Shalom Berger (born Feb 4, 1960) is a noted Orthodox Jewish scholar and educational activist.
Rabbi Berger was born and raised in the United States. He studied in Yeshiva Chaim Berlin high school in Brooklyn under Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner, in Yeshivat Har Etzion in Israel under Rabbi Aharon Lichtenstein and Rabbi Yehuda Amital and in Yeshiva University. He earned Semicha (rabbinic ordination), a BA in Mathematics and an MS and EdD in Education at Yeshiva University, and an MPA in Public Administration from Baruch College.
Prior to moving to Israel in 1991, Berger taught in the Frisch School and later in HAFTR High School, where he served as director of Israel Guidance. In Israel he taught in BMT and Midreshet Lindenbaum. In 1998 he began working at the Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora at Bar-Ilan University. In recent years he has begun writing for the Aleph Society/Steinsaltz Center, where he serves as the senior content editor of the Koren/Steinsaltz English Talmud.
The Lookstein Center
In 1998, while working at BMT and Midreshet Lindenbaum in Jerusalem, Berger responded to the internet revolution which was still in an embryonic stage, by starting a mailing list whose objective was to connect Jewish educators around the globe to collaborate with each other on issues of urgency to the world of Jewish education, and to develop curricula and methodology together. The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education, part of the School of Education at Bar-Ilan University agreed to host the listserv, which was given the name "Lookjed" (based on the name "Lookstein" and "Jewish Education", but at the time the listserv host names were limited to seven characters). Lookjed is to this day a resource of information and support for Jewish educators world wide.
Jewish Educational Leadership
Berger is the founding editor of the Lookstein Center's professional journal, Jewish Educational Leadership. The journal is designed to increase the exposure of Jewish educators to general research and advances in education and focus on the applicability of these findings to the world of Jewish education.
One year Israel programs
Berger's doctoral dissertation focuses on the effects of the gap-year spent by many young American high school graduates in study programs throughout Israel. As the year-in-Israel programs have expanded and developed into an almost structured part of the American Orthodox Jewish educational experience, questions have been raised about the impact of those programs on the American Jewish community writ large. Berger's research found that the overwhelming majority of students return to North America and continue with their college plans. The research was published in popular form as part of the book ''Flipping Out''.
Steinsaltz Aleph Society scholarship
Berger recently completed a full cycle of daf yomi essays based on Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz' commentary on the Talmud. He serves as the Steinsaltz scholar, assembling and developing curricular materials that have been used in the Aleph society's Talmud Circle. He serves as the senior content editor for the Koren/Steinsaltz English Talmud.
Poland heritage trips
Berger leads groups of college-age students on Jewish heritage trips in Eastern Europe and is an advocate of such programs as part of a broad Jewish educational experience. He has discussed the impact of these trips in educational forums and articles.
- "A Year of Study in an Israeli Yeshiva Program: Before and After" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- Koren Publishers Jerusalem#Koren Talmud Bavli
- "Are Jewish summer camps a luxury?". Retrieved 2012-10-04.
- "Phorum :: Lookjed List Archive :: Trip To Poland". Lookstein.org. Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- "Holocaust, Hurban, and Haredization: Pilgrimages to Eastern Europe and the Realignment of American Orthodoxy". Retrieved 2012-10-01.
- Lecturer at Gratz College
- Har Etzion
- Limmud presentation
- Et al