Course of Study

Kickstart your future as a Jewish leader

The Executive M.A. Program in Jewish Education is multi-faceted program designed to meet a broad range of student needs and take advantage of both distance and face-to-face learning opportunities.

After admission to the program, you will begin to study together with your cohort in late May with a three-day orientation intensive followed by a ten-day summer institute consisting of full academic courses. You will be paired with a mentor - a senior professional in the field of Jewish education trained specifically for this role - who will help guide your intellectual, professional, and personal journey.

During the course of the Executive M.A. Program, you will immerse yourself in online studies reinforced by three-day on-site intensive learning experiences. Three ten-day seminars will include two seminars at one of HUC-JIR's stateside campuses and a 10- to 12-day seminar in Israel in December of your first or second year in the program. Your studies will culminate in your Capstone Project, guided by members of the HUC-JIR faculty, and a two-day intensive just prior to graduation in New York where you will present the findings from your Capstone Project.

Courses Include:

  • Jewish Educational Leadership
  • Organizational Systems and Change
  • The Jewish Textual Tradition: Bible
  • The Jewish Textual Tradition: Rabbinics
  • Professional Learning
  • The Jewish Historical Experience
  • Ideologies of Jewish Education
  • Modern Jewish Thought
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Curriculum
  • Social Context of North American Jewish Education.

Executive M.A. Program Requirements:

  • Online courses (2 seven-week courses per semester over three semesters)
  • One 3-day intensive each semester (5 intensives total including orientation and final capstone project intensives)
  • One 10-day summer institute each summer (2 courses per institute for a total of 4 courses)
  • A 10-12-day seminar in Israel in December of the first of second year of the program
  • Capstone Project (Spring semester of the second year)
  • Clinical Mentoring

Course Descriptions

3 unit online courses include a seven-week online component as well as a three-day
intensive seminar
2 unit online courses are entirely online (seven weeks) or entirely face-to-face
(summer institutes)
XED 500 Introduction to Jewish Educational Leadership - 2 units
This course addresses key issues in leadership within a Jewish educational setting
through an integrated study of biblical texts with contemporary research on the
challenges and strategies of successful leadership. We assume that an interaction of
tradition and contemporary Jewish life will create powerful and rich possibilities for
creative thinking and reflective practice. Topics include Jewish leadership models;
the culture of an organization, including its values/mission/vision; transformation
and change. (Spring, Pre-admission)
XED510 Torah Study for 21st Century Jewish Education - 2 units
In this course, students with a broad range of text study experience will have the
opportunity to focus much more intensively and specifically on highly salient
biblical topics and themes as reflected in multiple texts and multiple perspectives.
You will do so while at the same time sharpening and deepening your skills in
biblical Hebrew. Students will introduced to and engage with some of the newest
educational approaches to teaching bible, including the growing use of technology.
Finally, students will experience the study of Torah by means of chavruta study
whose theory, method and practice will be made explicit.
(Summer, Year 1)
XED561 Modern Jewish Thought - 2 units
This course is the first part of a 2-part sequence to be continued in the fall. Thw will
focus on key modern Jewish thinkers and their perspectives on Jewish education.
We will learn something about the person and book in which the teaching appears,
and see points of commonality and contrast between the various thinkers and their
impact on Jewish learning and education. (Summer, Year 1)
XED529 Ideologies of Jewish Education - 2 units
This course is the second in the sequence begun in the summer. The basic structure
of most schools (both general and Jewish) has remained remarkably stable over the
past century, despite the many critiques that have been leveled against it. This
course offers students the opportunity to re-think and re-envision Jewish
educational institutions by examining the educational values they deem most
important, exploring multiple ideologies (Jewish and general) of education and
schooling, and challenging prevailing assumptions that are rarely questioned. The
perspectives of modern Jewish thinkers examined in the previous course will be
carefully woven into the fabric of this course. (Fall, Year 1)
XED515 Teaching and Learning - 3 units
This course focuses on developing a theory of holistic Jewish teaching through a 2
combination readings, text study, discussion, reflection papers and exercises, model
lesson planning, observations and deliberations. Together, we explore creative
models of teaching, share best practices, and investigate core principles of human
development. The end goal is to create a learning laboratory in which to practice
and reflect upon our own teaching and the culture of teaching we aspire to cultivate
in our educational settings. (Fall, Year 1)
XED520 Professional Learning - 2 units
This course explores how to create a culture of professional learning as an essential
component for all Jewish institutions. We discuss the process by which we can
support the personal and professional growth of all staff and faculty in various
Jewish settings and identify the challenges we face in shifting the present norms and
expectations of professional learning and create an action plan for change. The
course also focuses on supervision, observation and evaluation as other forms of
staff development. Jewish texts guide our learning as we analyze biblical and
rabbinic sources that inform the notion of a professional learning community.
(Spring, Year 1)
XED530 Curriculum - 2 units
This course prepares students to think about and carry out the leadership tasks
Jewish educators perform in the area of curriculum: curriculum design, curriculum
consultation, and curriculum evaluation. The course introduces students to the
process of “backwards design,” and to concepts and theories involved in thinking
about curriculum as they can be used in Jewish educational settings. The course
helps students start designing an overarching curriculum for their settings including
the enduring understandings and essential questions that lie at the heart of their
curriculum. (Spring, Year 1)
XED535 The Social Context of North American Jewish Education - 2 units
This course draws upon the tools of social science, and sociology in particular, to
explore historical and contemporary understandings of the purposes of Jewish
education, focusing on the American context. Through an examination of various
contexts and cultures of Jewish education, students reconsider and refine basic
assumptions about Jewish education, and demythologize and problematize
dominant narratives of contemporary phenomena in the field. (Summer, Year 2)
XED 540 Educational Leadership - 2 units
This course is designed to help students develop a deeper understanding
of issues involved in leading a Jewish school or educational agency and
a deeper understanding of themselves in their leadership roles. The
course opens with an exploration of how a Jewish educational leader's
self-understanding affects the way he or she leads, and then turns to an
examination of a variety of approaches to leadership, drawing on educational
and business literature as well as classical and modern Jewish texts,
with particular attention to their applicability to Jewish educational3
leadership. (Summer, Year 2)
XED550 Textual Tradition: Rabbinics - 2 units
This course introduces students to the various genre of rabbinic literature, in
particular mishna, gemara and midrash. The goal is to help students develop a basic
familiarity with the issues and questions which rabbinic literature addresses, and
how these questions can be approached in contemporary Jewish educational
settings. (Fall, Year 2)
XED545 Organizational Systems and Change - 3 units
This course introduces concepts, theories and current research in the effective
management and leadership of organizations. The course will also focus on the
design and implementation of organizational change.
We look at organizations from a variety of theoretical perspectives and consider the
implications for change from each perspective. Topics include the basics of systems
thinking, as well as team and group dynamics. (Fall, Year 2)
XED570 Israel Seminar: Peoplehood - 4 units - every other year
Joseph, Leigh, Litman  
The question at the heart of the seminar is why should Israel matter to American
Jewish life? We consider this question by exploring the multiple historical, religious,
political, social, and cultural dimensions of am, Torah, eretz, and medinat Yisrael.
The goal is to develop a deep and multi-layered appreciation for thinking about and
teaching Israel as an integral and indispensable resource for individual and
collective Jewish life. (Spring, Every other year)
XED 505 Jewish Historical Experience - 2 units
This course focuses on the intersection of Jewish history as a field of inquiry and as a
vehicle for enhancing identity and promoting citizenship. Students investigate
issues related to the teaching and learning of Jewish history, while enhancing their
own knowledge of the field. Particular emphasis is placed on the modern Jewish
experience, including the Shoah, Israel, and American Jewish life. (Spring, Year 2)
XED599 Capstone Project - 2 units
Clinical Faculty 
Through a guided independent study students are immersed in a professional and
grounded discourse of persistent and contested issues in the field, making them full
participants in the larger conversation and empowering them to generate strategies
for facing the most significant and enduring dilemmas in their particular sub-fields
and settings of Jewish Education creatively, collaboratively, and
critically/analytically. (Spring, Year 2)
XED525 Clinical Education I - 1 unit - Fall Year 1
XED526 Clinical Education II - 1 unit - Spring Year 1
XED 565 Clinical Education III - 1 unit - Fall Year 2
Clinical Faculty (Litman) 
Working individually with a clinical faculty member and in small clinical mentoring
groupings with other students, students explore ways in which learning in the 4
academy is translated and implemented in the work setting. Students are supported
in rethinking what education in their setting is and developing their capacity to lead
their institutions through a transformational change process while they themselves
engage in both personal and professional transformation