Community Blog

At the center of leadership in Jewish education for over 90 years, Hebrew College has always been a fulcrum of active discussion about the most current issues of the day. Now, Hebrew College extends that discussion worldwide, with the Hebrew College community blog.

Pesach Reflections on Ukraine and the Dnepropetrovsk Kehillah Project
Rabbi James Morgan
Director, Israel and International Partnerships
April 9, 2014
On Pesach we celebrate our ancestors’ liberation from Egyptian slavery—and our own. Every year, the Jewish People finds itself in the narrow straights of Mitzrayim. And every year, we, the Jews, experience our own liberation and witness the liberation of one branch of our global family, even as others experience new hardships. > Read full post

Hevruta: Shaping a New Era in Jewish Education
Rabbi Daniel L. Lehmann
President, Hebrew College
March 26, 2014
Hebrew College and The Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem are on the cutting-edge of a new era in Jewish education in which young Jews from North America and Israel will live, learn and serve together as true partners in shaping the future of the global Jewish community. > Read full post

Barley and the Jews
Dan Brosgol
Director, Prozdor
March 19, 2014
While Passover certainly gives us an annual celebration of slavery, freedom and uplifting songs, it’s worthy of noting that one of the lesser-known angles of the Passover festival is that it’s traditionally associated as the festival marking the annual barley harvest. This is the principal reason why we count the Omer using measures of barley. > Read full post

One Voice Followed By A Symphony
Bernice Lerner
Director, Adult Learning
March 5, 2014
Me'ah is like Ravel's Bolero. The composition begins with one haunting
voice, then slowly it builds momentum, incrementally, adding more
instruments, more musical voices until in the end there is a full,
sonorous orchestra. The Bible is the written Torah, the ancient voice,
the voice of God, if you will. > Read full post


Who is Wise? One Who Learns from All People.
Rachel Raz
Director, Early Childhood Institute
Feb. 28, 2014
Both early childhood educators and scientists like to ask questions. Inquiry and curiosity are at the core of their respective fields. > Read full post
Both
early childhood educators and scientists like to ask questions. Inquiry
and curiosity are at the core of their respective fields. - See more
at: http://www.hebrewcollege.edu/who-is-wise#sthash.9Zikg07V.dpuf


Henry Lehmann
Rabbi Daniel L. Lehmann
President, Hebrew College
Jan. 29, 2014
This week was the yahrzeit of my father who passed away 14 years ago. Henry Lehmann, Yehoshua ben Shelomo, was an active volunteer leader in many Jewish communities. > Read full post
his
week was the yahrzeit of my father who passed away 14 years ago. Henry
Lehmann, Yehoshua ben Shelomo, was an active volunteer leader in the
Jewish communities - See more at:
http://hebrewcollege.edu/henry-lehmann#sthash.rjAali60.dpuf


The Fight for Jewish Youth
Josh Langer
Director of Makor and Special Projects
Jan. 8, 2014
Those of us who work with Jewish teens like to say, "as long as a Jewish teen finds a meaningful and enriching experience, it's alright if it's not with my organization." And I believe this sentiment is genuine. But ask the professionals at these collaborating organizations if they think the organization they work for is actually better positioned than a partner to offer the more valuable experience, and the honest answer will (and should) be a resounding "yes!". > Read full post
Those
of us who work with Jewish teens like to say, "as long as a Jewish teen
finds a meaningful and enriching experience, it's alright if it's not
with my organization." And I believe this sentiment is genuine. But ask
the professionals at these collaborating organizations if they think the
organization they work for is actually better positioned than a partner
to offer the more valuable experience, and the honest answer will (and
should) be a resounding "yes!". - See more at:
http://hebrewcollege.edu/fight-jewish-youth#sthash.2AuZZ5wb.dpuf


Return to Adult Learning
Marcy Leiman
Associate Director, Parenting through a Jewish Lens
Dec. 20, 2013
I have parenting dilemmas and I have questions on how to instill Jewish values into their lives. I can empathize with the constituents that the program is serving and I can learn with them. Each Sunday morning, I join my class for an hour and a half of adult learning with Rabbi Julie Zupan. The class is motivating, the discussion inspiring and the materials engaging - a direct correlation to the work environment that I feel every day at Hebrew College. > Read full post


The Write Stuff
Dan Brosgol
Director, Prozdor
Dec. 11, 2013
We are well into our first-ever Rising Voices Fellowship with the Jewish Women's Archive. Utilizing the online presence of the JWA, and the expertise of our staff and Hebrew College's resources, this fellowship blends on-site and virtual learning in a year-long program training teenage girls to embrace feminism, empowerment and blogging. > Read full post


Hanukkah and Thanksgiving: An Opportunity for Hybridity
Rabbi Daniel L. Lehmann

President, Hebrew College

Nov. 26, 2013
Everyone is talking and writing about the rare overlap between Hanukkah and Thanksgiving this year. Thanksgivukkah has become a virtual industry with bloggers, websites and commercial products focusing attention on this unusual calendric phenomenon. Beyond all the hype, is there something of substance that can be derived from the intersection of these two different holidays? > Read full post

A Journey of Return
Tammy Mitchell
Me'ah Student
Oct. 30, 2013
Like many Jews, I am a perennial student and I enjoy learning more than almost any other activity. Me'ah was an opportunity to update my knowledge, create a context and fill in some missing puzzle pieces. As I have come to know and cherish every member of our Me'ah "family," the teachers and the students in Me'ah continue to astonish me with their lively minds and warm hearts. Our Wednesday mornings are the high point of my week. > Read full post

Everyone Will Lead
Daniel Brosgol
Director of Prozdor
Oct. 16, 2013
For a generation, Jewish education has been about Jewish identity. Come learn with us and you'll get some baseline literacy, a ration of Jewish pride, a sense of history and ritual and a desire to raise Jewish children. Those days are over. > Read full post

A Weaving Together of Two Worlds
Rabbi Daniel L. Lehmann
President, Hebrew College
Oct. 8, 2013
Rarely are the lost worlds of 19th century German Orthodoxy and Polish Hasidism brought together in one moment and in one space. This past Sunday, that rare event took place. > Read full post   

A Blessing for a New Year of Teaching and Learning
Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld
Dean, Rabbinical School of Hebrew College
Oct. 2, 2013
The Torah she'be'al peh, the Torah that comes out of our mouths, the Torah that is spoken and sung and shouted and whispered and chanted and debated and discussed around tables when we eat together or around the tables of the Bet Midrash, can give life and take on new life only when we bring it deeply into ourselves. > Read full post   

Partnering on the Pulpit
Rabbi Daniel L. Lehmann
President, Hebrew College
Sept. 24, 2013
For me it was a first. Never before did I have the opportunity, as president of Hebrew College, to partner with an alumnus on a synagogue pulpit. On Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, I served as a Ba'al Tefila, a leader of synagogue prayers, at Temple Reyim in Newton. Rabbi Dan Berman, a 2010 graduate of the Hebrew College Rabbinical School, was appointed the new Rabbi at Temple Reyim just this past summer. > Read full post     

Rejoicing on Sukkot
Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld
Dean, Rabbinical School of Hebrew College
Sept. 18, 2013
In the rhythm of Jewish time, the festival of Sukkot is known as "z'man simchateinu," or "season of our joy." On Sukkot, joy is halakhically mandated; we are not only invited to be joyful, we are obligated to do so. > Read full post     

The Makor Challenge
Josh Langer
Director, Makor
Sept. 11, 2013
Our mission at Makor is to empower and connect emerging Jewish teens as learners and leaders. Our students have told us they are proud to be Jewish. Let's help them discover the connection between Jewish learning and Jewish pride. > Read full post     

Taking It a Half Day at a Time
Cantor Brian Mayer
Dean, School of Jewish Music
Sept. 4, 2013
I don't know about you, but I am not so good at the "take-it-one-day-at-a-time" approach to life. People constantly voice this sentiment, and everyone around them usually nods in agreement. Sounds like a good way to live. > Read full post
I
don't know about you, but I am not so good at the "take it one day at a
time" approach to life. People constantly voice this sentiment and
everyone around them usually nods in agreement. Sounds like a good way
to live. - See more at:
http://www.hebrewcollege.edu/half-day#sthash.JmRhIWfI.dpuf

A High Holy Days Reflection on Teaching
Michael Aronson
MAJS Student
Aug. 30, 2013
No matter what, we must always be aware that we are not just talking at them, but teaching them. We must "hear" them, however they communicate, and respond appropriately. Affirmative communication, a true miracle indeed! Isn't this something worth pondering as we enter the High Holy Days? If we truly want to repair our broken world, doesn't a pledge to study to become better teachers justify our inscription in the Book of Life? > Read full post 

Contextual Learning: Summer Teaching in Israel
Rabbi Or Rose
Director, Center for Global Judaism
Aug. 21, 2013
I recently returned from a six-week stay in Jerusalem, where I had the pleasure of serving as a faculty member for the Bronfman Youth Fellowships in Israel. Founded in 1987, this unique program offers 26 incoming high-school seniors from the United States and Canada intensive study in various dimensions of Jewish life and thought, both ancient and modern. The North American fellows also have the opportunity for substantive interaction with the 20 Israeli youth selected for the sister program, Amitei Bronfman (founded in 1998). > Read full post

Out of Time: 5774 Is Coming
Dan Brosgol
Director, Prozdor
Aug. 15, 2013
As Jewish New Englanders, we have a something that really ratchets up the value of fall—the high holy days. This year it seeems they're coming, and coming in a hurry. If you blink, you'll miss Elul. Come Labor Day weekend we'll be in the final countdown to the New Year. Even though the holidays are as early as they could possibly be, it's beginning to look a lot like, well, Rosh Hashanah outside. > Read full post

A Resource That's Even Better Than the Internet
Mimi Borden
Graduate, Parenting Through a Jewish Lens
Aug. 5, 2013
Parenting through a Jewish lens means to me that we are mindful of special moments and should take the time to mark them, that we are always there for people who are making their way through difficult times, that being part of communities is an essential part of life, as is being true to oneself and nurturing our children to do the same. This view makes a difference in how we parent. > Read full post
Parenting through a Jewish lens means to me that we are mindful of special moments and should take the time to mark them, that we are always there for people who are making their way through difficult times, that being part of communities is an essential part of life, as is being true to oneself and nurturing our children to do the same. This view makes a difference in how we parent. - See more at: http://www.hebrewcollege.edu/better-than-internet#sthash.lYJ1bCn7.dpuf

Four Questions With Jessica Silverman
Dan Brosgol
Director, Prozdor
July 24, 2013
Prozdor has found a real star to spearhead the STEM initiative and help provide vision and expertise in this new area of study: Jessica Silverman. She is completing her doctorate in Microbiology at Tufts School of Medicine and will be spending next year teaching chemistry at Newton South High School and two STEM classes at Prozdor. > Read full post

Opening American Eyes to Israel's Diversity
Sarah Schonberg
Graduate, Hebrew College
July 10, 2013
The best way to end the indifference is to tell the true stories of Israel so that American Jews can form their own relationships with our homeland. What American youth are indifferent to is hearing just one story and being told to accept it without question. > Read full post

Lesson's Learned From Rabbi Lamm's Last Letter
Rabbi Daniel Lehmann
President, Hebrew College
July 3, 2013
In many ways, Rabbi Lamm was a role model for me. He took a Jewish institution of higher learning from the brink of financial collapse and resuscitated it, ushering in a new era of institutional growth and prosperity. > Read full post
In
many ways, Rabbi Lamm was a role model for me. He took a Jewish
institution of higher learning from the brink of financial collapse and
resuscitated it, ushering in a new era of institutional growth and
prosperity. - See more at:
http://www.hebrewcollege.edu/rabbi-lamm#sthash.TsQgXDt2.dpuf

My Connection to Judaism
Jill Jacobs
Commencement Speaker
June 11, 2013
Our class was unbelievably diverse. Some of my classmates were spiritual, some had a more intellectual approach, but everyone was there to learn, to deepen their basic understanding of Judaism. > Read full post
Our class
was unbelievably diverse. Some had backgrounds in orthodoxy, some were
conservative, some reform or reconstructionist and some who defied
labels. Some had studied more, some less and some not at all. Some of my
classmates were spiritual, some had a more intellectual approach, but
everyone was there to learn, to deepen their basic understanding of
Judaism. - See more at:
http://www.hebrewcollege.edu/connection-judaism#sthash.en8cUIXB.dpuf

Teach Everyone
Anita Diamant
Commencement Speaker
June 5, 2013
According to that famous Chinese proverb, "it is a curse to live in interesting times." So we're good, because "interesting" doesn't begin to describe what we're living in. > Read full post

What Prozdor Means to Me
Ben Gladstone
Prozdor Senior
May 29, 2013
I'd like to thank Prozdor, for making sure that should I ever become lost, I'll always be sure of who I am and what I stand for. Thank you for helping me to formulate the principles by which I live my life, and for providing me with friends that I know I'll keep forever. > Read full post.

Why I Am a Jewish Educator and Jewish Learner
Rabbi Michael Shire
Dean, Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education
May 22, 2013
My study of Judaism enriches me, and my teaching of Judaism makes the enrichment all the more fulfilling. It can be the history of our people, Jewish thought or, indeed, the very engagement with ancient Jewish writings. > Read full post

Is Hatred of Evil a Jewish Value?
Rabbi Daniel Lehmann
President, Hebrew College
May 17, 2013
Both of these recent tragedies force us to confront the question of whether hatred of evil is a Jewish value. Psalm 97, which we recite as part of the Friday evening Shabbat service, reminds us that "those who love the Lord, hate evil..." > Read full post

A New Vision for Prozdor
Daniel Brosgol
Director, Prozdor
May 9, 2013
Prozdor hazily exists somewhere between passion and compulsion. Yes, parents like to make their kids go to Prozdor (and for that, I thank them) but once they are here it is our job to make sure they get plugged in to the right opportunity that will make them take ownership of their Jewish learning experience. Read full post  

The Power of Music
Cantor Brian Mayer
Dean, School of Jewish Music
April 25, 2013
 It's a cliche: "The power of music reaches the human soul in ways that words cannot." Maybe it's because I'm a musician, but I am tired of this cliche. > Read full post

A Statement of Grief and Hope From Boston
Rabbi Or Rose
Director, Center for Global Judaism
April 17, 2013 
As clergy serving different religious communities in Greater Boston, we are shocked and saddened by the Patriots' Day attacks on our fellow citizens, our city and our freedom. > Read full post  

The Hebrew College-Japan Connection: Unexpected Discoveries
Bernice Lerner
Director, Adult Learning
April 11, 2013 
When former Hebrew College President Sam Schafler and his wife, Sara, visited Kyoto, Japan, Akira Kondo, MJS'91, happily introduced them to his parents — and to members of Beit Shalom, also known as Japan Christian Friends of Israel. Founded in 1946 by Father Otsuki Takeji, Beit Shalom now boasts 10,000 members. Akira's studies at Hebrew College helped prepare him for the role of pastor of the group's headquarter church in Kyoto. > Read full post

Anyone Can Lead
Daniel Brosgol
Director, Prozdor
March 21, 2013
In looking at the stories of Prozdor students, there's a compelling case to be made that as long as a student latches on to something he is passionate about and is given the tools and the space to be creative, he can become a leader. > Read full post

My Shortest Trip to Israel
Rabbi Daniel Lehmann
President, Hebrew College
March 6, 2013
Rabbi David Hartman was a larger than life figure. Rooted in Orthodox practice and belief, he pushed the boundaries of Jewish thought, articulating a covenantal theology of partnership and love. As an Orthodox rabbinical student and a then a young rabbi, David Hartman was a model for me of someone who was devoted to the tradition, passionate about Jewish law and thought, and striving for a creative, contemporary theology that responded to the challenges and opportunities of pluralism and the State of Israel. > Read full post

Shushan Purim
Elizabeth Bonney
Student, Rabbinical School
Feb. 25, 2013
We acknowledge today as Shushan Purim, as a commemoration of the day when the Jews of Shushan (the walled Persian capital) finally rested after defeating their enemies. They returned to their gated community, and rejoiced. > Read full post

Purim: A Holiday of Friendship?
Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld
Dean, Rabbinical School
Feb. 20, 2013
It was from one of my most significant teachers, Rabbi James Ponet, that I first learned about Rabbi Hartman's understanding of Purim as the Jewish holiday of friendship. The connection may seem counterintuitive at first. A holiday of debauchery, disguises and narrowly averted disaster, yes. But the holiday of friendship? Read full post 

Easy Ways to Celebrate Purim at Home With Young Children
Rachel Raz
Director, Early Childhood Institute
Feb. 13, 2013
There are many ways we can celebrate Purim at home. This post gives you tips on bringing the excitement of Purim into your home without breaking the bank, with easy Mishloach Manot and free videos about the holiday. > Read full post 

Experiencing Islam: An Interview With Homayra Ziad, Ph.D.
Rabbi Or Rose
Director, Center for Global Judaism
Feb. 11, 2013
We are confronted on a daily basis with facts, figures and foregone conclusions about Islamic beliefs and practices. My first hope for this weeklong introduction was to provide students with tools to intelligently navigate this complicated terrain. > Read full post 

Walk the Walk
Cantor Brian Mayer
Dean, School of Jewish Music
Feb. 6, 2013
I had the privilege of being part of an amazing Martin Luther King Jr. celebration in Providence on Sunday, Jan. 27.  Six choirs from around the city joined together to pay tribute to Dr. King's legacy in a concert entitled "Singing the Dream." > Read full post 

An Interfaith Vision for America
Rabbi Daniel L. Lehmann
President, Hebrew College
Jan. 22, 2013
The remarkable confluence of President Obama's second inaugural celebration and the national holiday marking Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday led me to think about the place of religious pluralism in America. I listened to President Obama's inaugural address at noon, and as I was driving back to Boston from New York City, I listened again to MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech that was broadcast on the local radio. I was struck, as I have been in the past, with the concluding sentence of King's famous speech. > Read full post

Gaining a Fresh Approach to Rearing Teens: An Opportunity for Every Parent
Bernice Lerner
Director, Adult Learning
Jan. 18, 2013
As her triplets were heading into their teen years, Cynthia Cohen thought it would be helpful to enroll in Parenting Your Teen Through a Jewish Lens. The Jewish aspect of the course attracted her. "We are not better parents than our friends who are not Jewish. We just do certain things differently. We have Shabbat dinner and lunch. We have Jewish holidays and life cycle events. We send our kids to a day school because we value Torah learning." > Read full post

Israel: There and Back Again
Daniel Brosgol
Director, Prozdor
Jan. 8, 2013
It's always amazing to go to Israel with Prozdor kids. This time, we managed to somehow dodge the historic rainfall that has been pounding the country all winter to enjoy a jam-packed 11 days of travel. It only rained the night of our arrival (Dec. 21, and no, we didn't see the Messiah, even though I went for a run that night in Jerusalem to see if I'd run into him) and for an hour on the following Saturday. > Read full post

What We Bring, What We Take
Bernice Lerner
Director, Adult Learning
Nov. 15, 2012
I have counseled many adults with work, family or other obligations to enroll in Me'ah, to enjoy learning the compelling story of the Jewish people with outstanding scholars. I tell them that assigned readings deepen understanding, but our instructors know how to teach busy adults who have not time to prepare for class. Finally, I have heeded my own words. I have carved out three hours one evening a week for Me'ah. > Read full post

Toward Creativity: A Theological Goal for Jewish Education
Rabbi Daniel L. Lehmann
President, Hebrew College
Nov. 1, 2012
I have been contemplating the need for a theology of Jewish education which would ground the goals of Jewish education in an understanding of Judaism's religious telos. It seems to me that Jewish education should inspire and equip us to achieve the deepest aspirations of Judaism. > Read full post

Square One? Re-envisioning Jewish Experiences for Today's Youth
Daniel Brosgol
Director, Prozdor
Oct. 18, 2012
Every year in our towns and neighborhoods, Jewish families fork over thousands of dollars for Russian Math School, Mass Premier Soccer, private SAT tutoring and intensive jazz and ballet dance classes. Yet at the same time they either don't need, want or are unable to devote similar resources to Jewish activities. > Read full post

A Tale of Two Countries
Rabbi Michael Shire
Dean, Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education
Oct. 4, 2012
I was privileged to lead the High Holy Day services again this year at the Oxford Jewish Community in Great Britain. The OJC is unique in Europe in having a single community with multiple "minyanim," including a regular Orthodox, Masorti and Liberal Jewish service on Shabbat and Hagim. > Read full post 

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