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Fourth Cohort of Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults Launches with Fall Intensive at URJ Kutz Camp

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Students in the fourth cohort of the Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults with Rabbi Joui Hessel, RJE, Certificate Program Educator, at left, and Dr. Jonathan Krasner and Dr. Evie Rotstein, Coordinator and Director of the New York School of Education, at right. 


Fifteen students in the fourth cohort of the Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults began their studies with a weeklong Fall Intensive at URJ Kutz Camp studying Jewish identity with Dr. Jonathan B. Krasner, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Professor of Jewish Education Research at Brandeis University and former Associate Professor of the American Jewish Experience at HUC-JIR/New York.

Students explored their own identity forming processes and how they extend to the youth and emerging adults with whom they work, as well as to colleagues and the field at large.  Dr. Krasner taught that identity is not a product but a process; Jewish educators must provide learners with opportunities to interact with content and offer experiences that can help make meaningful kinds of Jewish identity building possible.

Students discussed how they serve as Jewish identity formation navigators for their institutions and communities. The four days were filled with learning, sharing, worship, meeting with mentors, and community building.

Dr. Evie L. Rotstein, Coordinator of the Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults and Director of the New York School of Education, expressed her enthusiasm about the Certificate program. "This is an opportunity for Jewish professionals to increase their knowledge, skills, and passion for working with teens and young adults. This program offers the highest quality of academic learning, together with profound experiences to change the way we engage this age group."

"Never before has there been such an informative, substantive, and worthwhile professional development program that targets the needs of those working with adolescent and emerging adult populations," stated Rabbi Joui Hessel, RJE, Certificate Program Educator.  "Cohort Four students exemplify the professionalism that this work demands, and ascribe to the sacred work it is."

Jessica Dangott, Assistant Director of URJ Greene Family Camp and a student in the fourth cohort, explained, "The Jewish virtue of lomed al manat lelamed, learning in order to teach, says it all! In only a few days, the Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults Fall Intensive opened numerous doors for me—professionally and personally. This program, and especially the first Intensive piece, lays the foundation for us to develop our knowledge and expertise as Jewish youth professionals, allowing us to then open doors of opportunity for our Jewish youth in ways we have yet to imagine."

"The first Intensive was intentional, meaningful, and impactful, as community developed amongst our cohort at Kutz Camp," noted Brad Cohen, Director of Education at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation and a student in the fourth cohort. "Our teachers and mentors responded to our needs encouraging openness, collaboration, and collegiality."

Taylor Poslosky, Director of Youth Engagement at Congregation Beth Israel, Scottsdale, AZ, and a student in the fourth cohort, remarked, "The Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults Intensive was more than I could have hoped for. I learned about Jewish identity formation while I furthered my own Jewish identity. I engaged with my cohort who quickly became my friends. It was an opportunity to learn not only in the classroom, but also while interacting with the professors and participants in an informal setting during our downtime. The Intensive personalized the Certificate experience by allowing our cohort to bond in person both with each other, our professors, and Certificate administration."

The fourth cohort of the Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults is comprised of full- and part-time educators from across the country who work at synagogues and organizations within the Reform Movement and the larger Jewish community. One student is a full-time rabbi at a Reform congregation and another is a regional BBYO advisor. Other students serve as Directors of Teen Engagement, Youth Directors, Directors of Informal Education, and Directors of Education within Union for Reform Judaism synagogues. Meet our students >

Following the Fall Intensive, students will continue their nine-month coursework comprised of online courses, face-to-face intensives, an eight-day winter institute, mentorship, and a field-related action project. Courses will focus on adolescent development, experiential learning, program planning, change theory, service learning, and the uses of social media. Students will come together again at their Winter Institute at HUC-JIR in New York this January, and in May for their final Spring Intensive and Graduation.

The Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults is generously funded by the Jim Joseph Foundation Education Initiative, a series of programs at the College-Institute sponsored by the Foundation and designed to increase the number of highly qualified Jewish educators prepared to provide compelling experiences of Jewish learning and living to youth, teens, and young adults. 

Learn more about the Certificate in Jewish Education for Adolescents and Emerging Adults >


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding.