Barbara Lerner Spectre

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Barbara Lerner Spectre
Born 1942 (age 74–75)
Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Residence Stockholm, Sweden
Alma mater Columbia University
New York University
Occupation Academic, philosopher
Known for Founding director of Paideia
Spouse(s) Philip Spectre

Barbara Lerner Spectre (born March 8, 1942) is an academic[1] and philosophy lecturer and the founding director of Paideia,[2] the European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden, a non-denominational academic institute established in 2001 and funded by the Swedish government.


Barbara Spectre was born in Madison, Wisconsin. She studied philosophy at Columbia University and NYU, attaining an M.A. in Philosophy. She married Rabbi Philip Spectre, and the couple moved in 1967 to Ashkelon, Israel, where she served on the faculty of Jewish Studies at Achva College of Education. After moving to Jerusalem in 1982, she served on the philosophy 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, to join 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.


  • B.A. Barnard College, 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”


  • “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.


  1. ^ Shneer, David. "Jewish Sweden: The Radical Jewish Traveler celebrates secularism at the 60th parallel.". My Jewish Learning. Retrieved 20 October 2015. 
  2. ^ "Staff". Paideia. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 

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