The Jewish Education Project

Rabba Yaffa Epstein Joins The Jewish Education Project as its First-Ever Senior Scholar and Educator in Residence

New Role is Designed to Elevate Jewish Learning Grounded in Jewish Texts, Signifies Major Shift in Field


May 25, 2022 -- To help re-center the place of Jewish text in Jewish education, The Jewish Education Project is pleased to welcome Rabba Yaffa Epstein as the agency’s first-ever Senior Scholar and Educator in Residence. In this new role, Rabba Epstein will elevate Jewish learning, focusing both on the Jewish educators the agency serves through professional development, and by creating ongoing learning opportunities for the agency’s staff and leadership.

“Jewish educators are deeply committed to their work and exceptionally talented. It’s the responsibility of our field to instill in them  the knowledge and confidence to ground their pedagogy with Jewish texts—the very essence and beauty of Jewish life,” says David Bryfman, CEO of The Jewish Education Project. “Yaffa is perfectly positioned to not only teach Torah, but to welcome Torah back into all Jewish education spaces, and in doing so be both a teacher and a friend for Jewish educators. We’re incredibly fortunate to have her on the team.”

Epstein is concluding her role as the Director of the Wexner Heritage Program at the Wexner Foundation this July. While at the Wexner Foundation, she oversaw the curriculum design, program structure, and leadership experience of volunteer leaders throughout North America. Prior to that, Epstein served as the Director of Education, North America for the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies and was a member of the faculty.  She has also served on the faculties of Yeshivat Maharat and the Drisha Institute. Epstein has taught in depth courses on Talmud, Rabbanic Literature, Jewish liturgy, Jewish law, Jewish leadership, and Women in Jewish Law.

Rabba Epstein has served as an Educator and Scholar in Residence for the Dorot Fellowship in Israel, Moishe House, Jewish Federation of North America, the Covenant Foundation, the Nahum Goldmann Fellowship, Repair the World, the Meorot Fellowship, the KADIMA Fellowship, and The Jewish Education Project. She has lectured at Limmud events around the globe, has written curriculum for the Global Day of Jewish Learning and has created innovative educational programming for Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life. She has trained Rabbis and Educators from across the spectrum of Jewish denominations.

She received Rabbinic Ordination from Yeshivat Maharat, earned an additional private Ordination from Rabbi Daniel Landes, and holds a Law Degree from Bar-Ilan University.

“I am thrilled to be joining the exceptional team at The Jewish Education Project,” says Rabba Yaffa Epstein, incoming Senior Scholar and Educator in Residence at The Jewish Education Project. “The core values of this innovative organization charge us to utilize learning to thrive and to develop intentional learning communities. In my new role, I hope to bring relevant, deep, and accessible Jewish text- learning to our work at every level of the organization and with different audiences. Jewish education is critical to the Jewish people, and rich Jewish text-learning is critical to Jewish education. I'm excited to get started in this holy work!” 

Epstein will elevate Jewish learning within the agency’s educator professional development programs, major conferences and events, and curriculum projects. Internally, agency staff and lay leaders will also engage with Epstein frequently to deepen their knowledge and learning, modeling the values of Jewish learning the agency espoused.  

Adds Bryfman, “Jewish education must always innovate to stay relevant, and text-based Jewish learning can be a part of that innovation. This type of learning is inspiring, reflective, and can be incredibly powerful. Yaffa can bring our vision to fruition.”


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