High School in Riverdale, New York, presents Machon Siach, the school's research arm. Learn about how teachers study contemporary issues, drawing upon academic research and traditional Jewish texts, to innovate frameworks and curricula that speak to today's students.

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An Innovative Model for Teacher Training: The School as a Teaching Hospital

Building on the medical residency model, the Shefa Teacher Residency provides aspiring teachers with an alternative pathway that is grounded in deep clinical training and intensive on-site mentoring and support. Learn about the creation and implementation of the Teacher Residency and how it recruits, trains, and retains excellent new teachers. Rebecca Ritter, Head of Teaching and Learning at the Shefa School will share successes, challenges, lessons learned, and considerations for setting up a teacher residency program and other impactful models of professional development and cultivation at your school. Listen Here

Creating a Culture of Storytellers

We are the story we tell ourselves. In 2019, parents and school leaders at Brandeis Marin, a K-8 Jewish day school located in San Rafael, CA, began exploring ways to create a storytelling and story-capturing culture to enable deep, authentic and consistent connection within the school community. When the pandemic hit, the Brandeis Marin school community had developed its own version of The Moth (radio storytelling), doubling down on storytelling to deepen the sense of connection and belonging among its parents and in its community. Hear from Dr. Peg Sandel, Head of School and Barbara Cohen, Director of Techonology and Innovation at Brandeis Marin how a Jewish day school created a schoolwide initiative involving parents, teachers, students, staff, administrators and board members. Listen Here

Making Diversity A Strength In A Polarized Age

At the center of the mission of Luria Academy is diversity as a core value. But what happens when you’ve achieved your goal and you have created a uniquely diverse community? What does it mean to be in a relationship with people whose religious practice is different from yours? How do our students learn to approach one another from a place of curiosity and respect? How do we navigate political diversity in an increasingly polarized society? And how do we expand the lessons of the classroom into the parent community?

Learn about Luria’s journey of diversity from conception to reality. Head of School Amanda Pogany presents the success and challenges of leading a diverse community in general and in this moment. Gain strategies for this work with students, faculty and parents.

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Teaching Towards an Ethical Democracy

How can Jewish schools ensure that their graduates go on to be stewards of democracy? And how can Jewish educators teach students to connect Jewish ethics to the practices of citizenship? The Brandeis School of San Francisco has been wrestling with these questions since the 2016 election cycle. Hear from head of school Dr. Dan Glass about how Brandeis has worked to connect Jewish ethics and democratic habits of mind, from daily classroom rituals to annual celebrations. Dr. Glass will share about the school’s ongoing “Mifgash Project,” a collaborative design project seeking to build out a K-8 model of experiential civic education rooted in Jewish values.

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Organizational Structure as a Driver for Institutional Alignment and Change  Learn how a leadership team structure that is aligned with institutional values has the capacity to effect impactful and sustained change within a school environment. Explore the process by which the organizational structure of Schechter Boston was transformed into a distributed leadership model.  Listen Here
Prizmah Podcast Live: Jewish History - The Core Element of a Jewish Day School Education (Whether You Realize It or Not) Jewish history is central to Jewish education, and can be a locus of meaning, authority, and knowledge for all Jewish day school students. Listen to or watch a special live recording of the Prizmah Podcasts to explore how one school has made the teaching of Jewish History a signature component of its curriculum. Listen Here

JEIC's Keystones Podcast Series

JEIC’s mission aims to catalyze “radical improvement in Jewish Day schools,” and this series highlights some of the educators and leaders who are doing that, one bold idea at a time. Topics covered range from connecting students to tefillah through virtual reality, encouraging students to truly experience the Jewish laws and customs they are learning, cultivating respectful disagreement, fostering mental wellbeing, cultivating enthusiastic educators for our field, and so much more. All recordings were made at the Prizmah Conference in January 2023. Listen Here

JEIC Series on Educating About God in Jewish Schools

Rabbi Shmuel Feld, Founding Director of the Jewish Education Innovation Challenge, explores approaches for teaching God in Jewish day schools with three leading pedagogical experts. Listen Here

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