Neil Lazarus
An internationally acclaimed expert in the fields of Middle East politics, public diplomacy and effective communication training.
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Jewish education comes of age

With several new programs for overseas students, Hebrew University has become a center for training teachers of Jewish curricula
A smart classroom at a school in southern Israel (Photo credit: Courtesy)
A smart classroom at a school in southern Israel (Photo credit: Courtesy)

If you’re an educator, you know that as rewarding as the job can be, teaching is one of the most demanding occupations out there.  Learning while teaching is even harder, particularly since most master’s degree programs make few accommodations for those trying to balance teaching and their own higher education.  For most, the only viable options are either taking a sabbatical from work if possible or spreading the degree out over a number of years.

If this wasn’t difficult enough, for the teacher specializing in Jewish education there is yet another impediment blocking her or his way to an M.A.  Jewish education programs are few and far between, requiring teachers to either relocate or make due with a generic education degree and some informal study of Jewish material.  And with the increasingly diverse needs of Jewish educational institutions spread out across North America and Europe, the need for local alternatives has become acute.

Learning in Jerusalem without leaving home

In light of the growing demand for advanced Jewish Ed. Degree programs overseas, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem has opened up a unique distance learning option.  The Hebrew University’s Melton Centre of Jewish Education has long served as the global focal point of Jewish education studies.  Now, the Melton Centre is offering an international Master’s degree track, taught entirely in English, for overseas students – even while they remain overseas. The new Hebrew University program gives teachers and aspiring educators unprecedented flexibility, enabling them to incorporate their studies into their schedules without compromising on existing commitments or relocating.  The degree track is completed in a single year, allowing participants to advance their careers without spending years to earn a degree.  And in the middle of the academic year, an on-campus 6-week summer semester in Jerusalem offers the grounding of in-person studies without disrupting teaching schedules back home and gives degree candidates the opportunity to experience Jewish education right at its source in the historical Jewish capital.

The very best in Jewish Education

The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel’s most prestigious university and ranked as one of the top 100 academic institutions worldwide, is home to the world’s most esteemed Jewish studies department.  In keeping with the Hebrew University’s rigorous standards and emphasis on a diverse education, the Melton Centre international M.A. program provides a comprehensive approach to Jewish Education.  Israel, Judaism, and Jewish identity are firmly rooted in both the past and present, and engaging Jewish learning in all of its dimensions has always been the goal of the Melton Centre.

Along with the study of more general subjects like Social Sciences and Jewish Education, Formal and Informal Education, and Leadership in Education, the Melton Jewish Education Program also gives students a strong background in areas including contemporary Jewry, teaching traditional Jewish texts, Jewish philosophy, and Israel education.

Distance learning with the personal touch

Online learning has become a common feature of many major universities.  The new Melton Centre program, however, seeks the best of both worlds, amalgamating the personal attention and face-to-face experience of traditional brick-and-mortar schools with the flexibility of distance learning.  Personal guidance is provided to every participant throughout the online portion of the program.  Online classwork is geared to foster group cooperation and peer interaction, culminating in the on-campus summer semester in Jerusalem.

This new degree track is only the latest Melton Centre initiative designed for overseas students.  The program channels 35 years of experience in bringing the very best of Jewish education from Jerusalem to the Diaspora.  The new M.A. program, combining online learning with a summer semester in Jerusalem, is the latest innovation in global Jewish education and the culmination of the Melton Centre’s decades of Diaspora engagement.

About the Author
Neil Lazarus is an internationally acclaimed expert in the field of Middle East Politics, Israel Public Diplomacy and Effective Communication Training. He is the the director of He is emerging as one of Israel's leading key note speakers. He regularly podcasts.
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