College Faculty

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Leonard and Ethel Landau Professor of Rabbinics, Director, Jewish-Christian Studies Program and MA in Interfaith Leadership

Phone: 215-635-7300 x168

Email: [email protected]

Biography

Dr. Ruth N. Sandberg is Leonard and Ethel Landau Professor of Rabbinics at Gratz College, and is the Director of the graduate Certificate in Jewish-Christian Studies and the MA in Interfaith Leadership. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, and served for three years as the co-President of the Cheltenham Area Multifaith Council. Dr. Sandberg also teaches in the Gratz College Scholars Program for Adult Education. From 2006 to 2008, she served as Dean of Students at Gratz. Before coming to Gratz, Dr. Sandberg served for five years as Director of Education at Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Sandberg received her BA in Classical Greek and History of Religion from Bryn Mawr College; Rabbinical Ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; and a Ph.D. in Post-Biblical Hebrew Literature, specializing in Rabbinics, from the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Sandberg’s areas of special interest include: the relationship between Rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity; Jewish-Christian relations; Interfaith Studies; early Rabbinic midrash; classical Rabbinic theology; and the process of Jewish law. Dr. Sandberg is the author of two books: Rabbinic Views of Qohelet (Mellen Biblical Press, 1999) and Development and Discontinuity in Jewish Law (University Press of America 2002). She has also contributed a chapter to The Words of the Wise Are Like Goads: Engaging Qoheleth in the 21st Century (2013), a chapter on “Talking with Heretics: Pluralism in Rabbinic Judaism and its Impact on Pedagogy,” in Studies in Judaism and Pluralism (Ben Yehuda Press, 2016), an article on “The Shared Beliefs of Judaism and Islam,” in The Fountain Magazine (May 2016), and a journal article on “Rethinking the Notion of Universality in Judaism and its Implications,” in Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations (VOL 12, NO 1 (2017).

Personal Statement

On Interfaith Studies and Interfaith Understanding
There is a tremendous need for greater religious understanding between Jews, Christians, and Muslims, as well as broader academic knowledge in interfaith studies, and formally educated people are sorely needed for these challenges. The ultimate solution to creating interfaith understanding is through knowledge – being educated in your own tradition and learning about others’ faiths. No matter how much we may want to create peace between Jews, Christians, and Muslims, or any other religious traditions, it is not possible without spending time really learning about each other’s beliefs and practices and accepting where we have true differences. No amount of good will can replace the gaping hole where ignorance resides. The process of acquiring knowledge is the way to prevent future religious bigotry, hatred, and violence.

 

Adjunct Instructor in Jewish Education

Dr. Jeffrey Schein is currently the director of the Text Me: Ancient Jewish Wisdom Meets Contemporary Technology project of the Covenant Foundation.  He is the senior education consultant for Jewish Education of the Mordecai M Kaplan Center for Jewish Peoplehood and also a professor in the joint doctoral program in educational leadership of Hebrew College and Lesley College.

For twenty four years  he was a Professor and Director of the Education Department at the Laura and Alvin Siegal College of Judaic Studies in Cleveland where he taught and mentored over 100 graduate students who received their Masters’ degree in Jewish education.   He also served as the senior consultant to the Lekhu Lakhem project of the Mandel Jewish Center, a major initiative to change the Jewish character of eighteen JCC camps across North America through the professional development of their directors.  He served the Mandel foundation as a member of the visioning professors group convened to enlarge the uses of the groundbreaking Visions of Jewish Education volume (Fox, Marom, and Sheffler)

For seventeen years he served as the education director and then senior consultant for Jewish education to the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation.  For nine years he served on the faculty of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.  For three years he directed the Project Mishpacha initiative of the Greater Jewish community of Philadelphia and for three years he was the director of the Adolescent Initiative of the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland. He was the education director of Reform and Conservative synagogue programs for fifteen years.  

Within the Reconstructionist  community,  Dr. Schein is the founding Rabbi of congregation Kol HaLev, the Reconstructionist community of Cleveland. He was the first non-pulpit Rabbi to receive the Ira Eisenstein award for community service.  

Beyond the Reconstructionist community, Dr. Schein's leadership positions have included serving as national program chair for the Coalition for Alternatives in Jewish Education and President of the association for Institutions of Higher Jewish Learning of North America.

Dr. Schein is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (1977) and of the doctoral program in curriculum studies of Temple University (1980).   He is the author (or co-author) of the following works: Creative Jewish Education (Rossel books), Targilon: a Guide for Charting the Course of Jewish Family Education (JESNA  and JRF), Windows on the Jewish Soul (JRF), Growing Together: Resources, Programs and Experiences for Jewish Family Education (ARE/Behrman House), and most recently Kol Ha-No’ar: The Voice of Children (a prayer book for young children and their families, JRF) as well as numerous journal articles about Jewish, general, and religious education.

With his wife Deborah, an early childhood professor, he has developed a seminar series "The 100 Languages of Children Meet the 70 Faces of Torah" designed to create frameworks for learning across the Jewish life cycle. Together Jeffrey and Deborah presented the seminar as guest scholars for Leo Baeck College and the Jewish community of Great Britain in the spring of 2004, at Siegal College in 2009 and 2013, in West Palm Beach in 2009 and in Detroit in 2010.

 

Christine Schmidt holds a B.A. in History from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and a certificate in Museum Studies with special focus on exhibition development from The George Washington University. She earned her Ph.D. in History from Clark University (2003) in the first-ever doctoral program in Holocaust and genocide studies. Her research has focused on the history of Jewish daily life in hiding in south-central France. Schmidt's areas of special focus include Vichy France, twentieth-century European history, and comparative genocide. Her most recent research has focused on a comparative study of rescue and resistance under collaborationist regimes, namely Vichy France and Hungary during the Second World War. Schmidt has held two post-doctoral fellowships in Budapest, one from the Hungarian Ministry of Education and the other from the U.S. Fulbright Scholar exchange. She has worked as an applied researcher at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and as the Director of Education at the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, for which she continues to consult on the development of pedagogical materials. At the USHMM, she conducted extensive research for and contributed dozens of entries to the recently published first volume of The Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945, which won the 2009 National Jewish Book Award. Schmidt is currently an adjunct Assistant Professor of History at the University of Maryland University College, and she serves as a consultant on various applied research projects and museum exhibitions.

Jonathan grew up in a small town in south Louisiana and graduated from Louisiana State University in 2003 with a degree in Marketing. While never attending a traditional camp growing up, Jonathan spent college summers in Maine at Camp Laurel, and in Michigan at Camp Miniwanca. After graduation, he spent the next eight years as the Boys' Director of Camp Champions, a residential summer camp outside of Austin, TX. In 2012, Jonathan left Camp Champions to pursue a Masters’ degree in Higher Education Administration and Leadership, and to run leadership programs for the University of Houston Bauer College of Business. In 2016, he returned to camping, this time in the nonprofit world, as the Camping Director for YMCA CAMP CLASSEN, a residential camp located in Davis, OK. Finally, Jonathan returned to Louisiana in June of 2019 to take on the role of VP of Operations for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Acadiana. Jonathan has an incredible wife (Taylor), two girls (Clara and Eleanor), and a new son (Henry).

Mark Snyder began educating in the high school English & Mathematics classroom in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and has also taught High School Special Education at Wordsworth Academy and a Cyber Charter High School.  He has since been teaching in the Temple University School of Education as well as Cabrini College.  He attended the University of Pennsylvania for his undergraduate work and completed his Masters in Special Education and PhD in Educational Psychology at Temple University.  His personal research interests consist of classroom assessment, teacher change, and post-secondary special education populations.  Mark hopes his courses help to make the research being done in education more accessible and relevant for the practitioners it is meant to inform. 
He lives in Abington with his wife and twin 3 year old daughters.

Dr. Spickermann is Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas Permian Basin, where he teaches courses ranging from modern Germany, modern Europe, and modern China to more thematic graduate courses on industrialization, democratization, and the Holocaust. A UC Berkeley graduate, he earned his PhD in German history at the University of Michigan in 1994. His doctorate concerned the interactions of state policy, ethnic rivalry, and political mobilization in an eastern frontier province of the German Empire. He is currently working on a quite different subject: a book on the history of adoption in 20th-century Germany. He is also the book review editor for Nationalities Papers, the journal of the Association for the Study of Nationalities, an organization specializing in the politics and history of Eastern Europe, the former Soviet sphere, and the Middle East.

Adjunct Instructor in Early Education

Rosalie St. Clair is an adjunct instructor in the Early Education Program teaching Play as the Foundation of Learning. She was originally from the Pittsburgh area and graduated from Indiana University of PA with a Bachelor of Science in El Ed, certified in PS through grade 8. Her graduate work was completed at Penn State.
Rosalie’s first teaching position was in Latrobe, PA—home of Mr. Rogers. Later she moved to Bedford, PA where she owned and taught in a private Kindergarten. She also taught ESEA reading and grade one in the district, and a career development course for Mt. Aloysius Junior College.
From there she moved back to western PA where she taught the grades 4-6 gifted program in Grove City Intermediate School.
Most recently, she worked at Kutztown University for ten years, teaching a variety of courses in both the early education and the grades 4-8 tract and also supervised professional field experiences and student teachers.

Elisha Stein is a Philadelphia-based Jewish educator, attorney, and writer who teaches contemporary Jewish topics, ethics, law, and Talmud. He earned his J.D. with honors from The George Washington University, where he also did graduate work in Russian and East European Studies. Elisha holds an M.A. in Jewish Education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a certificate in Jewish Studies from Mechon Pardes. He did his undergraduate work (B.A.) in Philosophy and Russian Studies at Muhlenberg College. Elisha practiced law (business and civil litigation) for ten years before focusing exclusively on Jewish education.

Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Associate Professor of History

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 215-635-7300 x 144

Dr. Michael C. Steinlauf holds an M.A. in Literature from Columbia University and a doctorate in Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. He is the author of Bondage to the Dead: Poland and the Memory of the Holocaust (1997), which examines how the experience of witnessing the Holocaust shaped Polish history and consciousness in the half century after World War II. He was a contributing editor to the YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe (Yale University Press, 2008), responsible for entries on theater and performance, and the editor of Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry, v. 16 (2003), the first collection of studies focusing on Jewish popular culture in Poland and its contemporary afterlife. His writings have been translated into Polish, Hebrew, German and Italian. Professor Steinlauf has also been active in various kinds of Jewish memory work in Poland. He has lectured at the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival and the University of Warsaw, taught in the Musicians' Raft program organized by the Borderlands Foundation in Sejny, Poland, and served as chief historical advisor and curator of modern Jewish culture for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw. He is currently at work on a study of the Yiddish writer and activist Y. L. Peretz. 

Keynote address at YIVO commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the death of Y. L. Peretz

Adjunct Professor of American Jewish History

Lance J. Sussman, Ph.D., is the Senior Rabbi of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, PA, and Adjunct Professor of American Jewish History at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion-New York. He is the author of numerous books and articles including Isaac Leeser and the Making of American Judaism and Sharing Sacred Moments, a collection of his sermons. An editor of Reform Judaism in America: A Biographical Dictionary and Source Book, Rabbi Sussman is a member of the Academic Advisory and Editorial Board of the American Jewish Archives (Cincinnati) and past chair of the Judaic Studies Department at Binghamton University B SUNY. He currently serves as the president of the Delaware Valley Association of Reform Rabbis, as a member of the Executive Council of the Philadelphia Board of Rabbis, and as a Trustee of the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

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