Course of Study - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Kickstart your future as a Jewish leader today

The curriculum of the Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults consists of multiple types of learning experiences, all designed to enable you to engage deeply in learning and apply that learning to your practice in a meaningful manner.

The curriculum includes coursework (both in face-to-face and online milieus), mentoring by experienced professionals in the field, and a final action project, all of which are detailed below. Each of these learning modes carries academic credit; they are equally important in successful completion of the program. Students are expected to maintain an academic stance to these experiences, completing all requirements in a timely fashion and to the best of their ability.

The coursework for the Certificate Program falls into four Areas of Study, each with supplemental electives:  

  1. Adolescent Development and Emerging Adulthood

  2. Experiential Jewish Learning

  3. Transformation and Organizational Dynamics

  4. Judaic Studies


Supplemental Electives Offered in Four Areas:

  1. Jewish Service Learning – 1 unit (at the Spring Intensive)

  2. Developing as a Professional

  3. Innovative Approaches to Experiential Education

  4. Hot Issues in Adolescent Engagement


Area 1: Adolescent Development and Emerging Adulthood

Three courses – 5 total units (2 online)


CJE 400 - Jewish Identity Formation
Rabbi Bradley Solmsen; Fall Semester – Intensive (1 unit)


Identity is not a product but a process and educators do not “make” Jews. Jewish Educators provide learners with opportunities to interact with content and have experiences that can help make meaningful kinds of Jewish identity building possible. These serve as orienting understandings for this course’s sociological investigation of what Jewish identity formation entails, especially as it relates to Jewish educational leadership.


CJE 401 – Adolescent Development and Emerging Adulthood
Dr. Betsy Stone; Fall Semester A (2 units, online)


This course explores issues of identity and human development taking place during adolescence and young adulthood.  It will delve into the developmental tasks teens and young adults face between ages 13 to 25.  Students will investigate how these life stages require particular kinds of programming based on emerging understandings of brain changes and societal pressures.


CJE 408 – Family Systems and Dealing with Crisis

Dr. Betsy Stone; Spring Semester – Winter Institute (2 units)


This course will discuss family systems, how to interact with parents, and social and emotional pressures confronting adolescents and emerging adults today. Students will explore the pitfalls they may face as the "pastoral" counselor, advisors, youth counselors and teachers who are often the first people in line to be the confidants. Issues such as confidentiality, mandatory reporting, dealing with crisis and maintaining boundaries will be emphasized, as well as the professional’s role in these situations.


Area 2: Experiential Jewish Learning

Two courses – 5 total units (2 online)


CJE 402 Principles of Experiential Learning in Informal Settings

Simon Klarfeld; Fall Semester B and Winter Institute (3 units)


In this course students will explore the historical and theoretical underpinnings of the emerging field of experiential Jewish education.  Looking at how this field has grown, from camping to youth work to service learning trips, students will gain an better understanding of the work they do and how to apply the theory of Jewish experiential education to their settings.


Intentional Planning and Development for Experiential Education

Rabbi Scott Aaron; Spring Semester B (2 units, online)


This course will focus on the basics of how to envision and implement curriculum and programs for informal education experiences for adolescents and emerging adults by employing methods of goal setting, assessment and evaluation in the theoretical context of experiential education and human development.  Learners will have the opportunity to develop a framework for curriculum design that responds to the need of their organization and is aligned to its mission.


Area 3: Transformation and Organizational Dynamics

One course – 2 total units online


Dynamics of Organizational Change

Dr. Rob Weinberg; Spring Semester A (2 units, online)


This course will enable you to effectively navigate your organization to achieve the goals of your program. Through self-reflection and action planning you will identify concrete ways to work within the political, human resource, symbolic and structural frames. Additionally, you will learn ways that you can gather data so that participants and decision makers attend to the successes and needs of your program.


Area 4: Judaic Studies

One course – 1 Unit


People of the Books: A Survey of the Classical Jewish Sources for Informal Educators

Rabbi Andrew Davids; Winter Institute, and 3 webinars (1 unit)


This course will familiarize students with the basic concepts, terminology and classical texts of the Jewish tradition with a particular emphasis on enhancing one's practice as an informal educator. In addition to an introduction to each of the major works in the traditional Jewish canon, special attention will be given to experiential methodologies to provide course participants with creative ways to make text study engaging for their learners.


Students with rabbinical or cantorial ordination, or a graduate degree in Jewish studies or the equivalent, may petition for exemption from this course.



One Course – 2 units (1 online)


CJE 405 – Special Topics in Jewish Education and CJE 407 – Jewish Service Learning

  1. Jewish Service Learning – 1 unit (at the Spring Intensive)

  2. Developing as a Professional

  3. Innovative Approaches to Experiential Education

  4. Hot Issues in Adolescent Engagement


Developing as a Professional

Managing the Personal/Professional Balance Online: Being Your Authentic Self
Lisa Colton


While previous generations may have deliberately separated their personal and professional lives, today we blend the two both online and offline.   However, as leaders in the Jewish community, this may be more easily said than done.  Learn about important variables to consider, the risks & benefits, and how to manage relationships (and your sanity) as you engage through social media.


Mastering Tricky Conversations & Dealing with Difficult People

Deborah Grayson Riegel


Every day, we interact with all kinds of people who are similar to and different from us – whether they are teammates, supervisors, direct reports, clients, or vendors. At some point, most all of us will encounter someone with whom we just don’t “click.” And even in the healthiest relationships, friction can occur. Mastering tricky conversations is an integral part of daily life and working with people. In order to maximize our chances of getting and keeping the support of others (especially when others may have different agendas than our own), we need to address issues before they affect performance or damage a relationship. This session will help you do just that.


Creating Magical Memories: Disney and the Method behind the Magic

Micol Zimmerman Burkeman


Innovative Approaches to Experiential Education

An Exploration of Tefillah through Yoga and Movement

Introduction to Design Thinking

Improv as an Approach to Creativity and Innovation

Prayer through Storytelling

JEWdo: Martial Arts through a Jewish Lens


Hot Issues in Adolescent Engagement

The Impact of Social Media and Technology on Adolescents and Emerging Adults

Zach Geller

This elective will explore the ways in which new technologies of the 21st century – cell phones, social media, online dating -- affect teenagers' conceptions of themselves and their relationships with others. Questions considered will include what constitutes identity and whether online and “in real life” identity are distinct; what aloneness looks like in an era of constant connectivity; and how all of these issues and more affect Jewish teens today.


Cornerstone Project

CJE 410 –Cornerstone Project

Dr. Evie Rotstein; Spring Semester, 1 unit


The Final Action Project (FAP) is meant to be an in-depth academic experience that enhances the student’s knowledge of the process of creating an experiential educational curriculum. The purpose of the project is to demonstrate the student’s ability to translate knowledge gained through the coursework of the Certificate Program in Jewish Education into rich learning experiences through intentional planning and design. The FAP will be a substantive project that describes the experiential learning components of a year, semester, or summer of youth or young adult programming.


Mentoring/Clinical Education

CJE 411 – Mentoring/Clinical Education

1 unit


Mentoring Relationship Framework:

  • Five mentors will work with two-three students each

  • Keep abreast of course content

  • Meet monthly individually with each student (via phone or web-platform)

  • Attend three days of the Winter Institute

  • Attend monthly mentor phone meetings

  • Help the student with his or her final project