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Dr. Saul Philip Wachs Chair of Jewish Life and Learning

Gratz College
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and surrounding suburbs
Commensurate with experience
Date posted
Mar 5, 2024

Job Details

Gratz College invites applications for the Dr. Saul Philip Wachs Chair of Jewish Life and Learning. The full-time appointment is a joint administrative and tenure-track or tenured faculty (open rank) position and will commence on September 1, 2024, or shortly thereafter. The Chair intends to establish a legacy for Dr. Wachs, a longtime Gratz faculty member and former dean, noted researcher in Jewish education and Jewish textual traditions, and internationally renowned teacher and lecturer in academic and public circles.



The successful candidate must hold a Ph.D. in Jewish Studies, Jewish Education, or a closely related field, with a strong preference for someone with deep expertise in Jewish textual traditions and the ability to relate these traditions to contemporary challenges. Candidates will have an established reputation, administrative leadership experience and possess a strong network of relationships with the constellation of agencies that interface with Jewish Studies and Jewish Education.


Academic Programs

Gratz College’s Department of Jewish Studies supports various online-based graduate level degree programs: Jewish Studies (M.A. and Ph.D.), Jewish Education (M.Ed.), and Jewish Professional Studies (M.S.). Students in this program share a passionate commitment for Jewish learning and its application for professional work in teaching and education, outreach and lifelong scholarship.


The incoming Wachs Chair will grow these programs and advance the mission of the Department through strategic partnerships and coordinated philanthropic efforts with Gratz’s senior leadership. The Wachs Chair serves as the academic program director of the Department’s degree programs (in coordination with the Director of Nonprofit Management Programs) and will work with the Dean’s Office to manage student, faculty, and course-specific needs. The successful candidate will teach three courses per academic year. 



The Wachs Chair will be required to live in the Greater Philadelphia area. If currently based outside of this area, the successful candidate will be required to relocate by September 2025.


Public Scholarship

Public scholarship is an important component of the Wachs Chair for several reasons. First, for more than a century, Gratz College has been an anchor of Jewish learning, culture, and wisdom for Philadelphia’s Jewish community. Second and more recently, Gratz has broadened its reach to other Jewish communities through remote learning and has established partnerships to provide public-facing programming to people hailing from Jewish communities across North America and beyond. Third, Gratz is in the process of reimagining its campus and public-facing identity as a site for public-facing learning. In keeping with its nonsectarian approach, Gratz has set a vision to cultivate a “pluralistic beit midrash,” meant for all people to obtain access to high level Jewish wisdom, experience Jewish culture, and thereby widen their relationships and perspective.



  • Teach three courses and mentor students in Jewish Studies, Jewish Education, and Jewish Professional Studies graduate degree programs. Serve as a teacher for the Gratz academic communities and public lecturer for the communities beyond. Oversee and develop degree programs in partnership with the Director of Nonprofit Management Programs. These include Jewish Studies (M.A. and Ph.D.), Jewish Education (M.Ed.), and Jewish Professional Studies (M.S.). Work with the Dean’s Office to manage student, faculty, and course-specific needs. This includes student advising and coordinating with the Dean’s Office on (a) Admissions, (b) Registrar, Financial Aid, (c) Bursar matters, (d) hiring of adjunct faculty, and (e) course scheduling. Oversee all public-facing programming related to the Department of Jewish Studies in coordination with Gratz’s Director of Adult Jewish Learning.



  • Ph.D. in Jewish Studies/Jewish Education or related field. Strong record of publications and public scholarship including a focus on relating Jewish textual traditions to contemporary challenges withing the Jewish communities of the Diaspora and Israel.  Department chair or a similar academic/administrative leadership position. Strong record of innovative teaching, especially with online modalities, such as the Canvas LMS. Strong record of non-degree programming (i.e., webinars, public lectures, non-degree certificate/microcredential programs). Strong record of networking with the constellation of agencies that interface with Jewish Studies and Jewish Education.



  • Collaborative work with faculty and staff in a small college setting. Experience with public speaking and outreach transferable to the Department of Jewish Studies and Gratz College. Experience with budgeting and grant-writing (fundraising) process. Experience in the management of staff members. Familiarity with the enrollment management field.

Founded in 1895, Gratz College is the oldest independent and pluralistic Jewish college in North America. Its mission is to advance both education and applied Jewish wisdom for the benefit of a diverse student population, the Jewish community, and all people. The College achieves this mission through accredited degree programs, scholarship, and public engagement. Evolving from its roots as a Hebrew teacher’s college, Gratz today enrolls students of all backgrounds from across the world in a diverse range of online degree and certificate programs.


To apply, candidates will assemble a portfolio that includes a cover letter, indicating reasons for interest in this position, CV, evidence of excellence in scholarship (sample article or chapter) and a summary of recent teaching evaluations, a statement on teaching philosophy (that addresses online-based higher education), as well as contact information for two letters of reference. Applications may be submitted to Position is open until filled. Competitive salary is commensurate with experience.


Gratz College is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, genetic information, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation or protected veteran status. Persons needing accommodations or assistance with the accessibility of materials related to this search are encouraged to contact


Gratz College is internationally recognized as a leader in developing effective educators, professionals, leaders and scholars, both within and beyond the Jewish community; inspiring life-long learners; and helping to build informed and strong communities through education grounded in Jewish values.

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