Research Passions: gender, family, religion, Latter-day Saints, survey methodology, impact evaluation
Michelle Shain is the assistant director of the Center for Communal Research. She works with Jewish communal professionals and lay leaders to harness the power of data for better decision-making.
Michelle believes that rigorous social science improves the world by helping us overcome our biases. She loves gathering evidence and testing hypotheses, and she approaches her work with both an open mind and a healthy dose of skepticism.
Before joining the OU, Michelle spent ten years as a researcher at Brandeis University’s Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, where she was a key analyst on the ongoing program of research on the impact of Birthright Israel. Her work has been published in prestigious academic journals, including the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Review of Religious Research, and she has served as an advisor on major studies conducted by the Pew Research Center and UJA-Federation of New York. Michelle regularly engages with the Jewish community through public presentations, webinars, and op-eds.
Michelle holds a PhD in Social Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, an MA from the Avraham Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a BA in Anthropology and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University.
Michelle loves living “out of town” in Sharon, Massachusetts with her husband, Adam, and their four children. She is always seeking a new challenge and is currently learning to play classic lever harp.