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Student Research Arms Educators in the Field with Empirical Evidence    

The Azrieli Papers Volume II: Commonplaces Uncommon Research, a collection of student research from Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School for Jewish Education and Administration, has recently been released by Michael Scharf Publication Trust of the Yeshiva University Press.

Azrieli Papers Volume 2Edited by Azrieli Dean Dr. David J. Schnall and Associate Dean Dr. Moshe Sokolow, the volume builds on the previous work’s careful analysis and cutting-edge research in areas of Jewish education that include teaching, administration and methodology. Unlike the first volume, however, the new edition consists entirely of student work adapted from doctoral dissertations. “This book showcases the work of our students, who are concurrently professionals and school leaders,” said Schnall. “It serves as a model for others committed to furthering the direction and the quality of this vital area of Jewish life, yet staying within the parameters of Orthodox traditions and values.”

Volume II includes essays by Laya Salomon on “The Decision to Teach: Why Orthodox Jewish Day School Teachers Chose the Profession”; Elie Tuchman on “The Influence of Formative Pre-Service Experiences on the Self-Efficacy of Teachers at Jewish Day Schools”; Steven Eisenberg on “Spiritual and Religious Mentoring: The Role of Rabbis and Teachers as Social Supporters with Jewish Modern Orthodox High School Graduates who are Spending a Year of Study in Israel”; and Malka Lanner on “Contributing Factors to the Satisfaction of Jewish Day School Educators.”

“I think what’s really wonderful about this volume is that it showcases the variety of research our doctoral students have been engaged in,” said Dr. Moshe Krakowski, director of the Azrieli masters program. “Because our students are themselves leaders in Jewish education out in the field, what we end up seeing is a compilation of extremely relevant, timely research that speaks to practitioners while being grounded in a real research base.”

Dr. Rona Novick, director of the Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Doctoral Program at Azrieli, noted that in many cases, the research done by the student authors were the only studies that had been conducted on these topics in Jewish day schools. “While diverse in the topics they address, the chapters share a dedication to careful investigation of important issues, and a passion to bring knowledge to the field,” she said.

“The Azrieli Papers demonstrates YU’s ongoing commitment to developing a bridge between research and practice, so that research is informed by a strong relationship with the field of Jewish education and the field is informed through empiricism,” said Dr. Scott J. Goldberg, vice provost for teaching and learning at YU. “This volume is a celebration of all the spaces where learning happens and a source of support to those who lead, teach, and learn in them.”

The Azrieli Papers were initially launched as a special edition of Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought. The first volume, Dimensions of Orthodox Jewish Day School Education, has been well-received and was praised by Aliza Segal in The Journal of Jewish Education as “recommended reading for people involved in Jewish education in many capacities and across multiple settings.”

“People who research, practice, and care deeply about Jewish education in a wide variety of denominational settings will find the deliberations, conceptualizations, and recommendations in this collection resonating with their thoughts and experiences,” Segal wrote.

The Azrieli Papers series is made possible through the generous support of Henry and Golda Reena Rothman.