A few weeks ago, Yeshiva University Center for the Jewish Future began its third year inspiring day school parents through the Kohelet Fellowships. As of this year, 28 day schools, 12 Preschools and over 1100 day school and preschool parents have participated in the Kohelet Fellowships program. Participating communities have included Boca Raton, Philadelphia, Manhattan, Long Island, Memphis and Atlanta. This year the program is launching in two new communities, Denver and Kansas City.
The Kohelet Fellowships Program is a 2-year Jewish learning experience for parents of Jewish day school students. Fellows study Jewish texts, either in classes or one-on-one, participate in community learning events, and explore the provided lessons with their families. Fellows receive tuition breaks from their Jewish day schools, funded by the Kohelet Foundation and its partners as a grant to each school. The Kohelet Fellowships are run as a partnership between The Kohelet Foundation, The Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, and Yeshiva University Center for the Jewish Future.
Fellows enrolled in the CJF chavruta learning track are partnered with a chavruta, or learning partner. Each week, via email, fellows receive the curriculum for the following week and they set up their own time to learn, either in person, by phone, or over video chat. The curriculum is structured as four 10-week semesters, with each session lasting approximately one hour.
This year, about 200 people are learning every week through Yeshiva University. Kohelet Fellows study materials on various relevant and engaging topics. The current semester is entitled “Jewish Questions That You Always Meant to Ask,” and discusses important Jewish philosophical issues such as the purpose of prayer.
This year’s learning began with orientation events for new fellows in Denver, Colorado, Kansas City Missouri, and New York, New York. New participants from diverse backgrounds and affiliated with a variety of Jewish schools attended the orientation events where they sat and learned Torah together. The evenings began with a video message from David Magerman, President of the Kohelet Foundation, explaining his motivation for becoming so strongly involved in Jewish education. It continued with a trigger film about a victim of hurricane Katrina who stole his neighbor’s boat and saved the lives of many people stranded in the floodwaters. After the storm, the boat was missing and its owner sued the “hero” who had taken it. For forty five minutes afterwards, people debated the responsibility of saving a life and the extent of liability for damage caused in the process, while analyzing Jewish texts addressing the issue. It was truly inspiring to see all types of Jews united around our shared texts.
We hope that the energy of these orientation events will carry the Kohelet Fellows through another amazing year of learning.
More information can be found at www.Koheletfellowships.com.