Director, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish StudiesDirector, Steinhardt Social Research Institute
Leonard Saxe is Klutznick Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies and directs the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute at Brandeis University. He is the recipient of the 2012 Marshall Sklare Award. Professor Saxe is a social psychologist, as well as a methodologist, and is concerned with the application of social science to social policy issues. His present focus is on religious and ethnic identity and specifically addresses issues relevant to the Jewish community.
Professor Saxe's current research on the Jewish community involves socio-demographic studies of American Jewry and a program of research on Jewish education and its relationship to Jewish engagement. He is the principal investigator of a longitudinal study of Birthright Israel, a large-scale educational program. At the Steinhardt Institute, he is leading a program that is investigating the size and characteristics of the American Jewish population. Among his recent publications, he is co-author of a 2008 book, Ten Days of Birthright Israel: A Journey in Young Adult Identity, the story of Birthright Israel, an intensive ten-day educational program designed to connect Jewish young adults to their heritage.
Professor Saxe is an author and/or editor of nearly 250 publications. He has been a Science Fellow for the United States Congress and was a Fulbright Professor at Haifa University, Israel. In 1989, he was awarded the American Psychological Association's prize for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest, Early Career. He teaches in the Hornstein Program for Jewish Professional Leadership and at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management.
Director, American Jewish Population Project
As project lead, Liz's work focuses on population estimation of religious and ethnic groups not included in the US Census. Dr. Tighe has a B.S. in Psychology from Carnegie-Mellon University and a Ph.D. in Social/Developmental Psychology from Brandeis University. Her research interests are in social identity, particularly religious and ethnic identity and their relationship to civic identity and intergroup relations. In addition to basic research in motivation and attitude structure and change, Dr. Tighe has studied community programs as part of a national evaluation of community-based substance abuse reduction programs funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She was also co-investigator and co-author of Jewish Elderly Nazi Victims: A Synthesis of Comparative Information on Hardship and Need in the United States, Israel, and the Former Soviet Union and Assessment of Methods to Quantify Neediness among Jewish Nazi Victims In RE: Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation.
Senior Research Associate
Raquel is one of the principal analysts on the project, applying Bayesian analysis methods to population estimation. Raquel has extensive experience in educational research and statistical analysis. Prior to joining the Steinhardt Social Research Institute, she worked as a research associate at the Center for the Study of Testing, Evaluation, and Educational Policy housed at Boston College, and as a statistics and computer analyst at the Henrietta Szold Institute for Research in the Behavioral Sciences in Israel. She also worked as a software engineer in the private sector for several years. She received a joint BSc in Education and Atmospheric Sciences as well as an MA in Education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Raquel received her PhD from Boston College in the department of Research Measurement and Evaluation and was the lead author of the paper "Assessing the Validity of Data Synthesis Methods to Estimate Religious Populations" published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion (2018).
Daniel is one of the principal analysts on the project. He received a dual MA in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Jewish Professional Leadership at Brandeis University and a PhD in Social Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He is also a 2008/09 Mandell L. Berman Research Fellow. Daniel is co-author of several articles and studies including the 2005 Boston Jewish Community Study, 2008 Berkshire Jewish Community Study, and "Matrilineal Ascent/Patrilineal Descent: The Gender Imbalance in American Jewish Life (2008)". His dissertation focused on the determinants of marriage among Jewish young adults, a portion of which has been published as a chapter titled "What's Love Got to Do With It?: Marriage and Non-Marriage among Younger American Jews" in the book Love, Marriage, and Jewish Families: Paradoxes of a Social Revolution (2015).
Daniel Nussbaum is a Research Specialist at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies and the Steinhardt Social Research Institute. Daniel leads the coding, aggregation, and standardization of public opinion poll data for the project. He is also a master’s student in Public Policy and Jewish Professional Leadership at Brandeis University. Daniel has a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he conducted an aggregate-level study of the relationship between economic climate and public mental health for his honors thesis. During his summers, he was a head counselor at Camp Kaleidoscope in Newton, MA.
Daniel Kallista is a Research Specialist working on the American Jewish Population Project. Originally from New York, he graduated from Boston University with a degree in Economics. His academic interests include European history, econometrics, social learning, and behavioral economics.
Jay Seabrum is a Research Specialist working on the American Jewish Population Project. Originally from Georgia, he graduated from Boston University with a degree in Economics and Japanese Language & Literature. His academic interests include music theory, linguistics, mathematics, and statistics.
The Steinhardt Social Research Institute is dedicated to providing unbiased, high quality data about contemporary Jewry. The institute conducts socio-demographic research, studies the attitudes and behavior of US Jews, and develops a variety of policy-focused analyses of issues such as intermarriage and the effectiveness of Jewish education. The institute's work is characterized by the application of cutting-edge research methods to provide policy-relevant data.
Steinhardt Social Research Institute researchers have been audacious in their application of new social scientific approaches and their willingness to tackle key societal challenges. SSRI research informs discourse about religious-ethnic identity and, in so doing, aids efforts to ensure a vibrant future for the Jewish community.
Founded in 1980, the Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies (CMJS) is a multi-disciplinary research center dedicated to bringing the concepts, theories, and techniques of social science to bear on the study of contemporary Jewish life. Core topics concern the development of ethnic and religious identities and their attendant personal, communal, and societal outcomes. Our research incorporates cutting-edge methodologies and strives to be rigorous and transparent. In this fashion, we hope to contribute to scholarly understanding of American Jewry and Jewish institutions and provide policy-relevant analysis.
Faculty and staff include distinguished researchers, several of whom have appointments and affiliations with Brandeis academic departments. The senior research staff are trained in community psychology, social psychology, sociology, and social policy. As scholars, our interests are broad; as methodologists we strive to use and, where needed, generate the best approaches to complex questions. Projects are conducted by multi-disciplinary teams, and the results of our research appear in a variety of scholarly, professional, and popular publications.
CMJS is the managing entity for the Steinhardt Social Research Institute and is a unit of Brandeis' Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies.