Will New NY Hebrew School Model Help or Undermine Partner Synagogues?

May 29, 2012

Source: The New York Jewish Week


Julie Wiener writes of the new Jewish Journey Project (JJP) a collaborative effort of seven congregations, the JCC in Manhattan, the 14th Street Y and various other Jewish institutions which is poised to revolutionize part-time, pre-b’nai mitzvah Jewish education in NYC when it launches this fall.


The Jewish Journey Project is a revolutionary education initiative for children in grades 3-7. It is a collaborative, innovative, and flexible model that engages participants in experiential learning based on their individual interests, schedule, and learning style. It broadens Jewish learning and deepens Jewish living by providing experiences that include the individual, the family, the synagogue, The JCC in Manhattan, the 14th Street Y, and the larger New York Jewish community.


The JJP Vision

JJP seeks to revolutionize supplementary Jewish education.


From third through seventh grade, applicants will engage in a wide range of courses that speak to the whole child and together build a unique journey through the possibilities of Jewish life.


Over five years, applicants fully integrate Jewish education into their lives by experiencing the vibrant resources of the New York Jewish community. Applicants come to understand that Jewish learning takes place in many settings, not just the traditional classroom. JJP is a living classroom, a network of museums, community centers, synagogues, theaters, art galleries, parks, gardens, and your family's home.


Upon celebrating their Bar or Bat Mitzvah, each child will have a Passport that documents the pathways they have traveled on their unique Jewish journey. This integrated experience of Jewish learning will encourage them to explore new pathways as they enter young adulthood.

JJP, with plans to enroll at least 150 students this fall, is the largest and most ambitious collaborative effort to revolutionize Hebrew school models so far.


Offered seven days a week in locations throughout Manhattan — including the participating synagogues, the JCC, The Jewish Museum and even an Upper West Side nail salon — the JJP courses are categorized by five “pathways”: Torah, God & Spirituality, Hebrew, Jewish Peoplehood and Tikkun Olam.


In addition to the self-selected courses/activities, students will also participate in regular “meet-ups” with JJP peers from their home synagogue or the JCC — an effort to ensure that, despite the choose-your-own-adventure aspect of the curriculum, children will still feel part of a community with other Jewish children.


Read Wiener's article in The Jewish Week.

Updated: Jun. 05, 2012