Barbara Lerner Spectre

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Barbara Lerner Spectre (born 1942) is the founding director of Paideia,[1] the European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden, a non-denominational academic institute established in 2001.


Barbara Spectre was born in Madison, Wisconsin, and educated in New York City. She married Rabbi Philip Spectre, and the couple moved to Ashkelon, Israel in 1967, where she served on the faculty of Jewish Studies at Achva College of Education. After moving to Jerusalem in 1982 she served on the faculty of the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem, the Melton Center of the Hebrew University, and Yellin College of Education where she was cited as Outstanding Lecturer 1995- 1997. She was the founding chairperson of the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem in 1984. She served as a scholar in residence for the United Synagogues, Midwest Regions in 1987, 1990, 1992, 1996 and has lectured extensively throughout the United States.

In 1999, she immigrated to Sweden and settled in Stockholm, joining her husband Philip, who was then serving as the Rabbi of the Stockholm Synagogue, and in 2000 she wrote the foundational paper to the Swedish government for the formation of Paideia, the European Institute for Jewish Studies, which she has continued to direct. In its 10 years of existence (2011) Paideia has educated over 200 persons from 35 countries for leadership positions in the renewal of Jewish culture in Europe.

She is the recipient of the 2007 Max Fisher Prize for Jewish Education in the Diaspora, and the ICRF[disambiguation needed] “2008 Women in Action” Award, the Award for Contribution to Jewish Education, Seminary of Judaic Studies, 1991 and The First Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies Award for Jewish Education, 1998 Her publications include: together with Noam Zion of the Hartman Institute, the two volume: A Different Light: the Big Book of Hannukah, and Educating Jewish Leaders in a Pan-European Perspective (Springer, The International Handbook of Jewish Education).


  • B.A. Barnard College, Columbia University, Philosophy
  • M.A. New York University, Philosophy, Thesis: “The Paradigm Case and Non-Vacuous Contrast Arguments”
  • PhD Candidate, Bar-Ilan University, Philosophy, “Models of Theological Response to the Holocaust in Christian and Jewish Thought”

Published works and articles[edit]

  • “Educating Jewish Leaders in a Pan-European Perspective”, International Handbook of Jewish Education, Springer, 2011
  • A Different Light: The Hannukah Book of Celebration, Two Volumes, co-editor with Noam Zion, Devora Press, 2000.
  • A Different Light: The Hannukah Book, Two Volumes, co-editor with
  • Noam Zion, Devora Press, 2000.
  • “Sex and Destiny in the Palace: The Book of Esther”, The Jewish Chronicle, March 9, 2001
  • "Zionism, Democracy, and Judaism", Zionism, The Sequel, Carol Diament, ed, 1998
  • Review: Gender and Judaism, Jewish History, Vol. II, no. 2, Fall, 1997
  • "Teaching Past: An Israeli Model", (Paul Lipst, co-author), Journal of Jewish Education, Vol. 61, No.1, Spring 1994
  • The Purposes of Jewish Living, Florence Melton Adult Minischool
  • Adult Education Curriculum, Hebrew University, 1989.
  • "A Theology of Doubt", (Hebrew) in Eit L'asot, Fall, 1989
  • "A Jewish State or a State of Jews", Rabbinical Assembly Proceedings, 1988
  • "Zionism and Democracy", Zionist Conference Proceedings, Jewish Theological Seminary, 1989.
  • "The Moral Dilemma of Israel", Rabbinical Assembly Proceedings, 1982


  1. ^ "Staff". Paideia. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 

External links[edit]