Schneur Zalman Newfield is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Jewish Studies at Hunter College. He received his PhD in Sociology from New York University, with a focus on cultural sociology and the study of identity, narrative, and resocialization. He holds an MA from NYU in sociology and a BA from Brooklyn College, CUNY, in psychology. Prior to arriving at Hunter, he was an Assistant Professor at Borough of Manhattan Community College. Before joining CUNY, he taught sociology courses for two years in six New Jersey state prisons through Rutgers University-Newark’s New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons (NJ-STEP) program.
Dr. Newfield’s research focuses on the process individuals undergo when making major life transitions. His book, Degrees of Separation: Identity Formation While Leaving Ultra-Orthodox Judaism (Temple University Press, 2020), explores the lives of a group of men and women who were raised in ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities and decided to leave that way of life.
Professor Newfield was raised in the ultra-Orthodox Lubavitch Hasidic community in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. He attended religious schools that did not teach their students any secular education. He is passionate about assisting those raised in the ultra-Orthodox community to pursue the promise of higher education and help them acclimate to the college environment.