Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Schein, the Kaplan Center’s Executive Director and Senior Education Consultant, 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. Most recently, he is the author of Text Me: Ancient Jewish Wisdom Meets Contemporary Technology and the forthcoming volume with Rabbi Hayim Herring L’Dor Va-Dor in a Digital Age.
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, Aryeh and Caleb.
Rabbi Margie Jacobs (RRC 2000) has served as a congregational rabbi, regional director of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, Hillel director, and teacher of mindfulness meditation. She is a facilitator of the Jewish Studio Process, a mindful art practice that she leads virtually and in person across the country for synagogues, Hillels, retreats, conferences, special events, and clergy. Margie has been designing websites since 2010 and also creates Jewish Canva Templates as part of the Discover Jewish Art project.
Karen Morris joined the Kaplan Center this year as education networker to support the Cedarbaum Prize. Karen has a B.A. in Religious Studies from Indiana University with a certificate in Jewish Studies (1989). She earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from National Louis University in Chicago (1992).
Karen currently lives in Pittsburgh and is the Education Director at Reconstructionist affiliated Congregation Dor Hadash. She has been involved in Jewish education her entire career with work ranging from early childhood Judaics specialist at the JCC to teaching all levels in religious school and day school in Chicago, Detroit and Pittsburgh. Karen loves to swim, do yoga, take walks, and Israeli dance. She is married to Don and they have three children, Jessica, Adam and Mira.
Karen is currently serving on the RENA board as membership chair. Karen is thrilled to be working as the education networker for the Kaplan Center. Working with Rabbi Jeffrey Schein on the Cedarbaum Prize has been eye-opening and uplifting as we support Jewish educational innovations.
Along with being Kaplan Center’s Administrator, Sheridan Zuther enjoys a variety of virtual business work as Executive Assistant with Herring Consulting Network since 2012, and Law Office Manager, Bookkeeper and Paralegal Trainee with Van Dyck Law Firm since 2014. With degrees in Music Performance and Opera, she teaches private voice lessons at her home studio and MacPhail Center for Music, and is a vocal coach to artists with disabilities at Interact Center for Visual and Performing Arts since 2017. Sheridan’s solo album Songs from the Silo debuted in September 2022, a diverse musical journey exploring an imaginative childhood singing in a grain silo on her family farm to performing at Carnegie Hall and touring the continent singing jazz. Sheridan enjoys the variety of work with Rabbi Schein and the wonderful people involved with the Kaplan Center!