Ari Y. Kelman

Ari Y. Kelman

Faculty Webpage
Education & Jewish Studies

(650) 723-0792

Graduate School of Education
658 Lasuen Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-3096

Interim Director, Taube Center for Jewish Studies; Jim Joseph Chair in Education and Jewish Studies

Graduate School of Education


Ari Y Kelman is the inaugural Jim Joseph Professor of Education and Jewish Studies in the Graduate School of Education, where he directs the Concentration in Education and Jewish Studies.  He is an affiliate of the Taube Center for Jewish Studies and the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, a member of the American Studies Committee-in-Charge, and, by courtesy, a professor of Religious Studies.  He is the author of Station Identification: A Cultural History of Yiddish Radio, the editor of Is Diss a System: a Milt Gross Comic Reader, and the co-author of Sacred Strategies: Transforming Congregations from Functional to Visionary, which won a National Jewish Book Award.  He is the co-author of a number of influential studies of contemporary Jewish identity and culture covering topics from Israel to the internet.  He is continuing his scholarship at the intersection between religion and education primarily in non-scholastic settings.  At Stanford, he and his wife (and children) serve as the Resident Fellows for Twain House, an all-frosh dormitory.


Current:  The pre-history of Fiddler on the Roof; the emergence of “Jewish identity;” How Jews learned about Kibbutz life in the 1950s; How people learn about Jewish culture; how people learn to be religious.

Research Summary:

Ari is interested in how people develop relationships with religious concepts, practices, rituals, and notions of heritage.  Thinking educationally, this certainly happens at schools, but more often happens in much more informal settings, and in conversation with cultural rather than formally instructional texts.

Current Research:

Ari is completing a book that explores the culture of contemporary evangelical worship music. The book examines how songwriters, worship leaders, and music industry professionals understand the delicate balance between songs as vehicles for faith and the faith that the songs are supposed to convey.  He is also in the middle of a project that is exploring the ways in which people learn about Jewish culture.

Research Interests:

  • Religion
  • Alternative Schooling
  • History of Education
  • Identity
  • Civic Education
  • Social Networks
  • Sociology of Culture
  • Sociology of Education
  • Cultural Studies
  • Multiculturalism
  • Music Education
  • Education and Migration
  • Ethnography
  • Private Schools



Ari serves on the Executive Committees of the American Jewish Historical Society and the Association for the Social Scientific Study of Judaism.