Online Learning for Teens

JTS is delighted to offer a year of online learning for Jewish teens across North America. This innovative program brings together high school students from diverse backgrounds to access classical Jewish texts and find contemporary meaning in the concepts and values of Jewish tradition.  

Guided by expert faculty, students will be encouraged to ask the questions that matter to them and develop answers that speak authentically to them as young Jews in the 21st century. 

What We Offer

Five courses of 6-8 sessions each will be offered, covering a wide variety of compelling themes and textual genres, including:

  • What to Wear? Jews, Clothing, and Identity 
  • Sodom: The Evil Society 
  • A Just Death? Capital Punishment in Jewish Law 
  • Jewish Migrations 
  • Gender and the Garden of Eden 

Each course is designed both to facilitate encounters with key concepts and to build text skills. Students will engage in guided text study for all skill levels as well as class discussion.  

How It Works

Students may enroll for the full year or register for individual courses a la carte. Those who enroll for the full year will, over time, build literacy in the various genres of Jewish text and the core concepts of Jewish thought and Jewish life.   

All courses will meet on Wednesday evenings from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m. Eastern Time

Faculty

This program is offered under the auspices of JTS’s on-campus teen learning program, the Rebecca and Israel Ivry Prozdor High School. Courses will be taught by our Prozdor director, who is highly experienced in engaging teens in Jewish learning.

Fees and Registration

Cost: $215 per course

Register for the full year up front and receive a $100 discount. 

Space in each course is limited in order to maximize the engagement of each student and foster strong social connections.

Course Descriptions and Dates

What to Wear? Jews, Clothing, and Identity  

Seven Wednesdays: September 7, 14, 21, 28; October 12, 19, 26 (2022) 
7:30–8:45 p.m. ET 

When we choose the clothing we wear, we are presenting ourselves to the world—expressing who we are and what we value, setting ourselves apart as individuals and marking ourselves as part of a group. What can Judaism teach us about how to make those choices in a way that’s true to our values and identities? Through the lenses of biblical texts, art history, and creative writing, we will explore the role that our outfits play in shaping who we are and our place in the world.  

Sodom: The Evil Society  

Seven Wednesdays: November 2, 9, 16, 30; December 7, 14, 21 (2022) 
7:30–8:45 pm ET 

Can an entire society become contaminated by wickedness? In the Book of Genesis, Sodom is just such a society. Through the study of biblical and rabbinic texts, we will explore the nature of that pervasive evil—its institutions, norms, and values. Students will then apply their learning in a multimedia project and create an online World of Sodom.  

A Just Death? Capital Punishment in Jewish Law  

Seven Wednesdays: January 4, 11, 18, 25; February 1, 8, 15 (2023) 
7:30–8:45 pm ET 

Every society has some form of punishment for those who break its rules. But is it ever right to inflict the ultimate punishment—the taking of a life? If it is, when should we do it, and how should it be done? In this Talmud-based course, we will enter the intellectual world of the rabbis, learn how they thought about capital punishment, and consider how their values might inform our thinking about the death penalty in our own age and society. 

Jewish Migrations  

Six Wednesdays: February 22; March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 (2023) 
7:30–8:45 pm ET 

One of a handful of world religions transcending geographical boundaries, Judaism has spread not through conquest or conversion but through the dispersion of migrants and refugees who formed small minority communities across the globe. Through sources ranging from ancient history to our own family stories, we will study the diverse movements of Jewish communities throughout the world and discuss the impact of those journeys on our beliefs and values.  

Gender and the Garden of Eden  

Eight Wednesdays: April 19, 26; May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31; June 7 (2023) 
7:30–8:45 pm ET 

The story of the Garden of Eden is an ancient text that describes a young, distant world. Yet its portrait of gender relations has been used until today to justify the inferior status of women with respect to men. But perhaps the text itself is not so simple. Through close, critical study of the biblical text, we will dive deep into the Eden story and ask such questions as: What does it mean that Eve was created from Adam’s rib? Why did each eat from the Tree of Knowledge? What was the purpose of their exile from Eden? Our learning will help us reconsider the values of the Bible and examine our own assumptions about gender and religion. 

Questions?

Feel free to contact us at ivryprozdor@jtsa.edu or 212-678-8938.