Kari Hochwald is 23 years old and from Jacksonville, Florida. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2012 with a degree in English. She spent the past year volunteering in Israel through Masa’s Israel Teaching Fellows program in Rehovot. After a few months back at home, Kari has decided to return to Israel to live and work in Tel Aviv.
Jewschool:Say some things about your Jewish background and your previous experience(s) in Israel.
Kari Hochwald: My Jewish background is.. Conservaform? I guess? ( My family switched from a Conservative to Reform temple when I was 11). I really only stayed involved up through my Bat Mitzvah and a couple of years of volunteering at the temple. I was very uninvolved in high school and didn’t really find a Jewish outlet until the end of my Junior year in college when I went on a Taglit Birthright trip with the University of Florida Hillel, visiting Israel for the first time. Jacksonville doesn’t have a huge thriving Jewish community so I never had that many Jewish friends, and it’s hard to get involved on the college level when you don’t know many people at Hillel/Chabad (it’s a bit clique-y). Now my Judaism is more Israel centered and I would identify more with the “secular” movement. I was very involved with Hillel during my senior year of college, as a Masa intern and Zionist Gators group founder.
My experience in Israel this year was, of course, amazing, and so different from what you think you are seeing on Birthright. I felt a connection to Israel during that brief ten days, but being able to live there for ten months and attempt to understand the language, culture, controversies, and diverse land were things I could never have experienced otherwise. The highlight was partaking in all of the Jewish holidays in Israel, when no one questioned why I was missing class on Yom Kippur, and Chanukah was the main December event. My Hebrew didn’t improve immensely, but from teaching in a middle school I had a much better understanding of English grammar (ever heard of stative verbs?).
The NIF/SHATIL Social Justice Fellowships enable a cadre of post-college Jewish young adults to spend 10 months immersed in the movement for social change in Israel.
These Fellowships, which include a modest stipend, place young Jewish activists in Israeli non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for a year of in-depth contribution and learning. Additionally, Fellows engage in monthly enrichment programs and periodic site visits to further develop their understanding of Israel, Israeli activism, and their role as activists both in Israel and at home. Fellows spend the year with an organization working in one of the following areas:
Safeguarding civil and human rights
Pursuing environmental justice
Promoting Jewish-Arab equality
Advancing the status of women
Fostering tolerance and religious pluralism
Bridging social and economic gaps
Additionally, Fellows engage in monthly enrichment programs and periodic site visits to further develop their understanding of Israel, Israeli activism, and their role as activists both in Israel and at home. Fellows also receive training in leadership and community development. Because Fellows intern full time in an Israeli NGO, successful applicants must have either excellent Hebrew language skills, or good Hebrew with excellent Arabic skills. More »
The Jewish Studies Program at the University of Kentucky invites entries for the annual Mark and Ruth Luckens Essay Competition in Jewish Thought and Culture. The Luckens Prize is awarded to the best unpublished original essay by a graduate student or recent Ph.D. (Ph.D from no earlier than 2012) who does not already have a tenure-track academic position. The Luckens Prize carries a prize of $1000, made possible by a generous gift from the late Dr. Mark Luckens.
Entries for the Luckens Prize competition should be original, unpublished essays of 5000-7000 words in length including all notes and citations; essays that exceed this length will not be considered. All submissions must be in English. Entries will be judged by an interdisciplinary committee of faculty affiliated with the UK Jewish Studies program. In addition to the cash award, the author of the winning essay will be invited to deliver a public lecture at the University of Kentucky in spring 2014.
Submissions for the 2014 Luckens Prize competition should be submitted electronically as Word or PDF documents to Professor Janice W. Fernheimer, Director, UK Jewish Studies program, Associate Professor, Division of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies, Department of English, email@example.com and cc’ed to Diane Robertson, firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions must be received by midnight Oct. 15, 2013 to be considered.
Inquiries concerning the 2014 Luckens Prize competition should be directed to Professor Janice W. Fernheimer, Director of the UK Jewish Studies program, email@example.com.
Short of a J-Street conference or a Limmud event, you’d be hard-pressed to find an annual gathering that attracts as many Jewschool writers as the National Havurah’s Summer Institute. This, my friends, should be reason enough to register right this moment.
But a little context always helps, so here is some more description to further entice you:
Now in its 35th year of empowering local do-it-yourself, community-based Judaism, the National
Havurah Committee is gearing up for what promises to be an incredible Summer Institute. With
over two dozen courses, a social justice fellow, two extraordinary artists-in-residents, and
dozens of local havurah communities represented, the National Havurah Summer Institute guarantees you an unparalleled experience which is equal parts spiritually, intellectually, and culturally fulfilling.
Whether you enjoy midnight walks in the woods, guided meditations, heated (but respectful!)
theological debates, hands-on crafts, in-depth chevruta text study, late-night sing-alongs and
spontaneous jam sessions, alternative prayer experiences, early-morning hikes, community
discussions about social justice, or just meeting some of the most thoughtful and creative
individuals you will ever meet–all against the idyllic backdrop of breathtaking rolling green mountains and a sparkling lake in Southern New Hampshire–the National Havurah Committee’s Summer Institute promises to deliver an experience that will both uplift and inspire.
As if this alone were not exciting enough—there’s more!
If you are a college student, we invite you to participate in our special college program, where
you will work together with your peers, guided by two talented facilitators, to cultivate new
leadership skills. The College Leadership Program is specially designed to empower current college students to build and sustain Jewish communities on their campuses.
For recent college graduates between the ages of 22 and 32, the National Havurah Summer Institute offers the NHC Fellows Program (formerly, the Everett Program). This program offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to connect with fellow young Jewish leaders in order to share and build your skills together. All NHC fellows will receive free tuition and room-and-board and will participate in additional programming geared particularly to the specific interests and needs of participants in this group.
As a former participant in the Fellows Program, I can personally attest to the extraordinary impact that it has had on my life. In addition to introducing me to a cohort of wonderful new friends, the then-Everett Program helped me think critically and creatively about building vibrant, relevant local Jewish community and inspired me to return home (then Minneapolis) to start a new Havurah. Incidentally, one of this year’s institute’s planners met her now-fiancée when she was an Everett Fellow. So apply now, and who knows where this simple act may lead you??
The deadline for the NHC fellows is May 1, so if any of the above speaks to you, apply right away! General registration can be found here.
This summer, the Jewish Theological Seminary’s List College is introducing an exciting new pre-college summer program focusing on service learning. Inspired by the success of its undergraduate program in social and entrepreneurial initiatives, List College wants to extend its resources to a wider audience of rising junior and senior high school students from across the country looking for a hands-on combination of Jewish traditional text study and internships in social change agencies in New York City.
Participants will have the opportunity to choose from a wide array of internship sites, including government NGOs, sustainability and environmental non-profits, interfaith groups, and education and youth organisations. Before beginning the internships, which will include direct mentorship, students will participate in an orientation, in which they will be trained to work as service professionals in social change agencies. Throughout the program, participants will reconvene together regularly to engage in facilitated Jewish text study, focusing on the theological and historical underpinnings of social action. Additionally, participants will enjoy a guest lecture series and a college prep workshop series offered by Barnard College.
According to Aliyah Vinikoor, assistant Dean of List College and director of their Fellowship for Jewish Social Entrepreneurship, JustCity hopes to empower pre-college students to engage in direct service while also building Jewish community across denominational lines. The program also aspires to reach out to other faith-based groups to help build a multi-faith social change network.
The program dates this summer are from June 30-July 28; participants have the option of living on JTS’ campus. Partial need-based scholarships available. Registration is currently open and applications are due May 1. You can learn more about Just City here. You can also email JustCity at firstname.lastname@example.org
I wanted to apply as a coder but I’m not good enough.
So with a sad, sad heart, I’m passing this along to everyone else.
What is Studio G-dcast?
Studio G-dcast is the opportunity to spend six days working at The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco to adapt some of the funniest, wildest, and most fascinating stories in the Jewish tradition as animated shorts or interactive multimedia experiences.
Residents will work either in animator/storyteller pairs to create their own three minute films, or in hacker/illustrator pairs to create interactive applications. The week is filled with storytelling, animation and coding master classes, studio recording sessions, and expert panels. It’s a turbo-powered growth spurt in filmmaking, app design and Jewish learning. On the last night of the residency, artists will share their works in progress at a public screening at The Contemporary Jewish Museum.
By the way— did we mention the residency’s FREE?
Who Can Apply?
We’re looking for emerging Jewish animators, coders and storytellers currently enrolled as college or graduate students. Storytellers—if you’re a singer/songwriter, novelist, slam poet, playwright, screenwriter, one-person show, or three-ring circus, we’re excited to meet you! Coders-We’re looking for crackerjack hackers who love a pretty algorithm and clean code as much as the next nerd, but still know how to get a job done under pressure. Animators—we’re looking for artists who work in any style (hand-drawn, digital 2D, stop motion, claymation), as long as you can bring your gear with you to San Francisco and can work quickly!
This year, we’re also looking for one coder and one illustrator to pair who will create an original mobile app from their story.
*NOTE: You definitely DO NOT have to be an experienced with Jewish learning or ritual to apply. We’re looking for all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds. After all, if you already knew it all, what would be left to learn?
When, Where, and What Else?
This August 11th-16th 2013. That’s Sunday through Friday morning. We’ll be working onsite at The Contemporary Jewish Museum and staying at a nearby hotel. We feed you three kosher meals a day for the duration of the program, and offer a $350 travel stipend to get you to San Francisco from wherever you may be.
The National Havurah Committee is proud to co-sponsor the Academy for Jewish Religion’s upcoming conference, Pluralism2.0: Decision Making on Pluralism’s Boundaries. The event is being held Sunday, March 10th from 2-5:30 pm in New York City at Town and Village Synagogue. The conference is free and open to the public. Speakers include AJR’s dean, Dr. Ora Horn Prouser, Rabbi Brad Hirschfield of Clal, and UPenn Hillel’s Rabbi Mike Uram. More information on the conference can be found here. More information on the Academy for Jewish Religion can be found at www.ajrsem.org.
I know what you’re thinking – you want to refer to the 4 worlds in your Tu Bishvat seder but they’re confusing and…oh, if there were only a song that allowed you to sing through the four worlds (like we sing the order of the Passover seder) so folks could remember the order of the Tu Bishvat seder.
Tomorrow night is to be the first of many Jewish events unlike anything ever seen before.
The reason: it’s explicitly secular, and therefore explicitly Jewish.
Let me explain.
Tomorrow night is the premier event of Oholiav (oh-HO-lee-AV), a “meeting place” where the secular art and pop worlds come into contact with Jewish values, philosophies and narratives.
That’s abstract. Let me break it down.
Jewish culture and secular Western culture share some basic values: don’t murder people, stand up for what is right, be a good person.
When you look into some of those deeper details though, the wide range of Jewish views on gender roles, on human rights, on politics, on the importance of spirituality, are very likely to differ from that which we have to come to know in the secular world.
So, where are these points of tension, and where are those moments of harmony?
Oholiav examines secular culture through the pop culture—films, YouTube videos, singles, albums, TV shows, Broadway musicals, plays—and the world of art—literature, art galleries, dance. In pinpointing those moments when values are espoused in the secular world, or stories are told or beliefs are “preached” in the secular world, Oholiav compares these moments with their Jewish counterparts.
Does Dinner For Schmucks parallel the Jewish value of hospitality towards guests (hakhnasat orehim) or slam the door on the face of the ideal? Does Francisco Goya’s “The Disasters of War” series serve as a reprimand of oppression, unconsciously echoing Jewish discomfort with militarism? Do these elements perhaps meet somewhere in the middle? Perhaps the twain shall never meet? (Not to mention, the Jewish people rarely hold similarly with only one point of view on anything.)
At 7 PM, in celebration of the art openings, we’ll gather together on the 5th floor of the Kraft Center for special performances by OMG Poetry, Ezra Benus, Lori Leifer and ChEckiT!Dance; followed at 8 PM by a Q&A Talkback with questions from the audience, in conversation with Ellen Alt and with ChEckiT!Dance about both artistic and Jewish elements of their biographies and bodies of work.
Introducing: The first-ever Orthodox LGBT Vacation Retreat in the Midwest
July 5th through 8th, 2012 at Ronora Lodge and Retreat Center, Watervliet, Michigan
Whether you are Orthodox, Traditional or just want to spend a relaxing Shabbat with others, this retreat is for you.
Retreat will include inspiring learning, spirited davening (prayer), delicious locally grown kosher food, and an Eshel Speaker and Leadership training. Retreat will take place in a beautiful, natural setting with lots of time in between for relaxation, beauty and summer fun, including trip to Warren Dunes. Stay tuned for more details! Have questions about the summer retreat? Email email@example.com
*Eshel builds understanding and support for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people in traditional Jewish communities. www.eshelonline.org
The Jewish educator’s love-in and conference, resurrected and reinvigorated, now known as NewCAJE holds its 3rd annual conferences this year August 5-8th at Montclair State University in New Jersey, two commuter train stops from Manhattan. I attended the inaugural “newCAJE” a couple years back in Boston and had a wonderful experience.
NewCAJE3will bring together Jewish educators from North America and Israel to learn and share the new and innovative ideas in Jewish education, network with each other and celebrate the field of Jewish education.
Your residential registration includes access to the hundreds of workshops led by our colleagues and experts in the field, the inspiring evening programs, 3 nights in a brand new residence hall and meals provided by Foremost Kosher Caterers.
Note that there is once again a special Young Professional Cohort track for those who are youthful and available… for Post-Conference activities… get your mind out of the guttter! Limited slots are available for commuters (for those who call New York or New Jersey home). Visit www.newcaje.org for more information on how to register for the entire conference or for day passes to the pre and post conference intensive sessions. Early registration (by May 18) saves you up to $110 on fees!
If you’re planning to go, leave a note in the comments as we’ll try to plan a meetup.
Attend the NHC Summer Institute as an Everett Fellow! Application Deadline – May 2nd
Imagine late-night singing and philosophical discussions under the stars; engrossing Jewish learning; opportunities to participate in a variety of services, arts experiences, Shabbat celebrations, and outdoor activities; meeting a group of dynamic, thoughtful, energetic Jewish young adults as well as community members of all ages at a weeklong institute. Sounds fantastic, right?
The NHC (National Havurah Committee) Summer Institute is now accepting applications for its Everett Fellows Program! Fellows participate in the full Summer Institute programming and in four workshops designed specifically for them. As a Fellow, you receive a scholarship for tuition, room, and board, and are expected to pay only for registration and dues ($120) for the full week (August 6-12).
To apply for an Everett Fellowship, you must be 22 through 32 years of age, interested in exploring Havurah Judaism, and willing to participate fully in the Summer Institute. Preference is given to first time Institute attendees. The application can be found here. — it’s just four questions. Please see our website for more information or call the NHC office at 215-248-1335. The application deadline is May 2.
It’s a called List of Cognitive Biases, and besides showing what a nerd I am, it basically maps out all the ways in which our brain, on a daily basis, screws up how we perceive the world. These aren’t vague ideas, or suggestions – for the most part, they’re laboratory-tested, easily repeatable things that all of our brains do wrong. Some of them are familiar: the Gambler’s Fallacy (“If I just got three heads in a row, the next flip MUST be tails!”); Hindsight Bias (“Oh, yeah, I KNEW she was going to do that.”); and, getting into sinister territory, the Just-World Hypothesis (“Wow, look at that prisoner. He must’ve done something AWFUL! Fuck him.”).
There are well over a hundred of these biases, just listed on the one Wikipedia page; and, as amazing as it is to go through that page and just “click!” “Oh, I do that!” “click!” “Oh my God, that too!” it’s still a tiny amount. We’re juuuuuust starting to understand ourselves. Philosophers posited the atom in India and Greece in the 6th and 5th centuries BCE, and the physical world has been studied for as long as we’ve been a species, if not longer. But the social survey didn’t exist until around the 1000′s; many people consider the 14th-century Arab Islamic scholar Ibn Khaldun as the first sociologist; and the term sociology wasn’t even defined until 1780, in an unpublished manuscript by French essayist Emmanuel-Joseph Saiyes.
Our very own Sigismund Schlomo Freud didn’t start hypothesizing about what makes individual human beings tick until the late 1800s, and the first social psychology experiment, fusing the social with the psychological, wasn’t published until 1898, when Nathan Triplett wrote down his findings of Social Facilitation, the idea that people do better on simple tasks with other people around. The machine gun, the telephone, the automobile and aspirin are all older than the scientific field of social psychology. More »
I am something of a Jewish education crumudgeon. In many years in the trenches working with teens, I saw lots of failed attempts by well-meaning innovators to marry Torah content with 21st-century technology. But while Second Life classrooms have turned to ghost towns and the web is littered with class-project blogs that stopped after one post, G-dcast is going strong.
Perhaps the real strength of G-dcast is that it doesn’t try too hard, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. G-dcast works because the concept is simple: invite creative people to narrate a bit of Torah (or a bit about a Jewish holiday), illustrate their narration with animation, and release them for free on YouTube. (Once they got established, G-dcast added some smart extras like a DVD version and complementary curriculum for use in classrooms.) But really, the magic formula of short, entertaining, and free should be studied (like Torah!) by anyone else hoping to break into this field.
And speaking of breaking into the field, that’s where G-dcast’s latest innovation gets me all tight in the pants. They’ve announced plans for Studio G-dcast, a six-day intensive workshop this summer for emerging writers, poets, singer/songwriters and animators who are currently in college or graduate school. This has the potential to be the artistic beit midrash of the future today, where people who tell stories through words (& music) pair in chevruta with those who tell stories through pictures and motion to uncover meaning in our sacred texts. See why I’m getting all tight in the pants?
Application deadline is Friday, March 9, so get crackin’.
Here’s another great job opportunity in the Washington DC area! Jews United For Justice (JUFJ), DC’s local Jewish social justice organization, is hiring a Community Organizer (and yes, the position has actual responsibilities). JUFJ mobilizes the DC-area Jewish community to stand with our allies in other communities to work for social change that makes the region better for everyone. (You read about JUFJ in these pages a few months ago, when it ran a successful campaign to make the DC income tax more progressive, led by upper income earners saying “Please tax me!”)
The new full-time community organizer’s first project will be to lead a social justice campaign in Montgomery County, Maryland, along with a team of volunteer leaders. The full job description is after the jump. More »
In past posts, I’ve briefly mentioned the efforts of several families and organizations in my community to create a program for elementary school students that uses the regular afterschool hours for formal and informal Jewish education. We’ve been making good progress and I hope to post a bit more about our effort and the growing national movement of Jewish afterschool education programs. For now I want to share a bit about our effort and announce our director search.
We chose “MoEd” both because of our focus on regular formal and informal learning times and because we are creating a program that will give more Jewish education to many children in our community. For parents, MoEd will mean a combination of afterschool and vacation care with Hebrew language and Jewish education. For children in grades K-5, MoEd will mean a great place to play and learn all afternoon with a community of their peers. We have a primary location in Chevy Chase, MD and we’ve raised enough funds through a local Federation grant and many generous donations from members of our community to work towards a Fall 2012 opening and start our director search. (Fundraising continues and we’d be glad to hear from potential donors at firstname.lastname@example.org ) You can read a bit more about the program on the website and we hope to continue adding information there.
If you are interested in being our executive director or know someone who might be interested, here are the program and job details:
Children may enroll for 2, 3, 4, or 5 days per week, as well as on days when public schools are closed or close early. The program will run from the end of the school day until 6:30PM (except on winter Fridays). Transportation will be offered from several Montgomery County Public Schools.
We are seeking a candidate who has:
The vision and desire to create a welcoming and enjoyable Jewish learning environment that will engage children in the playful and intensive study of Hebrew language and Judaics
A minimum of 3 years as a lead administrator in an educational program, such as a school or camp
3 years minimum experience directly managing faculty
3 years minimum experience in developing or administering Jewish learning in formal or informal educational settings
Strong verbal and written communications skills
Primary responsibilities will include:
To oversee, creatively develop, and execute our curriculum and programs
To pro-actively manage logistics so that parents know their children are always in a safe environment
To recruit and supervise teaching staff
To work closely with teachers, students, parents, the MoEd board, the staffs of our collaborating synagogues, and the larger community in the Washington metro area
To help manage the financial aspects of MoEd.
To coordinate and encourage volunteer efforts
To support Board fundraising efforts
Qualifications: The ideal candidate is an experienced academic administrator and teacher, with Hebrew language proficiency and Judaic knowledge. (S)he is excited about the prospect of developing this new program and has the vision and skills to do so. Experience as an administrator (e.g., camp, youth groups, elementary or religious/Hebrew schools) is required. Demonstrable experience with child development, multimodal learning styles, unstructured learning environments, and early language acquisition preferred. Familiarity with the Washington DC Metro-area Jewish community is preferred.
Competitive salary commensurate with experience. Position will be part-time from March 2012 through May 2012, becoming full-time in June 2012. We encourage all qualified and interested educational leaders to apply.
Please send any questions or a cover letter and resume to email@example.com. Applications received before January 8, 2012 will receive full consideration.