Development, Learning and Community: Educating for Identity in Pluralistic Jewish High Schools

Development, Learning and Community: Educating for Identity in Pluralistic Jewish High Schools

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Jeffrey Kress

Series: Judaism and Jewish Life
ISBN: 9781936235308 (hardcover) / 9781618112941 (paper)
Pages: 216 pp.
Publication Date: May 2012

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Winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Education and Jewish Identity

Development, Learning, and Community uses data drawn from a study of pluralistic Jewish high schools to illustrate the complex and often challenging interplay between the cognitive and socio-affective elements of education. Throughout the book, Kress grapples with questions such as: How can the balance between community cohesion and group differences be achieved in diverse settings? What are the educational implications of an approach to identity development rooted in contemporary developmental theories that posit the interaction among cognition, affect, and behavior? How can the formal and informal offerings of a school coalesce to address these broadly conceived identity outcomes, and what are the challenges in doing so? Winner of the National Jewish Book Award in Jewish Education, Development Learning and Community offers a comprehensive and critical assessment of Jewish education today.


Jeffrey Kress is Associate Professor of Jewish Education and academic director of the Experiential Learning Initiative at the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary. His interests include developmental issues in Jewish education, research methods, and social, emotional, and spiritual elements of Jewish educational contexts.


This book presents an important and realistic treatment of Jewish education. Of particular value is the recognition that the formal and informal dimensions of Jewish education cannot in practice be separated. All in all, I highly recommend this book.
— Roberta Rosenberg Farber, Yeshiva University, author of Jewish Studies in Violence
The important thing about Jeffrey Kress’ new book is that it attempts to come to grips with the difficulties and the prospects of day school education in a pluralistic environment that is inclusive of, and respectful toward the non-Orthodox. It is a study of the practice of educating Jewish high school students enrolled in community day schools in order to maximize their Jewish identity.
— Prof. Ira Robinson, Jewish World