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Educating in the Divine Image: Gender Issues in Orthodox Jewish Day Schools Wins Education Category

A book coauthored by Dr. Chaya Rosenfeld Gorsetman, associate professor of education at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women, has received the 2013 Education and Jewish Identity – In Memory of Dorothy Kripke National Jewish Book Award, an honor bestowed by the Jewish Book Council.

Dr. Chaya Rosenfeld Gorsetman

Dr. Chaya Rosenfeld Gorsetman

The book, Educating in the Divine Image: Gender Issues in Orthodox Day Schools, was co-written by Gorsetman and Elana Maryles Sztokman and draws on studies in education, social science, and psychology along with personal interviews to illustrate how gender inequalities and unhealthy gender identities are perpetuated in many Orthodox Jewish day schools. Topics covered in the work range from pedagogy and school practices to single sex versus coed schooling, dress codes, sex education, Jewish rituals and gender hierarchies in educational leadership. The book also offers concrete resources and suggestions for transforming educational practice.

educating in the divine image“The purpose of this book is to raise awareness of gender sensitivity and how it is addressed in Jewish day schools,” said Gorsetman. “Considering how much has changed in the domain of women’s education in the past 15 years, it seems significant that day schools have for the most part, not taken the time to address the gender issue. Very few coed Orthodox Jewish schools employ women principals or heads of school; many Orthodox schools assert that they address the unique needs of every child yet do not address the issue of gender in their mission statements.”

She added, “We anticipate that by acknowledging the book with this award, Jewish schools will take interest and familiarize themselves  with our research to address the issue of gender in an intentional and deliberate fashion. We are hopeful that this will lead to a more meaningful Jewish education for both boys and girls.”