Boston — Dec. 12, 2016 — The Virtual High School’s Online Judaic Studies Consortium (OJSC) is offering two new courses for the spring 2017 semester. One is A Look at Contemporary Israelthrough the Eyes of Tanakh, developed and taught by Rabbi Jeffrey Schrager. The other is Responsibility and Restitution: Perek HaChovel, an advanced Talmud course developed and taught by Sara Wolkenfeld, the Director of Education at Sefaria, a digital library for Jewish texts.
A Look at Contemporary Israelthrough the Eyes of Tanakh
This coursefocuses on applying lessons gathered from the biblical narrative to modernIsrael while also discussing how recent events and discoveries inform the learning of Tanakh.“The creation of Medinat Yisrael, the State of Israel, allows us to learn Tanakh in ways we had never experienced previously,gaining a better understanding of the lives of biblical figures and the places they inhabited,” said Schrager.“Along the way, we will learn about our relationship with the Land of Israel both as individuals and as a nation.”
Schrager was raised in Rochester, N.Y., and is an alumnus of Yeshivat Hamivtar in Israel as well asof Yeshiva University in New York City, where he studied English literature. He has been a classroom teacher for more than a decade, first in Rochester and then at the Akiba Academy of Dallas, where he served as the middle school Judaic Studies coordinator. In 2015, Schrager and his family moved to Israel and currently reside in Ramat Beit Shemesh.
Responsibility and Restitution: Perek HaChovel
Through study of the eighth chapter of Bava Kamma, the Responsibility and Restitutioncourse addresses questions of justice and ethics such as balancing the rights of both the injurer and the injured, the ways legal authorities can craft an ethical and functional justice system that addresses the needs of all members of society andhow learning Gemara can impact students’ lives as Jews. The class will focus on cultivating the ability to analyze the text of the Gemara, while also incorporating excerpts from some of the classical commentaries.
In addition to being the Director of Education at Sefaria, Wolkenfeld teaches Talmud at Ida Crown Jewish Academy. She previously worked as the Director of Education for the Center for Jewish Life - Hillel at Princeton University, where she and her husband also served as educators for the Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC). During the summers, Wolkenfeld teaches at the Drisha Institute in New York City, and she lectures on various Jewish topics on campuses and in synagogues. Wolkenfeld holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Judaica and Comparative Literature from the University of Pennsylvania, and she has studied Talmud and Jewish Law at Midreshet Lindenbaum, Drisha, Pardes, Nishmat, Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel School, and Beit Morashah.
“We are committed to providing a comprehensive online program for Judaic studies,” said Carol Ribeiro, President and CEO of The Virtual High School. “It’s been our good fortune to partnering with educators of the caliber of Jeffrey and Sara to help us develop and deliver unique online Judaic studies courses through the OJSC. We look forward to collaborating with them to provide Jewish day school students with access to this exciting new curriculum.”
About The Virtual High School
The Virtual High School (VHS Inc.) is an online learning pioneer. Since 1996, the nonprofit organization based in Massachusetts 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.VHSLearning.org or call (978) 897-1900.
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