From 2008 to 2021, Ken was the Founding President of the Center for Israel Education (CIE). From 2021, he evolved into the position of CIE’s Chief Content Officer. At Emory University he is 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. Ken established ISMI in 1998, which 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. He is the author of five books, numerous papers and scholarly articles. His expertise focuses on the origins of modern Israel, the conflict, Palestinian history, the Arab-Israeli negotiating process 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. A third, The June 1967 War: How it Changed Jewish, Israeli, and Middle Eastern History (2017) was published for adult and teen audiences. 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 enabled 2,900 Jewish educators and hundreds of thousands of Jewish students across North and South America to 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.
In September of 2021, Adam Shapiro became the second President of the Center for Israel Education (CIE) bringing with him over two decades of experience in educational settings. Prior to CIE, Adam worked for 18 years at Golda Och Academy, a Pre-K through 12th grade Jewish day school, where he served as the institution’s Head of School from 2015-2021. During his tenure at Golda Och Academy he served in many different roles - teacher, experiential educator, Dean of Students and Upper School Principal. Faculty, parents and board members recognized and respected his work as an educator as well as his strong organizational, communication and fundraising skills.
While at Golda Och, he designed and implemented a course on the history of modern Israel that incorporated many of CIE’s sources, planned and executed a decade’s worth of service missions to New Orleans with his students following Hurricane Katrina and raised vitally important funds in support of both the annual and long-term endowment goals of the institution. During the spring of 2021, Adam secured one of the single-most significant endowment gifts ever received by a Jewish day school in North America, and created a faculty excellence fund to support the growth, development and retention of the school’s educators.
Adam was raised just outside of Philadelphia and graduated from Akiba Hebrew Academy (now the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy). He then went on to earn his B.A. in Education and Jewish Studies from Emory University (2001) and M.A. in Jewish Studies from the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at JTS (2003) where his graduate thesis focused on Israel education in Jewish day school settings. He has also completed two certificate programs at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
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.