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College enrollment in Hebrew courses is dropping sharply, and this downward spiral may soon have profound effects on the American Jewish community. Modern Hebrew enrollment fell 17.6 percent between 2013 and 2016, according to a report from the Modern Languages Association, while Biblical Hebrew suffered a 23.9% decline. The number of Hebrew students has been falling for a decade, with little discussion in the Jewish community. In 2006, a total of 9,620 college students were enrolled in a modern Hebrew course. That number fell to 6,698 in 2013, and dropped again to 5,521 in 2016. Biblical Hebrew has gone from over 14,000 students in 2006 to just 9587 in 2016.
Updated: Jul. 18, 2019
The Chabad-affiliated Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia is opening what it is calling Russia’s first Jewish university. Modeled after Yeshiva University in the United States, The Jewish University of Moscow is a private institution with a student body of 200 whose budget comes mostly from donors and the Federation, Dean Alexander Lebedev told JTA earlier this week. It will open next month.
Updated: Mar. 19, 2018
Hillel International today announced that it has reached an agreement with The David Project to integrate the pro-Israel group into Hinenu, Hillel’s Israel Education and Engagement department. The two organizations have a long-established partnership that will be formalized to serve the missions of both organizations. The David Project will strengthen its proven methodology for building diverse pro-Israel support on campus, while helping Hillel empower Jewish students on campus to create enduring connections to Israel.
Updated: Sep. 06, 2017
The Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artists Program will bring 13 prominent Israeli artists for residencies at top universities across the United States for the 2017-2018 academic year. Among the artists are director, writer, and co-creator of the hit HBO TV series “In Treatment” Nir Bergman, who will team-teach with award-winning documentary filmmaker David Ofek; Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Tamar Kay, whose “The Mute’s House” won international acclaim; and choreographer Roy Assaf, whose company will perform at New York’s Baryshnikov Arts Center (NY) during his tenure.
Updated: Aug. 30, 2017
In November 2015, the Israeli Ministry of Education declared that the matriculation exam in history would no longer include the Holocaust, and instead students would be required to write a research paper. Following this decision, we wished to test the level of knowledge concerning the Holocaust among undergraduate students (excluding those who study contemporary history, which includes Holocaust studies).
Updated: Jul. 12, 2017
Shalem College’s second president, Prof. Isaiah M. Gafni, welcomed 53 new students to campus the first week of November, 2016, urging them to “retain the extraordinary passion for learning” that brought them to the college throughout their next four years. Hailing from all parts of the country, and representing a diverse religious and ideological spectrum, Shalem’s over-subscribed Class of 2020 are united by their impressive record of service, commitment to learning, and academic accomplishment—traits that define the college’s first three pioneering classes as well, and “continue Shalem’s tradition of excellence,” in the words of Provost Dr. Daniel Polisar.
Updated: Jan. 12, 2017
USHMM Launches Primary Source Teaching Tool - Experiencing History: Jewish Perspectives on the Holocaust
The Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has recently released a new digital tool, Experiencing History: Jewish Perspectives on the Holocaust, aimed to facilitate teaching. Experiencing History is aimed at college-and university level instructors who teach Holocaust-related courses, broadly defined. It features online collections of carefully selected Jewish primary sources, from diaries, letters and newspaper articles to photography, moving image and sound. The sources are grouped into thematic collections that allow for easy classroom integration. Each source is introduced and annotated by a Holocaust scholar, in order to provide enough historical context for a productive in-class discussion or an assignment.
Updated: Dec. 14, 2016
In Summer 2017, the Tikvah Fund is offering an intensive, seven-week, (June 15 – August 3, 2017), fellowship for college students living in America, Canada, and throughout the Diaspora. Led by preeminent professors, rabbis, educators, and intellectual and political leaders, the Tikvah Summer Fellowship for College Students will explore foundational Jewish teaching, including biblical and rabbinic texts, the lessons of Jewish history, the insights of modern Jewish thought, and the vibrant interplay between Jewish and Western ideas.
Updated: Dec. 08, 2016
TAMID Group, where I am privileged to work, puts programming control in the hands of the students. Or more accurately, we never wrested it from their control, since students started the organization in 2008. Their goal was creating sustainable connections to Israel among the next generation of business leaders, and they did it by creating programming that gives students top-level business training as they prepare to launch their own careers. Eight years later we are on 34 campuses, engaging 1700 students and preparing for the 30 more campuses in our pipeline. We have no political agenda and no religious affiliation – a sizeable percentage of our students are not Jewish – and we are forging new and stronger connections to Israel across the country.
Updated: Nov. 30, 2016
The teaching and learning of Modern Hebrew outside of Israel is essential to Jewish education and identity. One of the most contested issues in Modern Hebrew pedagogy is the use of code-switching between Modern Hebrew and learners’ first language. Moreover, this is one of the longest running disputes in the broader field of second language research and education. Based on recent conceptualizations of bi/multilingualism together with findings from an empirical investigation of beginner students at an Australian university, this article argues that strategic use of code-switching serves the needs of both learners and teachers working within a bi/multilingual educational environment.
Updated: Nov. 16, 2016