Aryeh Davidson is Professor Emeritus of Jewish Education and founding Dean of the William Davidson Graduate School of Education, Jewish Theological Seminary. As Chair of the Council, he seeks to fortify its financial base, expand membership, and strengthen its advocacy for Hebrew language in North America.
A native of Chicago, Aryeh‘s parents were prominent Jewish educators, and Hebrew and Zionism were a constant presence in his home. He attended Jewish day schools and Camp Ramah as a camper and staff member. In 1973 he established the Tikvah Program for adolescents with learning disabilities at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. A graduate of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) and Columbia University’s joint program, Aryeh earned a BA in Bible and a BA in Psychology. He has an MA and PhD. from Columbia University in developmental psychology and special education. He studied at the Hebrew University for two years and was a Jerusalem Fellow in 1987-88.
Aryeh’s professional trajectory reflects his commitment to Special Education, Jewish Education, and research. Prior to joining the JTS faculty in 1985, he taught special education and psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University and Hunter College. He was principal of the Robert Louis Stevenson School, a special needs school in Manhattan. He served as a consultant to the New York City Public Schools on special education and anti- racism. He subsequently served as Director of Clinical Professional Development at the New York Board of Education, where he headed a team tasked with restructuring the identification and placement of children with special needs. Aryeh continues to consult with special education programs in both general and Jewish educational venues.
In 1985, Aryeh was recruited to head the Prozdor high school of JTS and join the faculty, and from the start he envisioned the creation of a graduate school in Jewish Education. In 1996 this vision became a reality with the establishment of the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education (no relationship!). He served as the first dean for a decade. Under his leadership, the endowment grew significantly, the size of the faculty grew, and several innovative programs were initiated, including the Gross Hebrew language Program, and an early childhood Hebrew immersion program.
Aryeh has served on many boards, including those of family foundations, day schools, and programs such as the Taglit (Birthright) educational advisory board, and the Council for Hebrew Language and Culture. Aryeh has written articles on the identities of professional Jews, a monograph, on Adult Jewish Education with Steven M. Cohen, and has coedited two volumes on educational testing. In his spare time, Aryeh is a sculptor and enthusiastic grandfather.