For Educational Leaders

Hebrew College’s Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education, in association with Combined Jewish Philanthropies, provides professional development services for the Jewish community; including specific courses in the areas of special education, congregational education, early childhood education and experiential education. Whether you are new to your educational career or an experienced professional, Hebrew College provides seminars, lectures, workshops and conferences that can help you increase your knowledge, refine your expertise and advance your career.

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Early Childhood Institute

Innovative Jewish Education
Leader and innovator in early childhood Jewish Education since 1987

Founding Director: Ina Regosin
Current Director: Rachel Raz, MJEd`06

Through its academic and professional development programs, the Early Childhood Institute (ECI) has trained hundreds of educators who have impacted thousands of children and their families. Since 2004, all academic programs have been available online enabling communities across the country and around the world to have access to the comprehensive professional development courses that Hebrew College has to offer.

As a pluralistic institution, ECI has students who represent all Jewish affiliations and levels of religious observance as well as those not of the Jewish faith who work in the Jewish community. In addition, in collaboration with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, the Lappin Foundation, the Gelfand Family Charitable Trust and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) of Boston, the ECI designs and offers educational programs tailored for specific communities.

Jewish Education Conferences

Drawing on its many years of experience as a provider of professional development for early childhood educators in the Jewish community, the annual Early Childhood Conference offers a series of professional development workshops designed to increase Judaic and pedagogic knowledge and practice. These workshop are tailored to the professional development needs of educators, clergy and professionals working with children and families (infant through Grade 2) in day schools, congregational schools, preschools or family education settings.

→ Learn More About Past Conferences

Learning Opportunities


National Advocacy & Research

Articles & Publications

Alumni Books 

  • ABC Israel by Rachel Raz
  • The Colors of Israel by Rachel Raz
  • Ella’s Trip to Israel by Vivian Newman
  • Tikkun Olam Ted by Vivian Newman
  • Moti the Mitzvah Mouse by Vivian Newman

Boston-Haifa Early Childhood Educators Connection

The Boston Haifa Early Childhood Educators Connection strives to build meaningful and long lasting bridges between educators, students and their families in Haifa and the Greater Boston area. The program includes a personal exchange in which educators from Boston partner with preschool teachers, or gananot, in Haifa. These ambassadors, or shagrirot are involved in ongoing professional development programs. Participants in the program are engaged in constant communication utilizing Facebook, blogs, video conferences, email, package exchange and in-person seminars in both Boston and Haifa.

Throughout the program, knowledge of and connection to Israel and the Jewish Diaspora is enriched. Participants learn and share programs and curricula drawn from their experiences with their own classrooms, schools and communities, strengthening leadership and forging deep personal and professional partnerships. Since its establishment in 2001, the Connection has influenced thousands of Jewish educators. This program is funded by Hebrew College, the Combined Jewish Philanthropies and the Haifa municipality and Department of Education.

Greater Boston Early Childhood Directors Council

The Early Childhood Directors Council provides a central platform for the professional development, collaboration, engagement and personal growth of a diverse community of early-childhood preschool directors. Approximately 30 Jewish preschool directors participate in the council, which is funded by Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston.

On-Site, School-Based Professional Development

The Early Childhood Institute sends its faculty to teach an entire preschool staff, based on a topic of interest, at their site. The impact of learning as a community can have a transforming influence on a school. Some of the topics the ECI has offered include:

  • Bringing Israel to the Early Childhood Classroom
  • Fall Holidays
  • Spring Holidays
  • Teaching Hebrew to Young Children
  • Shabbat and Havdalah: The Why, the What and the How?
  • Trees in Jewish Texts and Thoughts: An Orchard of Relationships
  • K’lal Israel for Young Children: Cultural and Ethnic Diversity

Community-Based, Professional-Development Programs

The Early Childhood Institute offers professional development to communities in various localities based on their needs and interest. These sessions can be delivered in person, online or a combination of both. Funded by the Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation, we currently serve the community of the North Shore of Massachusetts. Educators from day schools, religious schools and preschools meet five times during the semester. Topics explored in the past have included “Teaching Hebrew to Young Children: Circle Time,” “Teaching Hebrew to Young Children: Celebrations” and “Enriching the Early-Childhood Jewish Curriculum Using Children’s Literature.”

The PJ Library: Going Beyond the Books

The Early Childhood Institute provides a distance-learning seminar designed for book-based family program coordinators. The seminar’s intent is to advance participants’ skills in conducting meaningful book-based programs for families with young children. In 2010-11, the year-long series of webinars “All Around the Year with the PJ Library: Techniques and Tools for Creating Meaningful Book-Based Family Programs” reached more than 100 participants from across the country. The program is fully funded by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.

Center for Jewish Special Education

The Center for Jewish Special Education is dedicated to expanding and strengthening educators’ ability to support students with special needs in Jewish formal and informal educational settings.

Initially funded by a gift from Bernard J. Korman, the center builds on Hebrew College’s extensive experience in preparing Jewish educators to work with students with special needs in inclusive settings, whether as classroom teachers or as Jewish special educators. Integrating the fields of special education and Judaic education, the center strives to address current issues facing educators in Jewish day, congregational and supplemental schools as well as camps and teen programs.

In 2008, the Korman Family Chair in Jewish Education was established, the first of its kind in the country. This professorship provides administrative and academic leadership, vision and scholarship to Hebrew College’s Center for Jewish Special Education.

Professional-development opportunities exist through graduate classes and an annual conference. The center can also tailor professional development opportunities to be delivered on-site.

Annual Conference

The center’s Jewish Special Education Conference brings together educators across the United States, Canada, and Israel to share current research and practices in day and supplemental schools as well as informal settings. Since 2009, hundreds of educators have participated in stimulating sessions and discussions about educating students with special learning needs in Jewish educational settings.

Congregational Education Initiative

CEI is a teacher professional development program, offered jointly by Hebrew College and CJP’s Jewish Learning Connections. The ultimate goal of the intensive nature of the CEI professional development model is to create a long-term effect on teaching and learning within the school, and to transform the school culture regarding student learning, teacher cooperation, and professional growth.

Current Four Sub-Programs of CEI

Philosophy for Children (P4C)

CEI is offering professional development in an approach to Jewish texts and tradition (particularly, Bible) that engages students in “doing philosophy–philosophizing” around important questions such as: What is goodness? What kind of life is worth living? The approach helps children make sense out of their experience and develop a world view. Dr. Jen Glaser, Director of the Engaging Texts Network (click here to learn more) developed this approach with two Covenant grants. She leads training sessions in the Boston area with Susan Morrel, a faculty member of Hebrew College. Ms. Morrel offers support to schools, provides professional development in this approach, and develops the network locally. Read about the impact that Dr. Glaser’s work is having on schools and educators by clicking here. Educators who participate in her seminars will have the opportunity not only to apply the approach in their classrooms, but also to be part of a national Community of Practice.

Project-Based Expeditionary Learning (PBL)

CEI works with selected teachers and educational directors from four schools to introduce project-based learning into their school curriculum and structure. The program focuses on training in the principles and implementation of expeditionary projects. Each school is matched with an experienced consultant to guide the teacher as the project progresses. CEI supports these schools beyond the initial year. This program is in its third cycle working with three new schools and two previous schools. (Designer-Trainer: Ronit Ziv-Kreger)

Havruta-Inspired Pedagogy

Hevruta learning is an age-old pedagogy of learning in pairs. Based on a theory of hevruta learning developed at the Brandeis Mandel Center, this program shapes its sessions around a Beit Midrash for teachers. The program introduces and initiates teachers into particular hevruta frameworks and modes of learning. In Hevruta learning sessions there are three key components: two students and the text. The modes in which hevruta learners engage include three pairs of core practices: listening and articulating; wondering and focusing; and, supporting and challenging. (Coordinator/Instructor: Allison Cook and Orit Kent)

Clinical Mentor Faculty Program (CMF)

This group of supplementary school leaders meets to strengthen the vision and skill for teacher development in their programs, and to become part of a cohort of Clinical Mentor Faculty at Hebrew College. This professional learning community comes together to learn and practice core skills of mentoring teachers, to share their experiences, and to identify and discuss key challenges and opportunities in the field of Jewish supplementary education. As part of the program, the Coordinator visits each participant’s site to co-observe [HF1] a teacher, and then reflect on the observation and its follow-up. This program is engaged with its second cohort of educators. (Coordinator: Allison Cook)

Contact Info

Marion Gribetz
Director of Educational Initiatives
Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education


Contact Info

Rachel Raz
Early Childhood Institute