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Rabbi Jeffrey Schein

Senior Educational Consultant, Kaplan Center for Jewish Peoplehood

Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Schein, serves as Senior Education Consultant for the Kaplan Center for Jewish Peoplehood. He is also currently director of “Text Me: Judaism and Technology,” a joint project of the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland and The Covenant Foundation.  He was previously director of the Adolescent Initiative and Special Projects for the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland.  For twenty years prior to that, he was a professor and director of the Education Department at the Laura and Alvin Siegal College of Judaic Studies in Cleveland.  He also served as the senior consultant to the “Lekhu Lakhem” project of the Mandel Jewish Center, a major initiative to change the Jewish character of eighteen JCC camps across North America through the professional development of their directors.  For seventeen years he served as the education director and then senior consultant for Jewish education to the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, the congregational organization of the Reconstructionist movement.  He also served on the faculty of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College for nine years. 

Dr. Schein is a graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (1977) and of the doctoral program in curriculum studies of Temple University (1980).   He is the author (or co-author) of Creative Jewish Education (Rossel books), Targilon: a Guide for Charting the Course of Jewish Family Education (JESNA and JRF), Windows on the Jewish Soul (JRF), Growing Together: Resources, Programs and Experiences for Jewish Family Education (ARE/Behrman House), and, most recently, Kol Ha-No’ar: The Voice of Children (a prayer book for young children and their families; JRF), as well as numerous journal articles about Jewish, other religious and general education.

With his wife Deborah Schein, an early childhood professor, he has developed a seminar series titled “The 100 Languages of Children Meet the 70 Faces of Torah” designed to create frameworks for learning across the Jewish life cycle. Together, Jeffrey and Deborah presented the seminar as guest scholars for Leo Baeck College and the Jewish community of Great Britain in the spring of 2004.

Dr. Schein’s leadership positions have included serving as national program chair for the Coalition for Alternatives in Jewish Education (CAJE), as President of the Association of Institutions of Higher Learning for Jewish Education and as a member of the board of directors of the Jewish Education Service of North America (JESNA).

Dr. Schein was the first non-pulpit rabbi to receive the Ira Eisenstein Award for distinguished community service from he Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association in 2001.  In 1992, he was the founding rabbi of Kol HaLev, Cleveland’s Reconstructionist Jewish Community.

Jeffrey and Deborah’s children are Benjamin, Jonah and Hana.  Their grandchildren are Ilan, Tali and Aryeh. 

Blueprint for a Full Jewish Life

In Parashat Terumah, we find a key component of a full Jewish life: the holiness that’s found in everyday living.

D'var Torah

The Ascending Heart

What is the relationship between ethics and ritual? Rabbi Jeffrey Schein explores this nexus via Parashat Tzav.

D'var Torah

Where Does the Spirit of Sacrifice Take Us?

How did the Torah's laws of animal sacrifice function in ancient times? Rabbi Jeffrey Schein explores several possibilities through the lens of Sephardic Torah commentary.

D'var Torah

The Importance of Vision

As the book of Exodus concludes with the completion of the Mishkan, Rabbi Jeffrey Schein explores the figure of Bezalel, the chief architect of the sanctuary. 

D'var Torah

The Torah as Puzzle: Rearranging the Parts

Rabbi Jeffrey Schein digs into the story of the Golden Calf, finding illumination as much in the details as in the story's broad arcs. 

D'var Torah

The Life of Reconstructionist Educators in the Digital Age

This short article reflects on the challenges and opportunities presented by digital technology in Reconstructionist education. 


Exploration of God Beliefs: A Teen Program

This pilot program for Jewish teen education provides several activities for exploring and sharing beliefs about God. 


Kaplanian Report Card: An Evaluation Tool for Jewish Education

This evaluation tool provides a rubric for assessing the contemporary state of Jewish education


New Faces of Peoplehood: Two Educational Reflections from the conference “Wrestling with Jewish Peoplehood”

This resource on Jewish peoplehood provides tools for Jewish educators, including early childhood educators, to reflect and teach on issues of Jewish identity and peoplehood.


Jewish Peoplehood: Educational Resources

Rabbi Jeffrey Schein has created this suite of educational resources on Jewish peoplehood, under the auspices of the Kaplan Center for Jewish Peoplehood.


On Holding High Jewish Office: Do Clothes Make the Man?

How does outward appearance convey authority? In this D'var Torah on parashat Tetzaveh, Rabbi Jeffrey Schein examine the high priests' garb, and reflects on its metaphorical extension to new areas of authority over the generations. 

D'var Torah