The beginning of the school year is upon us, and there’s exciting news for all Jewish college students.
“History has taught us that the key to Jewish continuity is Jewish education,” explained Rabbi Yossy Gordon, the CEO of Chabad on Campus International, “and JewishU will be a transformative tool for the deep impact of Torah education.”
Suzi Delay, a molecular biology student at the University of Kansas, didn’t have a clue what it meant to “study Torah” when she began taking JewishU courses.” “In my head, it’s like you open the Torah and read!” she said, laughing at herself. Now, after taking nearly a dozen JewishU classes, she’s toying with the idea of writing a ten-page Torah thesis, which will earn her a JewishU certificate in Jewish studies. “JewishU showed me how to have a relationship with G-d and how to study Torah… and I’m constantly interested in what else I can learn,” she said.
Granted, Chabad on Campus has been in the business of Jewish education for decades. But JewishU seeks to re-imagine Jewish education by providing a program that complements and mirrors a student’s secular college education. Parallels include course credits, meticulously designed classes, a comprehensive course catalog, and structured course schedules.
“If we’re going to have Jewish students with a strong Jewish identity, they’re going to need to have a solid education on par with their higher education,” said Rabbi Shlomie Chein, the director of JewishU.
The JewishU catalog currently contains over twenty different courses, spanning twelve fields of Jewish study, and even more are being developed by a seasoned team of curriculum writers at the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute. Each course is four weeks long, and students are awarded with JewishU credits which can be traded for a variety of awards.
Forty-five college campuses have already been using the program, and this June, Chabad on Campus onboarded an additional twenty-five campus Rabbis and Rebbetzins, bringing their roster of locations to a total of seventy campuses.
From times gone by, academies of Jewish learning have always been an integral part of Jewish tradition and continuity, and JewishU is no exception. Beginning with the academy of Shem and Ever, the alma mater of all three patriarchs, to the famous Torah academies of Hillel and Shamai, JewishU is the latest addition to this venerable line-up and promises to be a powerful force of Jewish pride and knowledge.