College Faculty | Gratz College

College Faculty



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]


Dr. Ruth N. Sandberg is the Leonard and Ethel Landau Professor of Rabbinics at Gratz College, and is the Director of the BA in Jewish Studies and Jewish Professional Studies and the MA in Interfaith Leadership.  She is  is a member of the board of Directors of the Insitute for Jewish-Catholic Relations at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, and served three years as the co-President of the Cheltenham Area Multifaith Council, a local organization that promotes interfaith understanding. Dr. Sandberg is also on the Board of the CCJR (Council of Centers for Jewish-Christian Relations), a national organization that promotes academic research, as well as Jewish-Christian dialogue.  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 a Rabbi and Director of Education at Reform Congregation Kenesth Israel in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.

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

Dr. Sandberg's areas of special interst 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. 


Adjunct Faculty

Jeffrey Schein is an adjunct instructor of Jewish education here at Gratz College. He is a 1977 graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and a 1980 doctoral graduate in education from Temple University.   For forty years he ran Jewish schools, developed Jewish curricular materials, and taught and guided over a 100 graduate students to their masters degrees in Jewish education at Siegal College in Cleveland where he was the director of the education program.  He is the author of twelve books and dozens of articles appearing in Jewish and religious education journals.

He founded and now directs the Text Me and Amphibious Jew projects through his position as the senior education consultant for the Mordecai Kaplan Center for Jewish Peoplehood. His recently published book Text Me: Ancient Jewish Wisdom Meets Contemporary Technology (2019, Hamilton Press) is also available in digital formats via his website

His work and life partner is Dr. Deborah Schein.  They are the proud parents of three children (Ben, Jonah, and Hana) and their three grandchildren Ilan, Tali, and Aryeh.

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).

Eiren Shuman, born in New York City and raised in Philadelphia, received his BFA in dance at Temple University in 2008. Holding dual citizenship with the UK, he went on to train at the conservatory Trinity Laban, returning to Philadelphia in 2011. Having the distinct honor to perform, study, and teach dance internationally -not only in Europe but also in West Africa and East Asia- Eiren has received some of the best technique training the world has to offer, as well as extensive and rich choreographic training from multiple perspectives and cultural backgrounds. Dedicating his life to performance as well as movement education, Eiren has a long history of teaching movement and creative thinking to all ages and levels, and completed his MFA at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2016. Since relocating to New York, Eiren has presented several new live performances, as well as begun exploring mixed media through installation and photography. Outside of the dance community Eiren has also enjoyed working as a figure model for many years, creating a personal practice that celebrates collaboration and combines stillness as well as movement.

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.

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.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 215-635-7300 x133

Lance J. Sussman, Ph.D. is Chair  of the Board of Governors of Gratz College and Senior  Rabbi of Reform congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, PA. Sussman has a BA from Franklin and Marshall College (1975) in Religious Studies, a Masters of Arts  in Hebrew Letters (1979) and rabbinic ordination from the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati ( HUC, 1980). In 1987, Sussman received his PhD in Jewish history from HUC.

Rabbi Sussman has taught at a number of universities and colleges in the United States. A tenured professor of History at SUNY-Binghamton, he also was the Chair of the Binghamton Jewish Studies Program before moving to Philadelphia in 2001. Additionally, Sussman has taught at Princeton University, Hunter College and Rutgers. In 2019, he was appointed as Professor of History at Gratz College. Rabbi Sussman is a prolific author and popular lecturer in the field of America Jewish history.