Center for Excellence and Engagement in Jewish History

The CESJDS Center for Excellence and Engagement in Jewish History is a hub for Jewish History content, programs, and consulting. The Center:

  • Works with schools to raise their level of understanding and engagement with topics in Jewish History relevant to their curriculum, their school culture, and their student body;
  • Trains teachers and administrators in Jewish History content and pedagogy;
  • Offers adult education courses for the CESJDS and Greater Washington area community. 

Meet our CEEJH Experts

Rachel Bergstein
Director of Center for Excellence and Engagement in Jewish History

Rachel Bergstein is the Director of the CESJDS Center for Excellence and Engagement in Jewish History and teaches high school Jewish history and American history at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. She has an undergraduate degree in Jewish Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and a graduate degree in Jewish history from Yale University.  Rachel has also studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and at the Drisha Institute for Jewish Education in New York. Rachel teaches courses on American Jewish History and Modern Jewish History with a particular emphasis on culture, race, and religion. Her dissertation research focused on the role of Jews in the American South. Rachel has offered adult education lectures and classes at various local institutions and has served as a Scholar-in-Residence in Hazelton, PA.  In 2016, Rachel was awarded the Beryl and Norman Meyer Outstanding Educator Award from the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.  

Aaron Bregman
Evonne and Elliot Schnitzer Family Jewish History Department Chair

Aaron Bregman is the Evonne and Elliot Schnitzer Family Jewish History Department Chair at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. Aaron grew up in Boston, MA and attended American University in Washington, DC, where he received his B.A. in History with a concentration in American Foreign Policy & Jewish Studies, and his M.A. in Secondary Education. In 2016, he earned a Post-Master’s Certificate in Educational Leadership and Administration from the George Washington University. Aaron began his teaching career just outside of the Boston area and later transitioned to working at The David Project, a non-profit organization that helps shape campus opinions on Israel. As the High School Curriculum/Program Manager for The David Project from 2009-2012, Aaron was responsible for developing and maintaining strong working relationships with Jewish Day School teachers across North America. During his tenure, he edited, researched and re-constructed The David Project’s high school curriculum on the Arab-Israeli Conflict. In the summer of 2012, Aaron returned to the classroom, and for the past seven years has taught American, European and Middle East Jewish History at CESJDS.

Dr. Sara Coxe
Immediate past Jewish History Department Chair

Dr. Sara Coxe is the immediate past Jewish History Department chair at CESJDS.  Since 2004,  she has been teaching a variety of different courses, including Ancient and Medieval Jewish History, Modern Jewish History, History of Modern Israel, and Comparative Religion.  Sara has an undergraduate degree in religion from Emory University, a Masters degree in Jewish Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. in religious studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  In addition to her experience in the high school classroom, she previously served as the Director of Education and Youth in a synagogue in Connecticut.  

Dr. Daniel Rosenthal
High School Jewish History Teacher

Dr. Daniel Rosenthal received his Ph.D. in History (also completing the collaborative Jewish Studies Graduate Program) in 2014 from the University of Toronto, writing a dissertation on the transformations in Jewish society and selfhood following the First World War as reflected through the institutions of death, burial, and mourning. He held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Haifa through the Israeli Inter-university Academic Partnership for Eastern European Studies.  Previously, Dan received a B.A. in history with university and departmental honors from the Johns Hopkins University and an M.A, in history and Jewish studies, from the University of Toronto. He has published articles on the response to Jewish suicide in the Eastern Europe during the period between the World Wars, and he worked as a curatorial intern at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.  Dan joined the Jewish History faculty of his alma mater, CESJDS, in 2015.