Photo by Shulamit Seidler-Feller

Jon A. Levisohn

Associate Professor and Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Chair in Jewish Educational Thought Brandeis University

Encounter is an opportunity to engage more deeply and seriously in the most pressing issue facing the Jewish people today. You need this. Not because you will emerge with solutions or talking points, but because you will break through and dive beneath the facile talk about solutions and talking points…

Jon A. Levisohn was an important catalyst in our pilot Intensive Leadership Seminar which he joined as a participant, in July of 2016. Earlier that year, Jon had invited the Encounter staff to present at a conference he chaired at Brandeis University on “Transformative Jewish Education” which resulted in the publication of this paper in which Encounter is one of three featured organizations. After participating in the inaugural Intensive Leadership Seminar, Jon and his colleague Miriam Heller Stern published a piece arguing for greater respect for and openness to the diversity of voices on Israel in the American Jewish community. On joining the Encounter Board of Directors in 2017 Jon says, “After experiencing the educational model firsthand on the pilot Encounter Intensive, I gained enormous respect and admiration for the educational wisdom of the Encounter professional staff. Lots of people talk the talk of educational excellence. Encounter walks the walk.”

Jon is a philosopher of Jewish education at Brandeis University, where he holds the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Chair in Jewish Educational Thought and directs the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education. An alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship, he has earned degrees from Harvard College and Stanford University, and has also studied at Yeshivat Sha’alvim (1987-1989), the Hebrew University (1993-1994) and the Shalom Hartman Institute (1993-1994). He is the author of numerous works of scholarship in both popular and academic venues. He lives in Newton, MA and is married to Emily Beck; they are the parents of three teenage children. He has been active as a lay leader at JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School; Congregation Shaarei Tefilah; and Minyan Yedid Nefesh. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Encounter.