Shira M. Berkovits is a WINGS Youth Consultant for the Department of Synagogue Services at the OU. Previously, Shira served as Youth Director of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and Assistant Youth Director of the Young Israel of Staten Island. Shira has a Ph.D. in Learning Processes and Behavior Analysis, Psychology from the Graduate Center, CUNY, where she was an Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellow and adjunct professor. Shira completed a post-doctoral psychology fellowship at Einstein’s Kennedy Center, where she provided family-therapy to parents and young children with trauma backgrounds, as well as a post-doctoral psychology fellowship at TASC (Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities), where she worked with the Bronx Mental Health Court to conduct clinical interviews of criminal defendants and recommend rehabilitative alternatives to incarceration.
Shira also has a J.D. with concentrations in criminal and family law from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she was a Monrad Paulson Scholar. While at Cardozo, Shira interned at the Innocence Project, Center for Court Innovation, and the National Child Protection Training Center. She also represented battered women and adolescent defendants, mediated legal disputes at Manhattan's Family Court, traveled to the Thai-Myanmar border as an AJWS Global Justice Fellow to combat violence against women and children, and co-authored Rethinking Rikers, a report for the NYC Board of Corrections recommending an end to solitary confinement and a shift from a punitive to rehabilitative model for incarcerated youth. Currently Shira is writing, lecturing, and consulting for Jewish communities around the world on ways to educate, protect, and advocate for children. She is the author of the upcoming book: Preventing and Responding to Child Sexual Abuse: A Policy Guide for Synagogue Professionals and Lay Leaders.