Course of Study

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 five main rubrics including electives that supplement the learning. The rubrics are:

  1. Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood
  2. Experiential Education
  3. Transformation and Organizational Dynamics
  4. Judaic Studies
  5. Electives

Electives are offered in the following four areas:

  1. Social Media and New Technologies
  2. Jewish Education Through the Arts
  3. Jewish Service Learning
  4. Jewish Education and the Environment

Rubric #1 – Social Psychology of Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood

Jewish Identity Formation – CJE 400
1 unit, Fall Intensive

This course will explore issues of identity and human development taking place during adolescence and young adulthood. The course will begin with an exploration of the student-educator’s own identity forming processes, and extends to the youth and young adults with whom they work and beyond, to colleagues and the field at large. The course’s unfolding assessment to create a page in a Handbook for Navigating Jewish Identity Formation will invite adolescent and young adult educators to decide what content, experiences, and language are most important in working with their population’s Jewish identity formation processes.

Social Psychology of Adolescent Development and Emerging Adults – CJE 401
2 units (online), Fall Semester A

This course 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. Students will learn how the brain develops through these ages and what issues these individuals face, and will begin to think about the impact of this knowledge of 12-25 year olds, on how they program for this population.

Adolescents, Emerging Adults and Their Families: In and Out of Crisis – CJE 408
2 units, Winter Institute

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.

Rubric #2 – Experiential Education

Principles of Experiential Learning in Informal Settings – CJE 402
3 units (2 of which are online), Fall Semester B and Winter Institute

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 a 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 – CJE 403
2 units (online), Spring Semester A

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.

Rubric #3 – Transformation and Organizational Dynamics

Dynamics of Organizational Change – CJE 404
2 units (online), Spring Semester B

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

Rubric #4 – Judaic Studies

People of the Books: A Survey of the Classical Jewish Sources for Informal Educators – CJE 409
1 unit, Winter Institute

This course will familiarize students with the basic concepts, terminology and classical texts of the Jewish tradition with a particular emphasis on enhancing their practice as informal educators. 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 ordination, or a graduate degree in Jewish studies or the equivalent, may petition to be exempt from this course.

Rubric #5 – Electives

Special Topics in Jewish Experiential Education (1 units) – CJE 405

Social Media and New Technologies
Fall and Spring Semesters – 2-3 sessions per semester

Through webinars and other online technology, students will explore the fast-growing world of new media and how its evolution changes our lives, professions and communities. This course will survey emerging and existing technologies to teach students best practices while navigating boundary issues relating to their personal and professional online personae. Students will learn to take a planned approach to using social and digital media as tools for engagement, marketing, outreach and community building. Students will also have the opportunity to learn about and evaluate what is happening in the arena of social media and new technologies within the field of Jewish education, and to develop individualized strategies.

Jewish Education through the Arts
Fall and Spring Semesters – 2-3 sessions per semester

This course recognizes that for many adolescents and emerging adults the arts are a powerful tool for engagement. Art can create a greater awareness and understanding of Jewish texts and help make Judaism more relevant in the lives of teens and young adults. Students will learn the theory and practice of using the arts as a foundation for teaching areas of Jewish content. Through this course students will have the opportunity to explore what is meant by “Jewish” and “art” when these words are combined, and the challenges that this might raise.

Jewish Environmental Education
Fall and Spring Semesters – 2-3 sessions per semester

According to Nili Simhai of the Teva Learning Center, “When we hear the words ‘Jewish environmental education,’ we often only hear ‘environmental education’ and not ‘Jewish education.’ It’s easy—too easy—to think of environmental programs as a fun add-on, rather than core, to Jewish learning. That is a mistake.” This course will explore the relationship between Jewish texts and the environment and help students engage in this kind of learning in order to increase their own knowledge base and repertoire.

Jewish Service Learning – CJE 407
1 unit, Spring Intensive

Students will explore social justice work in a Jewish experiential setting by learning about direct service that responds to communal needs. This course will explore the relationship between Jewish identity and Jewish service learning through the study of various program models and their impact on the Jewish and secular communities. By reviewing best practices students will strengthen their program development skills; deepen their understanding of service, social justice and community organizing; learn what is Jewish about Jewish service learning; and strategize about how to incorporate service learning into already existing programs.

Final Action Project – CJE 410
1 unit, Spring Semester

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 emerging adult programming.

Clinical Education – CJE 411
1 unit, Fall and Spring Semesters

Each student will work with a mentor throughout the academic year to help translate the theoretical learning they gain from their classrooms to their work in the field. Students will reflect on their own work and their developing identity as youth professionals.

Final Action Project

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.

As students near the conclusion of the Certificate Program, the FAP provides an additional opportunity for students to think as leaders and professionals acting as change agents while seeking to respect the history, culture and reality of the context in which they work. The FAP calls on students to draw upon and synthesize the learning in which they have engaged during the program to date.

The FAP is a substantive project that describes the experiential learning components of a year, semester, or summer of youth or young adult programming. Below are the guidelines for preparation of the project. Students may rework something they have used in the past, or create something new.