Jewish Montessori Society Advisory Board

Dr. Jon Woocher

Jonathan S. Woocher is Chief Ideas Officer of JESNA and heads its Lippman Kanfer Institute: An Action-oriented Think Tank for Innovation in Jewish Learning and Engagement.  He served for 20 years as JESNA’s President and chief executive officer before assuming his current position in 2007.   Prior to coming to JESNA in 1986, Dr. Woocher served on the faculty of Carleton College in Minnesota and Brandeis University, where he taught in the Benjamin S. Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service.  Dr. Woocher is the author of Sacred Survival: The Civil Religion of American Jews and numerous articles on Jewish education, community, and religious life.  He earned a B.A., summa cum laude, from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in religion from Temple University.  He serves on the boards of the Covenant Foundation and Bikkurim: An Incubator for New Jewish Ideas and as an active volunteer in his synagogue and local Jewish community.  JESNA and the Lippman Kanfer Institute promote innovation and change in Jewish education aimed at expanding lifelong participation in Jewish learning and increasing the impact of Jewish education on learners’ lives.


Dr. Miriam Heller Stern

Miriam Heller Stern is Dean of the Graduate Center for Education at American Jewish University in Los Angeles where she has trained Jewish educators since 2005. She specializes in curriculum development and integration, evaluation, reflective practice, practitioner research, vision/philosophy and social foundations of education. Dr. Stern earned her MA in history and Ph.D. in education from Stanford University as a Wexner Graduate Fellow.  She has coached several Professional Learning Communities of educators in the Los Angeles area and conducted professional development workshops across the United States. She is a member of the advisory boards of the Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education and the Harkham Hillel Academy General Studies Committee. She previously served on the Executive Committee of the Network for Research in Jewish Education. She has worked in a variety of teacher training, research, educational consulting, mentoring and program development roles for institutions including the Mandel Foundation, BASIS-the Israel Engagement Project of the San Francisco Bay Area Day Schools, the Rhea Hirsch School of Education at Hebrew Union College, several Bureaus of Jewish Education and numerous Jewish day schools spanning the denominational spectrum from Reform to Orthodox. A historian by training, she previously taught Jewish history at Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles. Miriam is married to Jonathan Stern and they have two young children, Elijah and Judah.

Jane Taubenfeld Cohen

Jane Taubenfeld Cohen is the Director of Capacity Building and has been working at the Yeshiva University School Partnership since September 2011.  Before that, she was the Head of School at the South Area Solomon Schechter Day School for 22 years, where she was one of the  founders.  In addition, Jane has been a mentor for 8 years at the Day School Leadership Training Institute (DSLTI).  Jane received the Covenant Award in 2006 and she is the recipient of the S’fatei Tiftach award from Hebrew College for her advocacy of specials needs students within the day school movement. 


Joshua Avedon

Joshua Avedon is the Co-founder and COO of Jumpstart ( a nonprofit that works across the globe to empower organizations and leaders committed to compelling, relevant, and meaningful visions of Jewish life. Jumpstart also focuses on developing the knowledge and connections necessary for resource providers and philanthropists to make strategic choices about building the Jewish future.  Joshua is a recognized leader in forward-thinking use of technology, viral communication, and community-building strategies within the world of emerging Jewish organizations.  He is one of the founders of IKAR, one of the largest and most successful Jewish emergent communities in the country. Joshua has spent the last several years writing, teaching, and advocating for innovation within the Jewish community.  Joshua, his wife Stephanie, and their three children Elias, Navi, and Sarit live in the house where he grew up in Venice, CA.


Dr. Mildred David

(bio to come shortly)

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