While you may be familiar with Schechter’s engaging learning for M.A. and rabbinical students you might not know that courses for the general public are offered on Schechter’s Jerusalem campus, meeting a need for high-level, substantive Jewish learning in both Hebrew and English. This compliments the other general public courses of Midreshet Schechter, classes that meet across Israel, allowing people from all different walks of life to reap the benefits of learning with Schechter’s esteemed faculty.
Adult education courses at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem include some 12 courses per semester with a total of about 300 participants per year. The fall 2019 semester includes 6 courses in English on Jewish literature, philosophy, art and music and 6 courses in Hebrew on Jewish philosophy, recent Israeli history, Ladino, bibliotherapy, and Jewish art. Students in these programs range from post-army young men and women to lifetime learners in their 50s-70s, native-born Israelis and new immigrants. The informal atmosphere and fruitful interaction between lecturers and students adds to the uniqueness of Schechter’s program.
Schechter Batei Midrash Learning Centers in northern Israel (the Galilee, Haifa, Karmiel) and Tel Aviv offer a wide variety of adult education classes. Many of the Batei Midrash are held in cooperation with Conservative/Masorti congregations while others take place in local community centers. Unique to Midreshet Schechter’s Batei Midrash is an outlook combining love for text study along with intellectual rigor. The program helps Masorti congregations broaden their appeal to the general public on the one hand, and offers diverse populations an acquaintance with the open and welcoming approach of Masorti Judaism on the other. Over 400 people currently participate in 20 ongoing classes and lecture series.
Additionally, Schechter has been thrilled to partner with congregations in North America to offer study missions geared to their particular interests. This past October was the second delegation of the Israel Law and Learn Seminar in partnership with Rabbi Jonathan Infeld and Beth Israel Congregation of Vancouver. This group of lawyers and judges spent nearly a week in Israel exploring the theme, “Israel: The Legalities of Creating a Modern Nation-State,” with top Schechter faculty and outside guests. The group had sessions with Canadian Ambassador to Israel, H.E. Deborah A. Lyons, past president of the Israeli Supreme court, Justice Dorit Beinisch, legal scholars Profs. Mordechai Kremnitzer and Avi Bell and Dr. David Breakstone, Vice Chairman of the Jewish Agency among others. Pictured below.
Today, many Israelis who lack a solid background in Jewish studies, or who are seeking personal enrichment, are seeking venues where they can fill in this knowledge gap. They are not interested in a degree program but rather are seeking informal Jewish studies programs. Many adult education programs in Jewish studies in Israel have an Orthodox orientation and agenda, which dissuades many potential learners. Others are declaredly “secular” and draw specifically non-observant students.
Schechter’s Jewish studies enrichment courses and seminars offer high-quality, serious, academically oriented and open-minded classes geared to Israelis and North Americans from all backgrounds, from secular to Orthodox.
When are you coming to study at Schechter?