College Faculty | Gratz College

College Faculty



Dr. Ferraro, a Philadelphia native, is a graduate of Gratz Hebrew High School. After earning a Bachelor of Music in music therapy from Temple University, Dr. Ferraro returned to Gratz College to earn both a Master of Arts and a doctorate in Jewish Education. In fact, Dr. Ferraro was the first person to earn an EdD in Jewish Education at Gratz College. Her doctoral work explored special needs Jewish education in Philadelphia. 
Dr. Ferraro has served as Director of Education at Old York Road Temple – Beth Am for twenty years. During that time, Mimi was involved in NESS- Nurturing Excellence in Synagogue Schools, a change initiative for synagogue educational programs and whole synagogue communities. While in that position, she has also worked at Ramah Day Camp as the Tikvah Inclusion specialist and head of services and served on a variety of committees at Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education and Jewish Learning Venture.  Mimi has led many workshops for synagogues participating in NESS and for teachers throughout the country. She was an adjunct Professor currently teaching in the MEd program at Gratz College.
In 2017, Dr. Ferraro was ordained from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.  She serves as Rabbi at Tiferes B’nai Israel in Warrington where she has been for 5 years and as a hospice chaplain for Abramson Senior Care. 
When not working her many jobs, Mimi enjoys her family with her husband, Stephe, and their  children, Jocelyn and Zack and grandson Owen, Ally and Zack, Ben and Erica. 

President of Gratz College

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 215-635-7300 x131

Paul Finkelman received his B.A. in American Studies from Syracuse University in 1971 and his Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago in 1976.  He was later a Fellow in Law and Humanities at Harvard Law School. He has held a number of endowed chairs as a tenured professor or as a visitor, including the Ariel F. Sallows Chair in Human Rights Law at the University of Saskatchewan, the John Hope Franklin Chair in American Legal History at Duke Law School, and the President William McKinley Distinguished Professor at Albany Law School.   In 2017 he held the Fulbright Chair in Human Rights and Social Justice at the University of Ottawa School of Law, in Ottawa, Canada and was also the John E. Murray Visiting Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  He is the author of more than 200 scholarly articles and the author or editor of more than fifty books.  His most recent book, Supreme Injustice:  Slavery in the Nation’s Highest Court, was published by Harvard University Press in 2018. 
He has published in a wide variety of areas including American Jewish history, American legal history, constitutional law, and legal issues surrounding baseball.  His work has been cited in five decisions by the United States Supreme Court. Most recently Justice Ginsburg quoted him in her unanimous decision in Tims v. Indiana. He has been quoted in numerous other courts, and in many appellate briefs.  He has lectured on slavery, human trafficking, and human rights issue at the United Nations, throughout the United States, and in more than a dozen other countries, including China, Germany, Israel, and Japan.  In 2014, he was ranked as the fifth most cited legal historian in American legal scholarship in Brian Leiter’s “Top Ten Law Faculty Scholarly Impact, 2009-2013.”  He was an expert witness in the famous Alabama Ten Commandments Monument Case (Glassroth v. Moore) and in the law suit over the ownership of Barry Bonds’ 73rd home run ball (Popov v. Hayashi). 

Director of the Holocaust Oral History Archive

Phone: 215-635-7300 x130

Email: [email protected]

Josey G. Fisher, Director of the Holocaust Oral History Archive and Instructor in Holocaust & Genocide Studies at Gratz College, has graduate degrees in both clinical social work and Jewish studies and has focused her interdisciplinary background on Holocaust research and education for over 30 years. She received her BA and MSW from the University of Pittsburgh and her Masters in Jewish Studies with a major in Modern European Jewish History from Gratz College.
 Her course offerings include “Teaching the Holocaust” and “Children of the Nazi Era”. In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member in the history department of Moore College of Art and Design.

She serves as an independent Holocaust education consultant to multiple local, national and international programs. Through the Jewish Community Relations Council, she edits a bi-annual newsletter for Holocaust educators. She serves as Holocaust education consultant to the Bearing Witness Program for Catholic educators, co-sponsored by ADL, the Archdiocese and the USHMM. On three occasions, she coordinated and accompanied three groups of Philadelphia teens to Poland and Israel through the International March of the Living. She has also served as a consultant for Holocaust documentaries and educational films, curricula, and pedagogical guidelines.  

She has received the Korczak Teaching Award from the American Friends of the Ghetto Fighters’ Museum for her work on the International Book-Sharing Project of Ghetto Fighters’ Museum and Yad LaYeled Children’s Museum and Memorial in Israel.

She is a founding convener of the Consortium of Holocaust Educators of Greater Philadelphia; member of the Advisory Committee to the PA Department of Education regarding Act 70 legislation (“strongly encourag(ing) instruction in Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Violations”); and serves as Board Member of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations of Saint Joseph’s University.

Her publications include The Persistence of Youth: Oral Testimonies of the Holocaust, containing fifteen accounts of young people, drawn from the Gratz College Archive; contributions to the four-volume encyclopedia The Holocaust: A Grolier Student Library; and the Foreward to The Call of Memory: Learning About the Holocaust through Narrative – A Teacher’s Guide.

Laurie Fisher is an adjunct instructor who teaches for the M.Ed program and for Gratz Academy. Laurie has been an educator since graduating college the first time 32 years ago in both formal and informal settings from Girl Scouts USA, JCCs, synagogues, YMCAs, Hillel, and for the past three years at Gratz. Her academic interests include teacher education and professional development, especially in the areas of critical reflective practice and innovative pedagogies, the use of multiple intelligences in the classroom, educational history and philosophy, the flipped classroom, Jewish history, and Rabbinics.

Laurie earned her B.A. from the University of Tennessee with a double major in English Literature and Art History. She also has a Master's in Jewish Education and a Master's in Jewish Studies from Gratz in addition to her doctorate in Education. Her dissertation entitled, "'So exciting, so rich and right':  A Constructivist Grounded Theory of the Jewish Afterschool Program," studied five independent Jewish afterschool programs and developed a ground theory of the independent Jewish afterschool.  An article written by Laurie published in eJewishPhilanthropy makes the case for why these innovative and growing programs deserve more funding from philanthropists.

As an educator Laurie loves exploring and reflecting on the processes of teaching and learning. She is happiest when deeply into developing a new class or rethinking an old one and evolving creative ways to appropriately challenge her students. She is married to an educator and the mother of a human doctor, two canines, and two felines. In addition she is the caretaker of an ever-growing stash of yarn and fabric!

Adjunct Professor of History

Dr. Reena Sigman Friedman is Adjunct Professor of Jewish History at Gratz College. She is also Associate Professor of Modern Jewish History at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.

Dr. Friedman received her PhD in Jewish History from Columbia University. She is the author of These Are Our Children: Jewish Orphanages in the United States, 1880-1925 (Brandeis University Press, 1994), several encyclopedia entries and book chapters, and numerous scholarly articles. Her articles have appeared in American Jewish Archives, Jewish Social Studies, The Reconstructionist, and other academic journals. She served as a Consultant to the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History at Temple University for a textbook series on American Jewish History for middle and high school students and an oral history project dealing with the Soviet Jewry movement in Philadelphia. 

Dr. Friedman lectures widely to synagogue and  organizational groups on topics related to Jewish history, Jewish women and the contemporary Jewish community, and has taught in many adult education programs (including the Scholars’ Program at Gratz). Recently, she taught a course on “American Jews and Social Justice” at the National Museum of American Jewish History, and is a member of the Museum’s Education Committee.

Ilana Dvorin Friedman is a child development consultant, instructor, and researcher. She is passionate about anti-bias education, giving voice to educators’ experiences, and designing and implementing professional development opportunities. Ilana’s work focuses on the interplay between culture and child development and the roles of social justice and inquiry in the early childhood classroom. Over the last decade, she has been an adjunct instructor at a variety of academic institutions teaching courses such as child development, family and culture, and social and historical perspectives on early care and education. Ilana graduated with her PhD in child development from the dual program at Loyola University Chicago and Erikson Institute completing her dissertation on gender beliefs of teachers in Orthodox Jewish early childhood programs. Ilana lives in Chicago with her husband and their four children.