Boston — Nov. 2, 2015 — The Virtual High School (VHS, Inc.) today announced the spring 2016 course schedule for its Online Judaic Studies Consortium (OJSC). The consortium, made possible by a partnership with the AVI Chai Foundation, was developed for the purpose of broadening Jewish day schools’ Judaic studies course offerings, and the five courses being offered this semester will help teachers and students explore a variety of Judaic topics, traditional text analysis and historical events. Registration begins November 4th, for the spring semester, which starts on January 27th.
“These courses deliver engaging, rigorous content that deepen students’ understanding of Judaism and their own connections to the Jewish people,” said OJSC program director Lisa Micley. “Additionally, students benefit from interacting with an expanded community of Jewish day school learners and the flexible schedule that online learning provides.”
The OJSC spring 2016 Judaic Studies course catalog includes the following:
Pairs in TaNaKh
This course will explore TaNaKh by analyzing several pairs of individuals and comparing their different character traits (middot), behaviors and actions. Topics covered include leadership, parent-child relationships and making covenants. Students will carefully study texts and develop critical thinking and self-reflection skills as they connect sources from the TaNaKh about human nature to their own lives. The course instructor, Arielle Gereboff, teaches middle and high school-aged students at the San Diego Jewish Academy. In addition to multiple degrees and certifications, Gereboff has 14 years of teaching experience, including formal and informal education for grades K-12 and at the university level.
This course will serve as an introduction to rabbinic literature, specifically the teachings of the sages as found in the Mishna, the first major written compilation of Jewish oral traditions and the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. Rabbi Tzvi Klugerman will guide students toward an understanding of “Talmudic thinking” and the way such thinking began the process of developing rabbinic Judaism. More advanced students will have the opportunity for independent enrichment with additional source material from the Mishna, other Tannaitic works, the Talmud and the legal codes of Maimonides. Rabbi Klugerman is a doctoral candidate at Gratz College, holds an MAED from George Washington University, and received his B.A. and rabbinical ordination from Yeshiva University.
Religious Zionism in the 21st Century
Students will study the teachings of Chazal from Talmud and Rishonim through modern-day thinkers like Rav Kook, Rav Lichtenstein and Rav Soloveitchik. The course instructor, Rabbi Peretz Hochbaum will help students examine the topic of Zionism within the context of a contemporary religious perspective. Rabbi Hochbaum is the principal of Rav Teitz Mesivta Academy of the Jewish Educational Center in Elizabeth, N.J. He is a musmach of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) at Yeshiva University, and he has served as a teacher and principal at a number of Yeshiva day schools.
The Virtual High School Launches Spring 2016 Judaic Studies Courses
History Makers of Israel
The history of the formation of the modern state of Israel is rich and layered. This course will explore the backgrounds and contributions of some of the dreamers, founders and pioneers who played a major role in the creation of the Israel we know today. By learning about these history makers, students will gain insight into the historical timeline and progression from pre-statehood to modern day Israel. The course will be taught by Tami Stalbow, the executive director at Westchester Hebrew High School in Mamaroneck, N.Y., where she has also served as VHS site coordinator for five years. Stalbow also teaches Hebrew language, and prior to working in the Yeshiva high school world, she designed educational study tours to destinations including Israel, Europe and South America.
Digital Citizenship and Jewish Values
OJSC program director, Lisa Micley, and VHS site coordinator and instructor, Joyce Wheeler, will help students consider what it means to be a good digital citizen and to explore the intersection between modern technology, Jewish texts and Jewish values. Jewish day school students will find it especially meaningful to learn how Judaism relates to decisions concerning ethics and safety on the Internet. Each week will include an interactive discussion linking the theme and issues from the week's lessons to a Jewish text. In her role as Program Director for the OJSC, Micley recruits teachers and schools for the program and works on course development and reviewing the content for each course. Micley was on the Jewish studies faculty of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston before working with teachers and principals as a school liaison for the Tal AM program. During her 10 years with VHS, Wheeler has taught a variety of courses including Blogs, Wikis, and Web Research Tools; Literary Skills for the 21st Century; and Literature of the World. She was also the library media specialist at Scarborough High School in Maine.
To enroll or learn more about the OJSC, please visit www.OnlineJudaicStudies.org or contact Lisa Micley at LMicley@TheVHS.org or call 978.450.0435.
About The Virtual High School, Inc.
The Virtual High School (VHS, Inc.) is an online learning pioneer. Since 1996, the nonprofit organization has set the standard for quality online education. VHS provides courses taught in global online classrooms for secondary school students and online professional development for educators. The organization also meets the unique educational needs of schools through custom course development and individualized course offerings. VHS design and delivery standards are the model used by the National Education Association in their recommended standards for online learning. The organization has won numerous awards, including the Stockholm Challenge Award for Global Excellence in Information Technology and is a three-time winner of the United States Distance Learning Association’s (USDLA) award for Excellence in Programming and Excellence in Best Practices. For more information, visit www.TheVirtualHighSchool.org or call (978) 897-1900.
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