brunette woman in pink shirt

Office: 727 Wells Hall


Ph.D., Georgetown University, 2013 (Religious Studies)

M.A., McMaster University, 2008 (Religious Studies)

M.St., Oxford University, 2006 (Jewish Studies)

B.A., Oxford University, 2005


Jewish education

19th century Jewish history

Religion and education in America

The category of religion and the development of Religious Studies


Laura Yares is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Michigan State University. Her research and teaching centers on the Jewish experience in modernity, with particular interests in 19th century American Judaism, and Jewish education. Her doctoral work focused on the development of Sunday schools in the Reform movement in 19th century America, and the integration of the category of religion into American Reform education. She is currently at work on a book length manuscript based on her dissertation.   Recently published articles include a monograph on the material culture of flowers in 19th century Jewish confirmation ceremonies for Shofar, and an article on the integration of developmental psychology into 19th century Reform Jewish pedagogy for the Journal of Jewish Education.

Following the completion of her doctoral work, she spent four years as Director of Educational Research at Hillel International, a Jewish non-profit, where she developed research and training in experiential education. She has served as a consultant for a variety of Jewish educational settings and is particularly interested in the nexus between theory and practice in supplemental Jewish educational settings, and in adult Jewish learning.

Her newest project focuses on the intersection between Jewish education and cultural arts, initially developed as a collaborative research agenda with the George Washington University and the Consortium for Applied Studies in Jewish Education. She currently serves on the Book Review committee of the Journal of Jewish Education, and on the Executive Committee of the Network for Research in Jewish Education.


  • REL 101 Exploring Religions
  • REL 411 Modern Jewish Thought