Idana Goldberg received a B.A. in archaeology from Barnard College and her doctorate in history from the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation focused on the origins of American Jewish civic culture in the nineteenth century, paying particular attention to the centrality of philanthropy to Jewish identity and the importance of gender as an organizing principle of Jewish public life. Previously, Goldberg was a research associate at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation where she co-authored Crafting A Class: College Admissions and Financial Aid, 1955–1994, a historical and quantitative analysis of educational trends at selective liberal arts colleges. She is currently an independent scholar who works in the field of Jewish philanthropy.