Working Paper Provides Fresh Data About Experiences of Educators in Jewish Settings

December 9, 2018

Teacher sits with student at a table.

Commissioned by the George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development and CASJE, the paper is part of major project exploring career development of educators in Jewish institutions of teaching and learning

***Comments on the working paper can be submitted to Joshua Fleck, [email protected]***

Washington, DC – A new working paper released today by the George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD) and CASJE (Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education) is the first report of a multi-year, comprehensive research project addressing the recruitment, retention, and development of educators working in Jewish settings in North America. “On the Journey” shares preliminary insights on individuals who work as Jewish educators today and by comparison with educators who either transitioned to administrative roles or left the field. Stakeholders focused on quality and impact of Jewish education across the country believe that attracting and nurturing talent is one of the greatest challenges today.

The multi-year research project, being conducted by Rosov Consulting, is funded with generous grants from the William Davidson Foundation and Jim Joseph Foundation. The concepts reviewed in the “On the Journey” report lay the foundations for additional analysis of relevant data on experiences of working educators, and for other parts of the study, which will continue over the next 18 months. GSEHD, CASJE, and the researchers welcome comments on the working paper, which can be submitted to Joshua Fleck, [email protected].

“This research lays the groundwork for a project that will provide useful evidence for policy makers, practitioners, funders, and other stakeholders, and inform decisions about how the field can attract and retain greater numbers of qualified educators,” said Bob Sherman, a leading expert and member of the CASJE leadership group. “This is pioneering research in Jewish education, critical for understanding the types of training and support systems needed to sustain and retain personnel.”

In this first phase of inquiry, researchers relied on intensive interviews, literature reviews, and other data to explore what motivates people to commit to working as Jewish educators, how they grow professionally, and in what ways their workplace conditions, lived experiences, and professional journeys shape their professional choices. Ultimately the project will provide new understanding of the working conditions and professional development interventions that make a difference to job satisfaction, self-efficacy, and career commitment. These outcomes are typically associated with educator retention and growth, and in turn learner participation, motivation, and educational outcomes.

The study benefits from independent advice of a group of technical advisers with expertise in Jewish education, statistical methods, and teacher labor markets.

Key insights from this Working Paper include:

  • The need to adopt broadly inclusive definitions of who is a “Jewish educator;”
  • The importance of measuring educator characteristics such as tenure, satisfaction, sense of self-efficacy, and commitment in conjunction with program qualities and workplace;
  • Implications of differences in the effects of workplace culture as reported in case studies of Jewish educators and in the general literature of school professional culture; and
  • The importance of examining whether and how prior experience in youth movements and summer camp prepare people for professional work in both formal and experiential educational settings.

Download the full Working Paper >



At the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GSEHD), we advance knowledge through meaningful research that improves the policy and practice of education. Together, more than 1,600 faculty, researchers and graduate students make up the GSEHD community of scholars. Founded in 1909, GSEHD continues to take on the challenges of the 21st century because we believe that education is the single greatest contributor to economic success and social progress.

The Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education (CASJE) is an evolving community of researchers, practitioners, and philanthropic leaders dedicated to improving the quality of knowledge that can be used to guide the work of Jewish education. The Consortium supports research shaped by the wisdom of practice, practice guided by research, and philanthropy informed by a sound base of evidence.

The William Davidson Foundation is a private family foundation that honors its founder and continues his lifelong commitment to philanthropy, advancing for future generations the economic, cultural and civic vitality of Southeast Michigan, the State of Israel, and the Jewish community. For more information, visit

The Jim Joseph Foundation seeks to foster compelling, effective Jewish learning experiences for young Jews in the United States. Established in 2006, the Jim Joseph Foundation has awarded more than $500 million in grants with the aspiration that all Jews, their families, and their friends will be inspired by Jewish learning experiences to lead connected, meaningful, and purpose-filled lives and make positive contributions to their communities and the world.