From January 1977 until December 2022, when he became an Emeritus Professor, Ken Stein had taught Middle Eastern History, Political Science, and Israel Studies to more than 5800 students over 44 years. Presently he is the Founding President of the Center for Israel Education (CIE) and its Chief Content Officer. At Emory University in 1998, he established The Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel (ISMI), then the first permanent Institute or Center in the U.S. created exclusively for the study of modern Israel. Growing from the public outreach of ISMI in the early 2000s, which initiated Jewish educator seminars and curriculum writing, he founded CIE in 2008, to focus exclusively on educational enrichment for Jewish educators, rabbis, non-Jewish clergy, students, and young adults. The CIE website began in December 2015 with 500 users that month; in the last week of September 2023, there were 50,000 users to the website, with more than 15% of its users were Spanish readers.
Ken is the author of five books, numerous papers and more than three dozen scholarly articles. In the 1980s, he inaugurated engaging undergraduate student internship programs as Middle East Fellow of the Carter Center, at ISMI, and at the CIE. His scholarly expertise focuses on the origins of modern Israel, the conflict’s evolution, Palestinian history, the Arab Israeli negotiating process, U.S.-Israeli relations and Israel education in college and precollegiate settings. Two of his books, The Land Question in Palestine, 1917- 1939 (1984) and Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin and the Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace (1999) have remained standard works in their fields. A third, The June 1967 War: How it Changed Jewish, Israeli, and Middle Eastern History (2017) was published for adult and teen audiences in conjunction with ARZA. At Emory he was the recipient of awards for teaching excellence, life-long mentoring of students and for internationalizing the curriculum. Ken’s fund-raising initiatives were responsible for bringing to Emory College sixteen visiting Israeli professors in the social sciences. As CIE's chief content author, he maintains strict scholarly integrity in teaching Israel through written and digital platforms.
Context, content, and perspective remain the cornerstones of excellence in Israel education. His leadership of CIE has enabled 3,500 Jewish educators and hundreds of thousands of Jewish students across North and South America so that they can deepen their knowledge of modern Israel. He continues to teach in all of CIE’s Israel learning initiatives. Ken was educated at Franklin and Marshall College (BA) and earned his advanced degrees from the University of Michigan (two MA degrees and a doctorate in Middle Eastern History). In the early 1970s, he was an advanced graduate student at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In Spring 2006, he was a visiting professor of Political Science at Brown University.
Vice President, Outreach and Pre-Collegiate School Management Initiatives
Dr. Tal Grinfas-David
Tal is the Vice President for Outreach and Pre-Collegiate School Management Initiatives at CIE. In July 2011, she became the Elementary School Principal of the Epstein School in Atlanta, GA. She earned her doctorate from Capella University in 2011 in curriculum and instruction, an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership and Administration from the University of Portland in 2006 with honors, a Bachelors of Education in the Advanced Teaching Certification Program focusing on English as second language at Beit Berl Teacher Education College, Kfar Saba, Israel from 1997-1999, and a B.A. from Boston University in 1995. In 2005, she came from the Portland Hebrew Academy to join the Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel as the senior curriculum designer. From 2005 to the present, she led and conducted the pedagogy portions of the ISMI/CIE one-week Israel Education Teacher Workshops.
Scott Abramson is a historian of the modern Middle East and the senior research officer at CIE. He received his master's degree from Brandeis University's Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and his Ph.D. from UCLA's Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. He has held postdoctoral appointments at UCLA’s Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies and at Northwestern University's Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies. Dr. Abramson has designed and taught many courses on the history and culture of Israel and the Middle East to much acclaim, UCLA, for one, honoring him in 2018 with its highest accolade for instruction, the Distinguished Teaching Award. He has written many articles—their subjects spanning a diverse topical spread, from Iranian Jewry to Lebanese Armenians—for popular publications and in peer-reviewed scholarly journals. At CIE, he creates digital and curricular content for students of all ages and understandings. Scott is an integral teaching participant in CIE's teen, young adult, and adult education programs.
Dr. Michael Berger is a CIE consultant and a lead presenter in CIE educator workshops pertaining to Judaism and the origins of Jewish nationhood. He is an Associate Professor of Jewish Law and Ethics in Emory University's Department of Religion, where he teaches courses in the history of Judaism, Jewish ethics, Rabbinic literature and modern Jewish thought. He received his BA with honors at Princeton, MA and doctoral degrees from Columbia. At Emory, his research and teaching focus on the development of Jewish law and ethics, issues of medieval and modern Jewish thought, and the formation of contemporary Jewish identity particularly among the ultra-Orthodox. For CIE, he has produced several highly respected digital items, Religion and State in Israel, The Haredim and the State of Israel, Religious Zionism, and The Origins of Jewish Nationhood.
Tiffany Borrego is a graduate from the University of Central Florida, where she obtained a dual bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Spanish in December 2017, and a master’s degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Terrorism Studies in December 2019. Tiffany studied abroad in Alcalá de Henares, Spain to obtain her certification as a translator and interpreter in the second to last semester of her undergraduate career. She completed her master’s degree with a dissertation focused on terrorist groups in the Middle East, and also became an avid participant in AIPAC conferences before her graduation date, where she gained the opportunity to participate in the 2018 Campus Allies Mission to Israel. In September 2019, Tiffany began working as a legislative assistant in the Florida Senate, where she worked on policy research, legislative analysis and constituent outreach. Now at CIE, she is involved in creating and translating content for Spanish-speaking audiences and helping develop outreach strategies for Latin American communities.
Aaron Bregman is the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Associate Director of High School Affairs. He is a highly experienced educator with teaching expertise in U.S., European, and Middle East Jewish history. For more than a decade he taught at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS) in Rockville, Maryland. Prior to teaching there, Aaron was the High School Curriculum/Program Manager for The David Project, a non-profit that helped shape campus opinions on Israel. Additionally, he was engaged in both the Anti-Defamation League’s Glass Leadership Institute and the Israel Policy Forum’s Atid Charles Bronfman Fellowship. Aaron grew up on the North Shore of Massachusetts and attended American University in Washington, D.C., where he received his B.A. in history with a concentration in American foreign policy and Jewish studies and his M.A. in secondary education. With CIE he has been and remains a regular contributor to programs for Israel educators and for young Jewish adults.
Dr. Noga Cohavi resides in Haifa where she is an Israeli educator and key participant in the Jewish Peoplehood Program of the Israeli Ministry of Education. She writes teaching/learning units and guides teachers in professional development opportunities in the fields of Jewish and Israeli identity. She teaches in the Jewish Peoplehood Program at Haifa University and leads a world-wide steering committee, Avnei Bohan on Jewish and Israel education. Cohavi is the author of numerous works in Hebrew and English, representative of them is her “Move the Goalposts: A Proposal for a Didactic Discussion on Jewish Peoplehood,” 2020. Growing up in the Arava she received her advanced degrees from Haifa University, writing her dissertation on the perception of the Golain the Dialogue between Moshe Sharett and Nahum Goldmann. She participates in CIE programs as a thought leader in defining and acquiring Jewish and Israel education.
Michael Jacobs is a veteran print and online journalist whose career has included USA Today, The Washington Times, Patch.com, daily newspapers in New Jersey and North Carolina, and the Atlanta Jewish Times. A native of New Orleans who grew up in Virginia, he is a third-generation graduate of Tulane University. A freelance writer and editor in the Atlanta area, he works on media relations and content creation for CIE.
Carmen studied World History and Geography at the University of the Andes and worked for 17 years for the airline Aeropostal in San Cristóbal, Venezuela as an air communications radio operator. With her job, she obtained the opportunity to travel around the world and work with people from across the globe. She also worked for 18 years as the manager at a storage facility in one of the most rapidly growing sectors of the Tampa Bay Area, where she helped the business develop and focus on the growing Spanish-speaking community surrounding the business. At CIE, she provides support to the Hispanic Communities Outreach team, working on translations, research and outreach.
Debbie Sasson is a CIE consultant overseeing CIE projects, and thus part of the management team engaged in active and evolving CIE partnerships, on-going programs, marketing, and long term planning, Her experience in Jewish and Israel education spans two decades, writing curriculum, teaching in day school and congregational school settings, leading youth groups, Israeli clubs and in camp environments, particularly with Ramah Darom. She has taught middle school and high school students, having made several presentations in CIE's educator and teen programs. She earned an MA in Teaching Secondary School Social Studies from Manhattanville College, and her undergraduate degree in International and Middle Eastern Studies at Emory University.
For twenty-five years, Heather has worked with Ken Stein as an administrative assistant and program administrator at the Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel, and now office manager at the Center for Israel Education. For fifteen years, she was the primary organizer of the week-long pre-collegiate teacher Israel education workshops.
Rabbi Daniel Allen (z"l) was a special assistant to the CIE Board engaged in long term planning and development. For forty years he served with distinction in multiple positions across the Jewish communal world. Twice he served as the Executive Vice Chairman of the United Israel Appeal (UIA) and Senior Vice President of the Jewish Federations of North America. In this role, he worked with federations explaining the work of the Jewish Agency for Israel and directly oversaw the work of the Israel Education Fund (IEF). Allen also managed the UIA- US Congressional grant which over the past 40 years now totals more than $1.7B. UIA is also responsible for $30M in donor advised funding for Israeli amutot (charitable organizations) He worked as the chief professional of the Masorti Foundation, the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA), and the UJA Young Leadership cabinet. Additionally he served as head of the American Red Magen David for Israel (ARMDI), boosting is annually giving six fold. Prior to that, he served for eight years as a Hillel director at Michigan State University and Emory University. His breadth of knowledge about Israel and American Jewish philanthropy and extraordinary experience of working with Israel based institutions provided CIE with unique perspective and guidance Rabbi Allen was married to Mary Lou Frishberg. They are the parents of three children and Saba/Safta to four children. Read More