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New Hebrew School Model Unveiled

The Jewish Journey Project (JJP), a collaborative effort of seven Manhattan congregations, a JCC, the 14th Street Y, and various other organizations, is planning to launch a new Jewish education model this fall. With $1.5 million in startup funds, JJP plans to enroll at least 150 students in a revolutionary part-time Hebrew school. If successful, it could shake up the synagogue business model, in which the synagogue sets the standards and claims it knows what’s best for the students. Students in grades 3-7 will be able to select their own courses or activities through one of six participating synagogues or the JCC. 

JJP courses are categorized by five “pathways”: Torah, God and Spirituality, Hebrew, Jewish Peoplehood, and Tikkun Olam (social action). Examples of courses in the initial eight-week program are: “Talmudic Stories in Stop-Motion Animation,” a session of “Create Your Own Hip-Hop Siddur (prayer book),” a winter break spent doing Jewish theater, and learning Hebrew through a Saturday night ropes course taught by a former Israel Defense Forces lieutenant.

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