The Online Judaic Studies Consortium Introduces Four New Courses

Boston — Feb. 28, 2018 — The Virtual High School’s Online Judaic Studies Consortium (OJSC) is offering four new courses for the 2018-2019 school year. These new courses will enable participating students to explore and deepen their understanding of Jewish history and texts. The courses explore a range of topics including Jewish history, identity and community and our relationship to Israel.

Introduction to Jewish History-1700-Modern Israel

Developed by Dr. Matt Reingold, a teacher at Tanenbaum CHAT in Toronto, this course will follow Introduction to Jewish History-Second Temple -1700 as the second semester of a full-year “big picture” exploration of major events in Jewish history. Introduction to Jewish History-1700-Modern Israel examines the Jewish experience in France during the late 1700s and early 1800s, and in Eastern Europe throughout the 1800s as well as the history of Jewish emigration to the United States, the Holocaust, Zionism and the Birth of Israel.

Jewish Identity and Community in Context

This course was designed by Yonatan Rosner, the co-director of Jewish Life at deToledo High School in Los Angeles, to help students explore the many layers that make up their Jewish identity and the identity expressed by Jews in communities around the world. They will view Jewish identity through a personal lens and through the lens of the surroundings in which that identity is expressed. Students will also develop biblical textual skills and survey a broad spectrum of rabbinic literary genres in their exploration of the themes of individual and communal Jewish identity.

Preparing for Life on Campus: The Complexities of Jewish Identity and Israel

Developed by a team of subject matter experts led by Jonathan Cannon, director of the Jewish Day School Collaborative, this online course teaches students about Israel-related challenges that they will encounter on college campuses. The course prepares students to advocate on behalf of Israel while maintaining a firm hold on their Jewish identity. Course units will address the relationship of the student with Israel as well as the significance of intersectionality and the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) Movement.

The Stories of Bereshit

Developed by Rabbi Rick Schindelheim, upper school Judaic Studies teacher at Fuchs Mizrachi School in Cleveland, this course helps students gain an understanding of how the lessons and stories of Bereshit relate to their own journey — where they have come from and where they are heading as well as choices they have made. Participants will examine how the teachings of the Book of Genesis are designed to prevent and correct the mistakes that people are inclined to make. They will also learn that careful reading of a text opens the door to deeper and more meaningful understandings of characters, their struggles and the messages of the story.

“These courses offer students options in addition to the courses provided at their Jewish day schools. They expand the learning and the thinking as students engage with peers and instructors from other schools. This experience will provide them with the knowledge and confidence they will need to thrive on college campuses and beyond.” Lisa Micley, Program Director, OJSC.

About The Virtual High School

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 or call (978) 897-1900.

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