Professional Staff

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NEXT Program Director  - Rabbi Erin Hirsh, MAHL, MAJED

Rabbi Erin Hirsh is currently serving as Interim President of Gratz College effective February 1, 2017. [Dina Maiben is serving as Acting Director of Gratz Advance and NEXT during this period.]

Rabbi Hirsh, Assistant Professor of Jewish Education, is the Director of Gratz Advance, which is Gratz College's newest department. Gratz Advance includes NEXT: the Professional Learning Program for Supplementary School Teachers, which Rabbi Hirsh created. It also encompasses other programs related to supplementary Jewish education, such as Havayah, an experiential fifth grade communal curriculum and JSASIP: Jewish School Assessment School Improvement Process. Rabbi Hirsh's Gratz Advance portfolio also includes all of Gratz College's programs for high school students, including the Jewish Community High School, JOLT: Jewish Online Learning for Teens and Gratz Academy, which offers college credit opportunities for high school students. 

Rabbi Hirsh earned a Master of Arts in Jewish Education from Gratz College in 2016. She earned a Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters and the title rabbi from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 2000. Rabbi Hirsh earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, with emphases in Jewish Studies and Women's Studies, from Vassar College.

Prior to coming to Gratz College, Rabbi Hirsh served as Director of Congregational Education for the Reconstructionist Movement. In that capacity, she trained and mentored dozens of rabbis, Jewish educators, and communal leaders. Rabbi Hirsh also directed two congregational schools in the Greater Philadelphia area for more than a decade.



Dina Maiben, MAJS - Acting Director, Gratz Advance

Dina Maiben is the Acting Director of Gratz Advance, the Director of the Jewish Community High School and JOLT: Jewish Online Learning for Teens, as well as an Adjunct Instructor and Hebrew Coordinator for Gratz College. Dina has worked extensively in the field of Jewish Education, in both formal and informal settings.  She has served as a Hebrew School director, classroom teacher, youth director, camp counselor, program director, and consultant.  She was the founding chair of Monmouth County’s Commission on Jewish Education.  Dina has authored nineteen books and more than two dozen journal articles and stories.  Nationally recognized for her work in the area of Hebrew reading instruction, her Hebrew primer, Alef Bet Quest, won the Association of Educational Publishers’ Distinguished Achievement Award for World Language in 2010.  Her most recent book, Ready, Set…Go Alef Bet!, is the first fully integrated multi-media Hebrew pre-primer. She also co-authored Z’man Likro and Z’man L’tefilah.

Dina holds an M.A. in Jewish Studies and an Advanced Certificate in Jewish Education from Gratz College, and a B.A. in Middle East Studies: Hebrew from the University of Utah.  She also studied at the University of Haifa in Haifa, Israel.  Dina is currently a doctoral candidate at Gratz College.



NEXT Technology Integration Educator - Peter Eckstein  MAJED, MAED

Peter Eckstein is the Technology Integration Educator for the NEXT Program and the Friedman Commission for Jewish Education He also is founder and Lead Educator for JEdHorizons LLC.  Having earned his Masters in Elementary Education from Nova Southeastern University and in Jewish Education from Hebrew College, Peter also has certificates in Education Technology Integration, as well as in Online and Blended Learning Design from Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education. He has earned the title Reform Jewish Educator (RJE) from the Reform Movement and Conservative Jewish Educator (CJE) from the Conservative Movement. He tweets as @redmenace56