Building Bridges to College-Age Population

Last year, it was "Jewish Identity and Contemporary Israeli Culture," at Tufts University.

This year, it was "Judaism and the Quest for Meaning," at Clark University.

These two new fellowship programs, created by the Center for Global Judaism with a grant from CJP, are just the latest examples of how Hebrew College is building bridges between the academy and the community.

Rabbi Or Rose, the center's director, said engaging undergraduate college students is an important and exciting new avenue for connecting with Jewish populations in their daily lives. For these first two ventures onto college campuses, the center partnered with local Hillels.

"As an educational institution dedicated to serving a wide variety of constituents in the Jewish community," Rose said, "Hebrew College believes that partnering with Combined Jewish Philanthropies on this collegiate initiative is a vital opportunity to empower the next generation of Jewish learners and leaders."

The "Quest for Meaning" program at Clark used Rabbi Arthur Green's book "Judaism's 10 Best Ideas: A Brief Guide for Seekers" as the framework for discussion. Students learned how Jewish seekers in different times and places have understood the great existential challenges and possibilities facing them, and explored how these ideas can be most helpful in shaping meaningful and responsible lives as Jews in today’s world.

Each of the students who completed the program is eligible for a fellowship to engage in a future Jewish educational experience. These can include internships in Israel, Jewish spiritual retreats or online textual learning, Rose said.

Hebrew College is in discussion with CJP and Hillel International about conducting similar programs in the future.