The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies and The Schechter Rabbinical Seminary are experiencing significant increases in new student registration ahead of the upcoming academic year
Schechter’s graduate school kicked off the 2020-2021 academic year with a 20% increase in student registration compared to the previous year.
The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies remains the only and largest academic institution in Israel devoted to Jewish Studies.
Speaking to the increase in students in light of the coronavirus pandemic, President of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, Professor Doron Bar explained, “We were prepared ahead of time and held Zoom workshops for our lecturers, purchased electronic equipment and expanded the administrative and academic staff to provide extra support in order to adapt to a hybrid style of learning that combines online and in-person studies.”
Adding, “this is challenging because the program has relied largely on text-based sources and we have moved completely to computers, however, we managed to meet these challenges by examining issues like how to conduct tours for the Jerusalem and Israel Studies program and how to continue doing hevruta style learning in accordance to Health Ministry guidelines. We also had to think about how to approach our practical workshops for the Music Studies and Jewish Thought tracks.”
Fitting to the current times, Schechter held their graduation ceremony via Zoom on Thursday, October 22.
The Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, which trains the next generation of Jewish leaders within the Masorti Movement in Israel, also reports a similar increase in student enrollment throughout all of their programs. There is also enrollment of students from all over the world. This year, for example, The Ordination Program will have, not only students from Israel but also students hailing from Austria, Serbia, The United States, The Netherlands and Hungary.
“I think we need to at least understand that computer-based learning is one of the most important things needed to build a curriculum in such a way that the students are involved in the creation of the lessons,” said Rabbi Avi Novis Deutsch, Dean of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, about the shift from in-person to online studies.
“This is actually the first time that Torah learning is taking place entirely online. We will use this modern tool for learning ancient subjects with the awareness that this is also a meaningful opportunity,” he adds.