Twelve Tracks of Interdisciplinary Jewish Studies and Special Programs
Judaism and the Arts — first of its kind in the world: This track examines the various expressions of aesthetics in Judaism, and the use of art in the fostering of Jewish values. Artistic expression is examined textually, ritually and culturally. The program develops art appreciation skills and the ability to integrate the arts into Jewish education and life.
Women’s and Jewish Studies: This is the first program of its kind in Israel. A specific Jewish emphasis is placed on Women’s Studies, to help change the perception and status of women in Jewish society, especially in Israel.
Land of Israel Studies: Intended for tour guides and educational professionals who specialize in the study of the land of Israel, its geography, history and archaeology and cultural anthropology. Students are familiarized with research in these fields and integrate these studies with the study of Biblical and other traditional Jewish sources that have defined the connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel.
Family and Community Studies: Intended for directors and coordinators of community centers, as well as community and family social workers, this program explores the areas where Jewish education and community work intersect.
Jewish History: The emphasis is on methodology and skills in analyzing original source material.
Contemporary Jewry: This new track combines courses in Zionism, the Holocaust, Modern Jewish Thought and Modern Jewish History.
Sephardic Studies: The first time to be offered by an Israeli academic institution, this interdisciplinary track includes courses on Spanish Jewry, Conversos, the history of the Jews of Iran, Iraq, Syria and North Africa and the Status of Jews in Islamic culture.
Teaching Jewish Studies: Educators are trained to be leaders for Israeli society, enabling them to work with diverse segments of the population and to promote the development of a varied society secure in its Jewish roots and enriched by religious variety. Subjects include curriculum planning, family and community studies and informal education.
Talmud and Halakhah: Tools for critical and in-depth studies in Talmud are acquired and used in applied halakhic studies in current issues such as medicine, women’s status and education.
Midrash is studied as a link between past and present. The ability to examine the many historical and literary levels of Midrashic sources is developed.
Jewish Thought: Familiarity with Jewish Thought throughout history is developed, along with an ability to analyze its sources. Skills are honed in analyzing problems of a religious, cultural and existential nature that pre-occupy Jewish thinkers of today.
Bible: Biblical sources and their commentaries are studied as historical, literary and educational texts. Critical and traditional analysis tools are developed.
The Marpeh program provides training in chaplaincy spiritual caregiving, based on Jewish values such as “bikkur holim” (visiting the sick) “gemilut hasadim” (deeds of loving-kindness), and grounded in Jewish texts and sources, integrated into the M.A. program with practicum training at health care and social care institutions. Students can study towards pastoral care certification with or without the M.A degree. The program includes 800 academic hours of training (including personal supervisions) combined with 500 academic hours of clinical fieldwork.
Maccabee is a unique program for Community Leadership and Jewish Renewal. It combines Family and Community Studies with study of Midrash and Aggadah. Based on a belief that the worlds of community and Jewish life are naturally linked, this program trains community workers to transmit Jewish learning and heritage.
Jewish Spirituality offers an opportunity to delve into a variety of spiritual worlds of all time periods – Hasidism, Kabbala, New Age, as well as an exploration of practical applications in education.
Mishlei, originally a combined program of Bet Midrash study with an M.A. degree in Jewish Studies, has been restructured as a program for Pluralistic Jewish Community Leadership, in the realm of Jewish renewal (working with Israeli Jewish renewal organizations such as the Panim umbrella organization of Jewish Renewal NGOs, Memizrach Shemesh Beit Midrash and Center for Jewish Social Activism and Leadership, Bina Jewish Movement for Social Change, and others). The program is offered jointly by the Schechter Institute and the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary.
The TALI Educational Leadership Development Program trains teachers in secular public schools to teach Jewish Studies and to be agents of educational change in their schools. The program affords an opportunity to become connected to Jewish texts and sources, and provides skills and tools needed to teach the Jewish and Israeli Culture curriculum of the Ministry of Education. The program is accredited towards an M.A. in Jewish Studies.