Last year, we announced the expansion of the Jewish Parent Academy from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Now, we are announcing a wider expansion, across North America!
For those unfamiliar with JPA, the program was launched in 2015 by a group of Russian-speaking leaders in South Brooklyn. They saw the need for greater communal involvement among their peers in the community, and the path forward was through education. JPA uses the cohort model where 25 Russian-speaking parents, together go through a half-year program where they learn about topics such as the history of Jews in the Soviet Union, Israel, anti-Semitism, and the future of Jews in the West. Each class is taught by an expert in the field. Past presenters include David Harris from the AJC, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, as well as professor and author Gil Troy. The goal of the program is to give Russian-speaking Jews the tools and desire to do “more Jewish.” What that means each participant decides for themselves.
In 2019, JPA was approached by a group of Russian Jewish leaders from Manhattan who wanted to establish their own JPA cohort modeled on the success of the Brooklyn initiative. This is why in 2020 JPA ran two parallel cohorts, one in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn. As before, the program started with bi-weekly in-person meetings. However, in March as COVID-19 forced the shutdown of all physical gatherings, the cohorts’ learning space was moved online.
At the same time, Russian Jewish community leaders from places such as Florida, California, and Canada have reached out to us to express interest in having members of their communities join JPA cohorts. So, as the expression goes, JPA leadership decided to make lemonade out of lemons and use the opportunity to launch an international cohort!
JPA envisions that due to the ongoing pandemic, the 2021 cohort will be all virtual and participation will be open to Russian-speaking Jewish communities across North America where JPA is partnering with local organizations to reach candidates. The Virtual Open House for JPA’s 2021 semester will happen online on December 1st at 8:00pm EST. Our guest speaker will be Tal Keinan, author of God Is In The Crowd. Everyone interested can RSVP for free at the following link: jpacademy.org/jpa2021