Erica Brown


Dr. Erica Brown is the Vice Provost for Values and Leadership at Yeshiva University and the founding director of its Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks-Herenstein Center for Values and Leadership. She was both a faculty member and a student of Rabbi Sacks’ at Jews’ College, where Rabbi Sacks served as her Masters’ thesis advisor. Erica previously served as the director of the Mayberg Center for Jewish Education and Leadership and an associate professor of curriculum and pedagogy at The George Washington University. Erica is the author of twelve books on leadership, the Hebrew Bible and spirituality. Erica has a daily podcast, “Take Your Soul to Work.” Her latest book Esther: Power, Fate and Fragility in Exile (Maggid) was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award.

She has been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Tablet, First Things, and The Jewish Review of Books and wrote a monthly column for the New York Jewish Week. She has blogged for Psychology Today, Newsweek/Washington Post’s “On Faith” and JTA and tweeted on one page of Talmud study a day @DrEricaBrown.

Dr. Brown has Master’s degrees from the Institute of Education (University of London), Jews’ College (University of London) and Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Baltimore Hebrew University. Erica was a Jerusalem Fellow, is a faculty member of the Wexner Foundation, an Avi Chai Fellow and the recipient of the 2009 Covenant Award for her work in education. She was the scholar-in-residence at both The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Boston and as the community scholar for the Jewish Center of New York. She currently serves as a community scholar for Congregation Etz Chaim in Livingston, NJ.


Ecclesiastes and the Search for Meaning (forthcoming, Maggid)

The Book of Esther: Power, Fate and Fragility in Exile (Maggid/OU, 2020) – National Jewish Book Award finalist

The Book of Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet (Maggid/OU Summer 2017)

Take Your Soul to Work: Daily Meditations on Every Day Leadership (Simon and Schuster, December 2015)

Seder Talk: A Conversational Haggada (Koren/OU March, 2015)

Happier Endings: A Meditation on Life and Death (Simon and Schuster, 2013) – winner of Wilbur and Nautilus Awards for Spiritual Writing

Leadership in the Wilderness: Authority and Anxiety in the Book of Numbers (OU/Koren 2013)

Return: Daily Inspiration for the Days of Awe (OU/Koren, September 2012)

In the Narrow Places (OU/Koren 2011)

Confronting Scandal (Jewish Lights, 2010)

Spiritual Boredom (Jewish Lights, 2009)

The Case for Jewish Peoplehood (Jewish Lights, 2008)

Inspired Jewish Leadership (Jewish Lights, 2008), Jewish National Book Award finalist

Journal Articles

Journal of Religious Education

“The Relationship of Vulnerability to Religiosity in the Adult Jewish Learner,” (Spring/2019)

“Education for an Ex-Role: Perceptions of Schooling from the Newly Un-Orthodox,” (113:5, 2018)

“An Intimate Spectator: Jewish Women Reflect on Adult Study,” (97:2, 2002)


The Torah U-Madda Journal

“The Jewish Spirit of Leadership,” (2005)

“Sincerity and Authenticity in Teaching” (2002-03)

“Turning All the Past to Pain: ‘Current Trends in the Memorialization of the Holocaust,” (September, 20001)



“The Emotional Range of R. Norman Lamm’s Sermons,” (Fall, 2021)

“The Jonathan Sacks Haggada: Judaism Begins at Home” (March 7, 2021)

“What is Life Worth?” Thoughts on the Siyyum Ha-Shas (Jan. 31, 2020)

“Pedagogic Disturbances in the Jewish Adult Classroom: The Teaching and Learning of Morally Problematic Biblical Texts,” (Summer/2019)

“Standing Idly By: When Leaders Enable Sexual Abuse,” (vol. 50, no. 2, summer, 2017)

“Review Essay: A Strictly Kosher Review” (Winter, 2012)


Jewish Quarterly Review

“In the Image: Thoughts on Modernist Form and Jewish Identity,” (vol. 61, issue 3-4, 2014)


Jewish Thought Leadership

The Atlantic

“Tweeting the Talmud,” January 3, 2020

“Having and Esther Moment,” March 8, 2020


First Things

“Jonah’s Prayer,” September 2, 2021

“Ruth and the Long Embrace,” June 1, 2021

“Friendship After COVID,” January 5, 2021

“Spiritual Social Distancing,” September 17, 2020

“Scrolls of Hate and Love,” January 31, 2020


The New York Times

“Death: A Nice Opportunity for Regret,” November 9,  2012

Featured in David Brooks, “The Arduous Community,” December 20, 2010


Wall Street Journal

Review of Happier Endings, Amy Finnerty, “A Better Journey to the Final Exit,” April 5, 2013


Jewish Review of Books

“Jewish Acculturation in America: A Symposium” (Aug 31, 2018)

“The Burnt Pot” (August 30, 2018)



“Redeem Yourself,” June 7, 2019

“Waiting for the World to Change,” March 23, 2018

“Storms are a Wake-Up Call to Humanity,” September 12, 2017

“Can a Divided America Heal?,” November 9, 2016



“Joyful Planting: COVID and the Prohibition of Planting During the Three Weeks,” July 12, 2021

“Get Rid of the Manels – and Panels Too,” September 25, 2020

“Why Wasn’t Jonah Punished? Reading Jonah during COVID,” September 24, 2020

“The Power of Secrets: Jacob, Laban, and the Passover Haggadah,” April 5, 2020

“Who Knows? Jewish Leadership in Times of Uncertainty,” March 23, 2020

“Joy at Last: Reflections on the End of Esther,” February 25, 2020

Journal of Jewish Communal Service

“Consumers and Stakeholders: Becoming a Welcoming Organization,” (Winter/Spring, 2013).

“Personal, Institutional, and Communal Leadership: Rethinking Leadership Development for the Jewish Community,” (Winter, 2007).

“Making Inspired Leaders: New Approaches to Jewish Leadership Development”  (Winter, 2006).

“The Federation as an Educational Catalyst,” vol.75, no.4 (Summer, 1999)


Orthodox Forum Book Chapters

“Orthodoxy and the Search for Spirituality in Jewish Adult Education,” Orthodox Forum series, Yeshiva University Press/Ktav (2012)

“What Are We Afraid Of? Fear and Its Role in Jewish Adult Education,” Orthodox Forum series, Yeshiva University Press/Ktav (2007)


The New York Jewish Week

Monthly Column, (2012-2018)


Journal of Jewish Ideas and Ideals

“Walking Humbly: A Brief Interpretive History of Micah 6:8”

“Reading Tamar”


eJewish Philanthropy (select titles)

“Prayers for National Healing,” November 25, 2020

“Spiritualizing Job Loss,” June 17, 2020

“Seeing Ruth’s Face,” May 27, 2020

“A Cup Full of Gratitude for Teachers and a Challenge,” Dec. 9, 2019

“What Are We Talking about When We Talk about Engagement?” August 28, 2019

“The Case for Jewish Day Schools” Jan. 2, 2018

“Reflecting and Celebrating: Conversations on Jewish Education,” March 5, 2018

“A Jewish Public Service Confessional,” Sept., 2018

“Peoplehood Fatigue” (appeared first in Paperhood Papers volume 22 – “Israel@70: A Peoplehood Perspective” – published by the Center for Jewish Peoplehood Education, Oct. 2, 2018


Jewish Educational Leadership Journal, Lookstein Center, Bar-Ilan University

“Leave Meeting: Creating Closure in Adult Online Classes (Sept. 30, 2021)


HaYidion, education publication of Prizmah

“Building More Trusting Partnerships” (Spring, 2021)

“Sit Next to Me: An Invitation for Second Stage Mentoring (Summer, 2019)

“Educational Excellence in Day Schools: What It is and How We Get There” (Winter, 2019)

“The All Chiefs Crisis in Jewish Education” (Spring, 2012)

“Strengthening Et

“Inspiring Innovation in Jewish Day Schools (Summer, 2009)