JCHS Course Catalog

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Course Descriptions

The courses listed below may not be offered each academic year.

* Denotes College Level Course


*110: A BIBLE SURVEY  An overview of Torah, Prophets and Writings with special attention given to the unique contribution each section makes to the enrichment of modern-day life.  Students will analyze representative chapters and verses. Fulfills course requirement for IMWise program

111: AUTHORITY & REBELLION IN THE BIBLE  Examine how biblical figures dealt with issues of authority and rebellion and relate their behavior to contemporary teenage life.

112: JOSHUA & JUDGES  What happens after Deuteronomy? This class will learn about famous Judges and Early Prophets.  Through a close reading of the text and classroom discussion, students become familiar with issues relating to the personal and national development of the Israelite nation.

113: ISRAELITE NATION IN CRISIS  Study of the books of Kings and the literary prophets from the time of Solomon and Includes the Babylonian Exile and Return. Emphasizes problems of idolatry, intermarriage, social injustice and the prophets’ responses to these issues.

114: FIVE MEGILLOT & JONAH  When do we read Lamentations?  What holiday is associated with the Song of Songs?  Become familiar with the unique characteristics of all Five Scrolls and the holidays with which they are associated.

*115: WRITINGS, PSALMS, PROVERBS & JOB  Study the books of Proverbs, Job and Psalms and how helpful the insights from these writings can be for our lives today.

116: TORAH BY THE WEEK  Review each week’s Parasha (Torah reading) by analyzing its structure, value content and relevance to modern Jewish life.  Students dramatize appropriate material to make it come alive.

116A: THE DRAMA OF TORAH  Study the Bible through the use of creative techniques in drama, art and music.

117: A TASTE OF TEXT  Gain familiarity with the Talmud and Midrash by studying texts which exemplify Jewish ethical principles such as life-after- death, speech and language, honesty and truth.

120:  TaNaKH HEVRUTA An advanced Bible course that will engage students in discovering the meaning of the text and becoming familiar with interpretation. 

120A: ADVANCED TaNaKH HEVRUTA Students will read the text in Hebrew and class discussions will use the Hebrew language.

122: BIBLE – UNCOVERED  Discuss the fascinating relationships of the Bible including David and Bathsheba, Hannah and Elkanah, David and Jonathan, Rebecca and Leah, and many others.

140: PROPHETS GUIDE TO SAVING SOCIETY  Why are there no prophets today? What were the prophets trying to tell us, and is their message relevant to today? Students will explore these questions and become familiar with the Prophets’ messages and why we should still be listening them.

175: SEX IN THE TEXT  What does our tradition say about love?  Intimacy?  Pre-marital sex?  Participate in this class to find out how our biblical and rabbinic texts viewed the intimate experience of our ancestors and what is relevant for us today.

177: PSYCHOLOGY AND JUDAISM  Explore the psychological dynamics of the Families and Relationships in the Bible: sibling relationships, family dynamics, strong feelings of love, anger, jealousy, revenge.  Class discussions will illuminate these dynamics from a psychological and Jewish point of view.


200: WRITTEN AND SPOKEN MODERN HEBREW  A course designed for students who have never learned Hebrew or would like to review. Students will learn to read fluently, comprehend, write and speak Hebrew with relative ease.

201: BEGINNERS HEBREW This course will provide students with the basic skills of conversing, comprehending, reading and writing in Hebrew.  Classes are conducted mainly in Hebrew covering topics of everyday situations.

202:  INTERMEDIATE CONVERSATIONAL HEBREW  This course insures basic fluency and competency in reading and writing. 

203: INTERMEDIATE CONVERSATIONAL HEBREW II  Continuation of basic fluency and competency in reading a writing

*204:  ADVANCED ULPAN  This course will reinforce all four language skills listed above.  The future tense will be introduced and practiced.  Readings will include stories and articles of Jewish content.

*205: ADVANCED ULPAN II  This course continues to reinforce the four language skills.

*206: HONORS ULPAN This course is designed for the students who are proficient in all four language skills.  Reading materials will include writing styles, and poetry, newspapers and magazines.

*207: HEBREW  This course will emphasize the reading analysis and discussion of different Hebrew literary styles of prose and poetry.  This course will also review the different verb patterns and all tenses.

214W: BASIC HEBREW This fulfills the IMWise Hebrew requirement. Students will show proficiency in reading Hebrew and will exhibit understanding of basic Hebrew prayers and will be able to uderstand Reform liturgy.  Students passing a Hebrew exam in the beginning of the year may be able to select another JCHS course in its place. 

218: LEARN “101" HEBREW ROOTS  This class teaches core vocabulary words to facilitate understanding of Hebrew in prayers and text study.  Students will be excited about being able to comprehend what they are “praying”.

220: OY VEY! YIDDISH  Yiddish is a language a thousand years old, as old as English.  It has been the glue that has held the Jewish people together for centuries with expressions revealing the soul of the Jewish people.  Be able to converse in Yiddish while learning Yiddish phrases about home life, family and Jewish holidays.

220A: ADVANCED YIDDISH  For students with a basic knowledge of Yiddish, this class will offer more extensive language instruction in reading, writing and speaking.  The class offers students opportunities to incorporate creative activities in Yiddish as well.

222: HEBREW CHAT ROOM  A conversation class for students with basic Hebrew knowledge.  Students talk about current and trendy topics guided by a faculty member.  This class keeps up speaking skills and adds new vocabulary.

251: HEBREW LEVEL  Emphasis on reading and discussions of stories.  Writing, conversation and different word patterns are also covered.  Students will present oral and written work.

252: SHIUR B’IVRIT  Reinforcement of all four language skills utilizing active discussion and writing. 

253: INTENSIVE HEBREW  Students will continue to reinforce language skills.  Future tense introduced.  Students will present oral and written work.




321:   JEWISH LITERATURE This course focuses on Jewish themes from books and short stories written in English.  The texts chosen take the student into various time frames and also deals with the history, social values and philosophies of the period.  An investigative interpretation of each work provides the student with new perspectives of well-known stories dealing with Jewish life.

322:  ADVANCED JEWISH LITERATURE  This course delves into the literary worlds of two contemporary Jewish authors, Elie Wiesel and Chaim Potok.  The books and stories read during the course offer thought-provoking themes for discussion and analysis.  Readings cover the area of Hasidic life in the past and present, family relationships, personal sacrifices and the conflicts and struggles surrounding individual goals and objectives.

323: CREATIVE WRITING & JEWISH LITERATURE This course is for students who want to explore their own writing within a Jewish context and learn about Jewish themes from books and short stories written in English.  The texts chosen take the student into various time frames and also deals with the history, social values and philosophies of the period.  An investigative interpretation of each work provides the student with new perspectives of well-known stories dealing with Jewish life.

351: HEBREW LITERATURE  Focus on Jewish themes using Hebrew books and short stories.  The texts chosen will take the student into various time frames of Jewish history, social values and philosophies of the period.




400: JEWISH CULTURE THROUGH FILM  This course explores the heritage of American Jews through film and television, including the American Jewish experience, religion and identity, using features and documentaries from both American and foreign productions.

403:  PIRKE AVOT – JEWISH ETHICS FOR TODAY’S WORLD  Explore how classical axioms, values and ways of thinking affect today’s Jewish life.

404:  MEANING OF MIDRASH  Is the story of Abraham and the idols Midrash or text?  Find out the answer – and more – as we study our Biblical heritage using lessons of the Midrash to enrich our present life.

420: VIDEO VALUES  Through viewing excerpts from movies, students will explore Jewish spiritual, social and moral values such as compassion, justice and treating people equally.  By discussing various contemporary situations, students will be encouraged to exercise their power to incorporate Jewish values into their lives.

421: DO JEWISH!  TIKKUN OLAM  Students study about and discuss Jewish responses to ethical problems (hunger, world peace, etc.).  Learn how you can be a caring, responsible Jew.

422: ETHICAL DEBATES & DILEMMAS  Compare modern-day social and political issues with responses from the rabbis through the ages.  Understand these dilemmas through debates, class discussions and research.  Topics include race relations, Israel and Zionism, civil liberties, inter-faith relations, energy and environment and religious liberty.

423: JEWISH PHILOSOPHY  An introduction to the lives and thoughts of 16 important Jewish thinkers including Saadia Gaon, Yehuda HaLevi, Isaac Luria, Baal Shem Tov, Theodor Herzl, Martin Buber, Abraham Joshua Heschel and Mordechai Kaplan.

425: WHAT MAKES ME JEWISH?  Exploration and discussion of such topics as existence of God, Jewish concepts of covenant, revelation, mitzvot, ethics and social justice.

424: WHERE NO JEW HAS GONE BEFORE  Identify Jewish values through an examination of science fiction and fantasy in film and culture.

426: DERECH ERETZ  Students will learn about and discuss Jewish teachings that lead us on a path to an ethical life.

427: DEFENDING THE FAITH  Explore how religious differences were resolved in ancient and modern times.  Students have the opportunity to role-play and debate issues.





501: CURRENT EVENTS  Learn about contemporary issues affecting us as Jews.  Understand and discuss the background of current happenings.

502: ISRAEL EXPERIENCE  Study Zionism and contemporary Israel, Israel-Arab relations, Israeli culture, its people, government, religion, etc.  The objectives of the course are to awaken the students’ sense of identity with Israel and to stimulate the desire to visit the country.

*503: COMPARATIVE RELIGION  Judaism, Christianity and Islam are compared in depth.  Each religion’s unique contribution to the world is studied.

504: TEEN ISSUES  This course explores topics that challenge Jewish teenagers today:  (inter-dating, family life, sex, Jewish observances, career choices, etc.) and helps teens learn to cope with these challenges. 

505: KEHILLAH: OUR JEWISH COMMUNITY  Learn about the history, structure and functions of Jewish organizations while participating in projects and activities that enhance learning.  The class will focus on the many mitzvot that are attached to being an active member of the Jewish community.

506: IN GOD’S IMAGE  Explore what it means to be created in God’s image.  How we speak, dress and act in relation to ourselves, others and God.

507: ISRAEL:  CURRENT EVENTS AND CONTROVERSIES  Life in Israel has always presented its challenges.  Are issues of today different than in the past?  Students will address that question as they explore current controversies such as the Palestinian issue, absorption of immigrants, political reform and Israel’s altered strategic position.

507A: JOURNEY INTO ISRAELI CULTURE  Explore various cultural challenges Israel faces every day – religious, cultural, ideological differences.  Discussion will begin with the image of the Israeli.  Debates and films will be part of this fascinating class.

509: JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY  Explore the beliefs, practices and traditions of these two religions.  What do we believe as Jews?  What is the Jewish concept of God?  What are Christian beliefs about God?  Is there a difference between what Jews and Christians believe about life after death?  Students will explore these issues and learn about the beliefs and practices of both Judaism and Christianity.

510: CULTS & MESSIANIC JUDAISM  How did Judaism begin? What is ‘cultic’ Judaism? Students will go back in time to explore the various sects within Judaism then come to the present time to explore cults today and the messianic movement.

511: JEWISH WOMEN TODAY  This course is designed to assist in an understanding of the evolution of women’s’ roles in Judaism throughout history, with a particular emphasis on the contemporary American Jewish community.

512: COMPARATIVE JUDAISM  What do different movements believe about God, Torah and Israel?  Explore the variety of Jewish religious expression by comparing and contrasting the tenets of today’s Jewish religious movements from Orthodoxy to Reconstructionism.

513: WORLD FAITH FORUM  A guide through the many paths which people search for God.  What do world faiths share with Judaism and how do they differ?  The teachings of each major religion will be explored as well as atheism and fundamentalism.

514: ANSWERS TO TOUGH QUESTIONS  Explore the difficult questions of our time:  What good is praying?  Who believes in God anymore?  Why do people hate Jews?  Why be Jewish?

515: JEWISH CIVICS INITIATIVE  This course introduces students to Jewish advocacy in American government, and offers a unique lens into the differences between Jewish and American approaches to the issues of our time.  This course offers an optional trip to Washington, D.C. sponsored by Panim. 


*517: SENIOR SEMINAR:  ISRAEL AWARENESS & ADVOCACY  Students will explore and analyze aspects of Israel’s politics, policies and culture and its impact.  Students will learn the techniques of bias and advocacy.

524: JEWISH LAW REVIEW  Principles of Jewish law are applied to fascinating court cases in contemporary life.  For instance, Rebecca borrowed your best sweater, took it to the cleaners who ruined it or you find $100 on the floor in a store, should you return it?

*526: BIO-MEDICAL ETHICS  Discuss Jewish concepts (and the differences in interpretation among the various philosophies) about issues like abortion, euthanasia, in-vitro fertilization, surrogate mothering, cloning, etc.

528: ISRAEL THROUGH MUSIC  Students explore and learn about Israel’s history by examining lyrics and learning songs of unique milestones.

529: CONTEMPORARY JEWISH ISSUES  Students will look at the many social and political issues currently facing us as American Jews.  Anti-Semitism, assimilation, the role of women, social action and responsibility are just a few examples.

550: JEWS IN THE WORLD  A study of current events in the Jewish world, both in Israel and the Diaspora.  Students will be responsible for articles and projects that will be assigned.  Issues of interest relevant to their lives today will be discussed.  Speakers will be invited.

551: ANTI-SEMITISM AND INTOLERANCE  The history and politics of modern anti-Semitism through video and other materials.

554: DINNER AND DISCUSSION  A two-credit course offers students a relaxed atmosphere of food, friends and stimulating conversation.  Current themes relevant for today’s teens will be discussed, emphasizing ethical implications from a Jewish-values perspective.  Topics will be investigated and researched, with course grade based upon participation and completion of presentations.

575: JUDAISM AND ECOLOGY: We have grown farther away from the glory and wonder of God’s creation.  This course will bring students back to understanding our ecological roots.  How do we go about serving and protecting the earth, God’s mandate to us?




600: TEFILLAH (MINYAN) Participatory morning prayer service.  Course requires regular attendance and active participation either by leading a service or preparing a giving a D’var Torah/Tefillah.

601: SECRETS OF THE JEWISH CALENDAR  Study the Jewish holidays and significant events in the Jewish year, tracing their origins in our sources and developing innovative and meaningful ways to observe them.

602: STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN: T’FILLAH (PRAYER) Become familiar with the Siddur (prayer book) by analyzing a variety of T’fillot (prayers) in depth.  The Siddur is viewed as a framework for practicing Judaism with understanding.

603: INTRODUCTION TO TALMUD  Trace the origins of Jewish law in the Torah, Mishna, (Oral Law), Talmud, Tosefta and Responsa (Rabbinic commentaries).  Discuss how to apply Talmudic principles to your everyday life.

603A: ADVANCED TALMUD  Learn a piece of Talmud and apply if to life today.

603B: TALMUD HEVRUTA  An intensive, traditional Talmud study course, using the Hevruta (paired) style of learning.  Basic knowledge of Talmud study required.

604: JEWISH LIFE CYCLE  Using a variety of sources, become familiar with the laws, customs and ceremonies associated with birth, Brit Milah (circumcision), naming, Pidyon HaBen (redemption of the first-born), Bar/Bat Mitzvah, marriage, caring for the sick, death and mourning.  Values embodied in   Jewish Law that are relevant to modern life are emphasized.

604A: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF JEWISH LIVING  Throughout the Jewish life cycle there are events that shape our lives and help to make us who are Jewishly at each stage of human development.  This course interweaves the psychological development of the person and the impact of Judaism.  There will be two papers due – one mid-year and one at the end of the year.  The mid-year paper will include a presentation.

605: MATTERS OF LIFE AND DEATH  Jewish mourning and funeral practices have long been a taboo and mysterious subject to high school students.  This course is designed to make you aware of the practices hallowed by our tradition.  Up-beat and informative.

606A: ROSH HODESH:  IT’S A GIRL THING! (Year One)  A program which strengthens Jewish identity and self-esteem in girls through the study of Jewish heroines, seasons, nature, holidays and celebrations. Materials fee extra

606B:  ROSH HODESH: IT’S A GIRL THING (Year Two)  Further exploration of It’s a Girl Thing!, Materials fee extra

607: RHYTHM OF JEWISH TIME Students will explore the relationship between the calendar and life cycle events, realizing the natural pacing of living a Jewish life.

608: GEMS OF OUR TRADITION  Sources are gleaned for their relevancy to teenagers today.

609: SPIRITUALITY A study of Kabbalah and other sources of Jewish mysticism in order to enable students to view the world in a spiritual way. Discussions will deal with questions about God, the human condition and the role of Jews in the world.  Students will study selections from the Zohar and other texts in order to learn basic Kabbalistic concepts.  “Self-reflective” exercises will enable students to grow in self-knowledge and to use the knowledge gained as a springboard for delving deeper into these materials.

610: WHAT AM I PRAYING?  What am I really saying when I pray?  What do the words mean?  What is the relevance of prayer for me?  Students will learn a proven technique for understanding prayers in the Siddur.
610A:  TEACHING TEFILLAH.  Students learn how to lead services by going over the choreography and pacing of the prayers.

*611: JEWISH BELIEFS Judaism’s basic beliefs and characteristics relating to God, Torah, Israel and the Jewish people are clarified.

612: REFORM JUDAISM  A year-long study of Reform Judaism’s development, including its American origin, its philosophy, principles and institutions.  Students will review life cycles from the Reform Jewish perspective.  Students will discuss environmental issues, civil rights and the role of Israel in their Jewish lives.  This course touches on topical issues like the history of anti-Semitism, homosexuality and CCAR rulings.  Students will discuss various issues, dialogue with one another and explore their own belief system.

613: THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF T’FILLAH & RITUAL  This course will uncover some of the “whys” of Jewish prayer and ritual.  Questions such as, “Why do we bow at this point?  Why do we take three steps back?  Why do we use a braided candle and spice box during Havdallah?” will be discussed.  Students will be encouraged to ask their questions so they can create deeper, more meaningful experiences.

620: RECONFORMADOX PRAYER?  What makes a prayer service Orthodox or Reform?  Are some prayers the same, no matter in what synagogue you may find yourself?  Students will gain an understanding about the differences between prayer through all of Judaism’s movements.

623: JEWISH LIFE THROUGH THEATER  By dramatizing different periods of history, learn how the Jewish people of the past handled the dilemmas and challenges which confronted them.

624: ISRAELI AND AMERICAN JEWISH DRAMA  Dramatic plays by Israeli and American Jewish writers.  Explore issues of the immigrant experience, American Jewry, history of Israel and the Israeli mind and heart.

626: JEWISH PSYCHOLOGY & DREAMS  Students will analyze familiar dream stories of the Bible using modern psychological theories.

627: FAMILY DYNAMICS Explore how the psychology of family dynamics is evident throughout the Bible:  sibling rivalry, parent/child relationships, and the importance of family.

630: JEWISH CULTURE AND COOKING  Gain an appreciation of the many traditions of Jewish cooking (Eastern European, Sephardic) as well as learn about Kashrut, nutrition, the Holidays and more.  Materials fee extra.

631: REAL RIKUD:  ISRAELI DANCE  Students will learn the basic steps of Israeli dance, as well as the dances themselves.  The course will include all styles of Israeli dance, traditional and Chassidic, Yemenite, debka, partner and modern/line dances.  Dance instruction will be accompanied by background information of the dances’ origins and choreographers.

636: ISRAELI & JEWISH CULTURAL PALOOZA  Students are introduced to the many rich facets of Jewish cultural tradition both from Israel and Chutz LaAretz.  This hands-on experiential class involves both study and doing as students delve into subjects such as literature

640: JUDAIC ART STUDIO  This course will allow participants to explore different art media by making a variety of projects such as Batik, paper cuts, candle-making, paper-making, Hebrew calligraphy, clay projects and more.  Materials fee extra.

641: SPIRITUALITY THROUGH ART  How one defines art could be that the material world is interpreted through various mediums using symbolic visual representation.  But how does one interpret the spiritual world?  This course intends to take this philosophy and create a visual representation of the spiritual realm.

650: KOOL KLEZ BAND:  Students will learn and play the energetic Klezmer style of music.  Students must play an instrument and bring it to class every week.

651: MAKING THE BAND  Students will engage in the performance of contemporary Jewish music.  Through creative writing, text study and contemporary musical influence, students will learn and play contemporary Jewish music, from rock to reggae.  Students must play an instrument and bring it to class every week.

652: FROM JEWISH GROOVES TO iTUNES  Students will compare and contrast Jewish artists/composers from the 1800s through today.  Students will learn about the evolution of contemporary Jewish music by exploring how music communicates and speaks to us and the relationship between composer, performer and listener.  Put your listening hat on and join us for an amazing course that will surely open your mind and soul.  This is a course for those who do not necessarily read music or play an instrument, but who would like to broaden their knowledge of Jewish music in a friendly atmosphere.

660: SHIRA HADASHA  Be part of the music in this new JCHS choral ensemble.  Learn about the world of Jewish music while you sing new a cappella songs, Israeli classics, contemporary American Jewish pop and much more.  Discover the joy of a great singing community while you perform for JCHS programs and other community events.



700: CHALLENGE AND CHANGE:  THE AMERICAN JEWISH EXPERIENCE  Students will look at today’s issues for the American Jewish Community, including Jews in politics, the spirituality movement and the changing role religious life for American Jews.  As students examine the lives and deeds of American Jews from World War One (1914) to today, they are invited to consider the effect their own lives will have on the future of American Jewry.

701: HISTORY OF THE JEWS – Part I  Study the development of the Jewish people.  The Biblical account of creation, the early history of the Land of Israel and the Diaspora through the 1400's will be examined and discussed.
702: HISTORY OF THE JEWS II  This course is the continuation of 701.  Students explore Jewish history:  The Enlightenment and mystical movements of the 17th century, the development of Jewish nationalism, emigration to America, the Shoah (Holocaust) and the emergence of the State of Israel.

703: ARCHEOLOGY:  UNDERSTANDING YOUR PAST AND YOURSELF  Students will use the Bible in a historical context to help build a connection with the Land of Israel and their Jewish identity.  They will study language, architecture and archeological sites by using scientific methods.

*706: MODERN JEWISH HISTORY: 1830-PRESENT  Students examine the Reform and Enlightenment movements, Zionism, the Shoah (Holocaust) and Israel.  Emphasis is placed on how events of the past affect happenings in the present and provide lessons for an improved future.

707: THE AMERICAN JEWISH EXPERIENCE  This course covers the saga of American Jewry from the early establishment of Jewish communities in colonial America through the rise of the Reform and Conservative movements, reactions to the World Wars, Shoah (Holocaust) and Israel and concludes with a study of contemporary problems facing Jews in America.

710: HOLOCAUST  Learn about the rise of Anti-Semitism in Europe and how Nazism took hold.  Learn about the Jewish resistance, life in the ghetto, Righteous Gentiles, and how people clung to Judaism despite insurmountable obstacles

711: HOLOCAUST THEATER  How has theater portrayed the Holocaust?  Dramatic readings of plays by Americans and Israelis as well as writers from other countries will be looked at and analyzed.  Compare the approaches of authors from different countries as well as the works of Jewish and non-Jewish playwrights.

713: POLITICS OF THE MIDDLE EAST  Understand the origins of the conflict between Israel and her Arab neighbors.  Explore contemporary initiatives to deal with this sensitive situation.

722: JEWISH HEROES  What makes a Jewish hero?  Discuss and analyze the lives and times of 20th century Jewish heroes and heroines.

723: JEWISH IMAGES ON THE SILVER SCREEN View and analyze the Jewish images and issues in selected full-length films while learning about different periods of Jewish history.

725: JEWS IN SPORTS  Are sports ethics related to Jewish ethics?  Contributions of Jewish athletes will be discussed.

726: DILEMMAS OF JEWISH HISTORY  Jewish history presents many dilemmas of Jews who lived in different societies.  Jews were usually strangers and sojourners in the lands where they lived.  They wanted to obey God’s laws but they wanted to stay alive, too.  The societies in which they lived forced life choices upon them, which were rarely clear options of “right and wrong.”  The course will question how Jews fared in the societies in which they lived and what dilemmas they had to solve in order to survive against all odds.

727: CONTROVERSIAL JEWS  Ever since we first walked the planet, Jews have been at the forefront of changing the course of human destiny in innovative ways, whether as celebrated scientists like Albert Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer, Tragic Messianic figures like Jesus, Shabbati Tzvi and Jacob Frank, Heroines like Queen Esther, Judith, Dona Gracia Nasi and Chana Senesh and many more!  Together we will explore a sampling of these unique personalities and enjoy learning from their experiences.



*805: EDUCATION  The objective of this course is to prepare the student to function as an entry-level teacher in Jewish supplementary schools.  This course is an in-depth study of the practical areas of lesson-planning and classroom management.  Approaches to teaching and content area of theology, Bible, Israel, history, ethics and prayer are explored.  Also included are teacher observations, micro-lessons and student teaching.

*805A: EDUCATION LAB  Students will explore the issues concerning teachers:  family education, special needs, parent communication, trends in education, etc.

*805W: EDUCATION IN THE REFORM CONGREGATION  A required, supervised program of student teaching is provided in cooperation with the student’s home congregations.  As part of their second-day program, students are assigned to work with teachers one day week.  As required by the Union for Reform Judaism, synagogues will offer an additional formal study component.  This study period will be held for two hours a month with the rabbi, education director or teacher.  Each individual synagogue will determine whether student will meet monthly, weekly or bi-weekly to fulfill this requirement.

806: YOUTH LEADERSHIP I  This course prepares students to become successful youth leaders.  Students meet in class sessions that focus on educational and developmental theory, group dynamics, programming and planning.  Students will also be involved in hands-on activities. 

807: YOUTH LEADERSHIP II  This course is designed to teach a survey of Jewish history using various implementations applicable to camp/informal situations.  The students will also evaluate these methods and lead model lessons using the techniques learned in 806.

808: ISRAELI B’LEV: YOUNG AMBASSADORS TO ISRAEL This leadership course will prepare students to become young ambassadors for Israel within their community. The course will focus on learning the skills to educate peers about Israel, event/program planning, public speaking, and much more!  Students will also be involved in hands-on activities such as planning a school-wide Yom-Ha’atzmaut celebration, Israel programs fair and more. This class is only open to students who have been to Israel on an organized teen trip.




900: INTERGENERATIONAL JEWISH STUDIES PROGRAM  Students and Jewish elders engage in meaningful dialogue about ethical, religious and personal beliefs.  Together they perform service for the larger Jewish community.

900B:  ATID  (Advocacy, Transitions, Involvement, Development) ATID is an inclusional, intergenerational mitzvah program for all teens.  It includes a strong service component, working in a residential life care facility with the Jewish elderly.  This program is also within the framework of an inclusion program with other teens with special needs.  Together with the elders we celebrate holidays participate together in art projects, cooking and other interactive programs.  The activity is followed by an hour of reflection upon this intergenerational experience.

900C:  SENIOR CHAI PROGRAM  An exciting and meaningful Intergenerational program where teens and elders dine on delicious food, enjoy a movie and share stories.

901:  BRIDGING COMMUNITIES: A JEWISH STUDIES PROGRAM WITH RESIDENTS AT ELWYN INC  Students work with the mentally and physically challenged Jewish residents.  Students learn about Jewish responsibility in theory and action.  Students help teach prayer, Bible, Hebrew language, Jewish cooking, and share in the celebrations of Jewish holidays.  Immediately following every Elwyn visit, students reflect upon their experience and share strategies for ways of improving interaction with the residents.  (Service program and educational component combined – 906 or 908 – alternating years.)

901A:  BRIDGING COMMUNITIES WITH ADULTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS  Students will assist adults with mild to moderate developmental disabilities in calendar based Jewish programs.  The class will include art and music and be taught with a hands-on approach.  The JCHS students will have the opportunity to share their own knowledge of the basic background surrounding each holiday with the adults.  This program will enable the adults with special needs to obtain the “tools” they need to make these holidays part of their life.  Immediately following every program, the JCHS student will have a guided reflection of their experience. 

901B:   ART WITH SPECIAL NEEDS TEENS  This course takes place at the beautifully renovated Main Line Art Center in Bryn Mawr. Classes pair JCHS teens one on one with special needs teens to assist with projects in a variety of media such as clay, painting, drawing and collage. This course takes place under the instruction of a trained artist and professional. Pre and post reflection will take place onsite with a JCHS facilitator looking at the experience through a “Jewish” lens.

902: FOOD FOR THOUGHT (Cook for a Friend):  Focus is on Gemilut Hasadim.  Students prepare kosher meals for those who are unable to cook for themselves.  The students learn kashrut and traditional recipes.  Students plan meals, cook, raise money and learn Pirke Avot.  They learn about their own families and traditions while serving the larger Jewish community.

903: PARTNERS IN EDUCATION: LITERACY TRAINING WITH CHILDREN AT ST. BARNABAS  Students provide tutorial assistance to children in a homeless shelter.  JCHS students study Jewish texts on education and educational techniques, researching issues of poverty and advocacy.  (Service program and education component combined – 906 or 908 – alternating years).

904: YOUNG WOMEN IN ACTION  Explore the feminine mystique from a Jewish perspective.  Students will participate in a community project aimed at developing their own female identities.

905: JUDAISM AND ECOLOGY  This is a survey course in which students learn about Jewish ecology, explore Jewish values and the environment to find inter-relationships between Judaism and environmentalism.  Students will engage in hands-on environmental service.

906: SERVICE LEARNING: CURRENT ISSUES  A companion course to 901 and 903.  Students increase their understanding of Jewish responsibility towards self, family, community and world through hands-on experience by their involvement in area community service projects.  Issues to be examined include Jewish views of literacy, literacy training, program planning, history and Jewish calendar.

908: SERVICE LEARNING LEADERSHIP  Utilizing study and action, students will be involved in projects dealing with social responsibility through direct service.  Students examine their own identifies and relationships within their community and are empowered to take active roles within their families, schools and the world at large.  Issues to be examined include leadership development, identity formation, program design and interpersonal communication.

Gratz College: Education Grounded in Jewish Values

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JCHS is possibly the greatest investment I have made in my future.

Jason Vessal