Michael Zeldin, senior editor of the Journal of Jewish Education, commemorates the publication of the 80th volume of the Journal and the 10th anniversary of the re-launch of the Journal. He introduces the special commemorational issue of the journal, which contains a sampling of state-of-the art essay reviews of research in areas at the core of the enterprise of Jewish education. In addition, as he prepares to step down after 18 years he shares his reflections on three of the Journal’s major achievements during these years.
First, the Journal of Jewish Education has become THE independent venue for the publication of Jewish education research. At a time when so much of the Jewish education research being conducted and then being shared either in print or on the web is commissioned by foundations, programs, or institutions, the Journal offers a venue independent of organizations or academic institutions, a place where scholars who have initiated their own research projects can find a venue for disseminating their findings and their analyses.
Second, we have stimulated significant research and conversation around topics of great importance. We have put out several calls for papers for themed issues of the Journal and have stimulated researchers working in those areas to bring part of their research to a close and prepare it for publication. Most recently, we presented an oversized issue with the first published research on Jewish early childhood education. We have conducted a series of conversations in which a senior scholar presents a synthetic review of ideas about an important topic, and then practitioners and researchers respond. We started with experiential education, a conversation centered around the thinking of Joe Reimer, and most recently conducted a conversation around Jonathan Woocher’s provocative ideas about 21st century Jewish education.
Third, and most significant, we have elevated the Journal so that it now takes its place among the respected journals of boutique-size scholarly societies. When we first started our work with the Journal 18 years ago, our double-issue represented two thirds of the content the Journal was able to gather each year. Since then, we have expanded the content and filled not just three issues a year but we now publish quarterly like most well-respected journals. We have not sacrificed quality to expand the quantity of the content; if anything, the quality has improved. So now there is a high quality Journal in our field, one to which researchers can turn to publish their work, and one to which they can turn to read the current thinking and writing of their colleagues.