Shulamith ReichElster

Called the dean of Jewish education, Shulamith Reich Elster’s career ran the gamut from camp counselor to executive director of a major educational nonprofit. Elster spent summers working at Camp Ramah before she earned her MA from Columbia’s Teacher’s College in 1959 and began teaching social studies in New York public schools. From 1964–1968 she was an associate professor at Youngstown State University and faculty advisor to their Jewish Student Union. After earning a doctorate in education from George Washington University in 1978, she became assistant principal of the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Silver Spring, Maryland. In 1982 she became headmaster, growing the school to over 1,000 students and 150 faculty and making its Jewish and general curricula a model for other day schools. In 1991 she became the chief education officer of the Council for Initiatives in Jewish Education, and two years later founded the graduate program in Jewish education at Baltimore Hebrew University. In 1997 she became executive director of Hillel of Greater Washington. From 2004–2013 she served as executive director of the Partnership for Jewish Life and Learning, and as of 2014 is co-director of Wider Opportunities for Women.

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Date of Birth

Elster, VA
United States

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Shulamith Reich Elster ." (Viewed on May 10, 2021) <>.


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