Our Valuable Team Members


Dr. Kenneth W. Stein


Ken is the President of the Center for Israel Education (CIE) and the Director of the Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel (ISMI). Since 1977, he has taught modern Middle Eastern History, Political Science, and Israel Studies.

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The establishment of ISMI in 1998 was the first permanent Institute or Center in the U.S. created for the study of modern Israel. An off-shoot of ISMI, CIE was established in 2008. Ken is the author of four books, numerous papers and scholarly articles, whose expertise focuses on the origins of modern Israel, the conflict, Palestinian history, and U.S.-Israeli relations. 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 standards in their fields. He is the recipient of awards at Emory for teaching excellence, life-long mentoring of students and for internationalizing the curriculum. Ken’s initiatives are responsible for bringing to Emory College ten visiting Israeli professors. His vision and execution are responsible for more than two dozen Center-sponsored workshops for students and educators about modern Israel. Educated at Franklin and Marshall College (BA) and the University of Michigan (two MA degrees and a doctorate in Middle Eastern History), 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. He is the primary content author of materials found on the website.


Richard Walter

Associate Director for Israel Education

Rich oversees the education and community-based work of CIE and ISMI, including developing curricula and lesson plans, and sharing strategies for teaching and their implementation. He engages the Atlanta Jewish community,

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congregations, and Jewish communities across the nation with Israel education initiatives. Receiving his BA in Politics and Near Eastern Judaic Studies and MA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University, Rich has extensive experience increasing community involvement in Jewish formal and informal learning for a wide variety of age groups. He has worked in almost all types of Jewish educational organizations over the course of his career. Prior to joining CIE and ISMI in August 2012, he served as Director for Jewish Life and Learning at the Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Center of Greater New Haven, CT, and as Associate Executive Director for Education and Community Development at the Bureau of Jewish Education in Rhode Island. From 1997 to 2001, he taught at the Alperin Schechter Day School in Providence, RI.


Heather F. Waters

Office Manager

For eighteen years, Heather has worked with Ken Stein as an administrative assistant, program administrator, and now office manager. For the last eight years, she has been the primary organizer of the week-long pre-collegiate teacher Israel education workshops.


Eli Sperling

Israel Specialist and Assistant Program Coordinator

Eli has been actively engaged in issues relating to Israel and the greater Middle East since the beginning of his under-graduate education at Evergreen in Olympia, WA. After receiving his BA in

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Middle East Studies and Political Economy in 2006, he moved to Israel to pursue an MA in contemporary Middle Eastern History at Tel Aviv University. During his four and a half years in Tel Aviv, Eli worked as a research assistant to prominent Israeli scholar, Yosi Kostiner, and worked with numerous political and humanitarian organizations. He led student groups and other international delegations around Israel and spent two years researching the social, political and economic conditions of the Sinai Bedouin living in Dahab, Egypt. He is a fluent Hebrew speaker who also reads Arabic and has traveled extensively throughout the Middle East. Eli manages ISMI’s and CIE’s internship programs; writes, researches and edits materials released by the Center; gives presentations at CIE workshops and conferences; and contributes to the day-to-day operations of the Center.



Dr. Tal Grinfas-David

Day School Education Specialist

Tal is the Day School Education Specialist 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,

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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.


Steven Kerbel

Educational Specialist

Steven Kerbel began consulting with CIE in 2015 on the Certificate in Israel Education Program (CIEP). He is the Principal of Steven Kerbel Educational Consulting in Rockville, Maryland.

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Before this, he served as Director of Education for Congregation B’nai Tzedek and Ohr Kodesh Congregation in Chevy Chase, Maryland for a combined 14 years. Prior to this Steve was the inaugural Retreat Director of Capital Camps & Retreat Center. Steve has also been a full-time faculty member at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville and an educational consultant to the Seaboard Region of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Steve is currently a national vice president of the Jewish Educators Assembly, the organization of Conservative Movement Jewish educators.

In what seems like a different lifetime, Steve earned a law degree and was in the private practice of law for eight years. Steve is an alum of University of Maryland, College Park, where he met his wife, Judy, and they have two daughters. Among Steve’s consulting activities, he facilitates wine tastings featuring Israeli wines and teaches about the geography of diversity of Israel through its wines and wine makers.


Debi Snow

Research Assistant

Debi provides extensive research aligned with our ongoing projects to support CIE’s mission of providing Israel education. She also edits documents for publication, works with staff on the organization of our annual teacher workshop, and supports staff in furthering our outreach into the Atlanta Community.


Rabbi Daniel Allen, New Jersey

Strategic Development Campaign Consultant

Rabbi Daniel Allen is 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.

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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 provides CIE with unique perspective and guidance.
Rabbi Allen is married to Mary Lou Frishberg. They are the parents of three children and Saba/Safta to four children.