I grew up in Philadelphia and attended Overbrook High School, best known for its NBA-bound basketball talent (and where my dream NBA career abruptly ended). As a student there during the late 1960s in racially-divided Philadelphia, I began my life-long work focusing on education, intergroup relations and dialogue, and Jewish identity and community. At Overbrook, I helped to organize my peers across the public high school system into intergroup relations committees to counter the race riots and conflicts in the schools and the city. I held youth leadership positions in high school and in the Jewish community.
In college, as a First Generation college student, I had a stimulating and liberating education without grades at the Residential College at the University of Michigan, including a year of independent study looking at intergroup relations while studying in Israel and teaching in the alternative British “infant” schools. While studying for my Master’s Degree in Education at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education with Professor Don Oliver, I was an organizer and co-founder of a Peace Studies program there before going on to complete my Ph.D. at UC Berkeley studying social stratification, socialization, inequalities in education in cross-cultural perspective, and educational reform in K-12 and higher ed, with Professors John Ogbu, Sheila Walker, and John Michaelis in the area of Policy Studies and the Sociology/Anthropology of Education. My dissertation focused on Jewish identity and community in a pluralistic society.
Today, I continue to practice my jump shot and tend to my vegetable garden when not taking in the stunning beauty of Alaska or the peaceful shores of Lake Michigan. As always, I remain a devoted teacher, educator and mentor to my students, and ever-working to build a more just society for all.