Learning Opportunities - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Kickstart your future as a Jewish leader today

Yomei Iyun
During the middle of each semester, classes are suspended to provide students with a one-two day learning intensive to explore topics of relevance. Experts in the field are invited to facilitate the sessions. Various subjects include:

  • how to cope with the learners’ social-emotional well being,
  • learning diversity challenges and inclusion, and
  • the impact and implementation of technology.

The academic year on the New York campus begins with a two day kallah, off site, starting the Sunday afternoon of the first week of the fall semester. The kallah is an important community-building experience of the campus and includes thematic programs, the first two days of classes, tefillot and social opportunities. All students and faculty are expected to attend.

Leading Community Tefillot
All education students are required to lead a week of services during their third year. Daily morning services generally are conducted by pairs of rabbinical, cantorial and educational students. The assignment of responsibilities is made by the Associate Dean. Students are obligated to meet with the faculty synagogue advisors before, during and after their week of conducting services. Students will meet with their faculty advisor to share their experiences and what they learned. Students in the second year give a D’var Torah during tefillot and work with their faculty advisor to craft a meaningful and powerful presentation.

Mandel Inquiry Groups
The HUC-JIR Mandel Leadership Initiative seeks to enhance the leadership capacity of our students. The Mandel Initiative offers students the opportunity to engage in a process that integrates their academic learning in a personally meaningful way and challenges them to forge an outlook on the basics of Jewish life that will shape their personal approaches to Jewish life and their aspirations as professional leaders. Each year of the Initiative, students will explore a selection of themes through a particular meta-lens that is reflective of a major portion of their’ educational experience. These lenses are:

  • Year 1: Israel and Jewish Peoplehood
  • Year 2: Torah - Our Textual Tradition
  • Year 3: Jewish Belief and Practice

The inquiry groups meet 6 times throughout the year in settings where these significant questions can be considered and where students can have their ideas challenged and thus refined in discussion with their peers and under the guidance of a faculty facilitator.

iCenter Fellows
The iCenter’s Masters Concentration in Israel Education provides RHSOE and New York School of Education students, along with master’s level students at five other institutions of Jewish education, the opportunity to grapple with the challenging issues involved in Israel education. Students participate in three seminars over 15 months, receive a stipend for short-term study in Israel, receive mentorship from an Israel educator in the field, and prepare a project on Israel education.

Day School Externship Program
The HUC-JIR/Pardes (The Day Schools of Reform Judaism) Externship Program is designed to give students an in-depth introduction to Reform Jewish day school education. The program is held each year in the weeks following HUC-JIR/LA graduation. Education students from New York and RHSOE externs along with rabbinic students from all three campuses, cantorial students from New York spend one week at a Reform Jewish day school (a different school is selected each year). Externs observe throughout the school day for an entire week. They teach and learn with and from day school stakeholders including students, faculty, parents, board members, donors, founders, administrative leaders, and Reform and communal leaders advocating for and supporting the day school. In preparation for the week at the school, externs participate in a video seminar with HUC-JIR education faculty. In addition, they are expected to prepare and facilitate presentations about day school education on the New York during the following academic year.

Alumni-in-Residence Day of Learning
Every two years, the Alumni Association of the New York School of Education invites one of our alumni to teach both the students and other alumni. This day of learning has recently been created to honor Rabbi Alan A. Kay the beloved husband of our former New York School of Education Director Jo Kay.