Pardes Center for Jewish Educators (PCJE)

Program Description

The Pardes Center for Jewish Educators trains and empowers Jewish Studies teachers and experiential Jewish educators and leaders to serve as knowledgeable, skilled, reflective and passionate professionals.

The Pardes Center for Jewish Educators offers the Pardes Day School Educators Program (degree or certificate options) and the Pardes Experiential Educators Program (degree or certificate options) in Jerusalem for current and aspiring Jewish educators, integrating Jewish text study, teacher training, Israel education and personal and professional development within the open, inclusive learning community of Pardes.

The Pardes Center for Jewish Educators also offers in-service support, professional development opportunities and curricular programming in North America.

Graduates of the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators teach and inspire youth and young adults in Jewish day schools, Hillels, synagogues, camps, environmental education venues and experiential settings in communities across North America.

Click here to view our brochure.

Click here to find out more about the amazing life stories of some of our PCJE alumni. Where did they come from? Where are they now? And where are they going?

New for 2016! Pardes Experiential Educators Program – Two-Year Master of Arts in Jewish Education (in Collaboration with the Davidson School of Education at JTS).


PCJE has amassed and created an extensive and useful collection of content and resources for Jewish educators. Click here to search the PCJE Elmad channel. elmad redesign updated

PCJE is pleased to offer a wide array of professional development conferences and retreats to foster the professional growth of Day School teachers and administrators at various stages of their career. While our alumni benefit from heavily subsidized participation in these programs, due to a generous grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation, most are open to non-alumni. Please click below for more information about these offerings.

As part of our commitment to our alumni, we invest in your continued professional growth after you graduate. In addition to organizing and running retreats and conferences throughout the year (see above for more information about these), we can provide you with one-on-one support, visits to your school, continued havruta study, funding to attend non-PCJE professional development programs. and more. Due to the generous grant given to the Alumni Support Project, we are able to offer most of these services at little or no cost to either you or your school.

School visits and mentoring
PCJE is committed to supporting their alumni during the first years of teaching, which can be crucial to a teacher’s continued growth and success in the field. During an alumni’s early years, PCJE staff are available for a variety of support services, which include: school visits with one-on-one observations and meetings, continued havruta study, mentor matching, career consultation, troubleshooting and more.

Funding for non-PCJE-organized conferences, retreats and professional development
PCJE recognizes that there are numerous ways that a Jewish educator could grow professionally and that there are many such valuable opportunities offered by a variety of organizations and institutions out in the field of Jewish education. Therefore, we have funding available to contribute towards alumni participation in non-PCJE-organized professional development opportunities. For more information about taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity, be in touch with Aviva at avivag@pardes.org.il.

Online communication and resources
PCJE offers a variety of ways for alumni to stay connected and continue their professional growth online.

  • The alumni newsletter, PCJE Bites, is the primary method of communication between PCJE and its alumni. Through the newsletter, written both by PCJE staff and alumni contributors, we share valuable resources, personal updates on the lives of alumni, information about professional development opportunities and more.
  • The alumni listserv is a closed safe space where alumni can ask professional questions, share resources, get insights into other schools/communities and more.
  • PCJE has amassed and created an extensive and useful collection of content and resources for Jewish educators. Click here to search the PCJE Elmad channel.

As part of our commitment to the growth and improvement of the field of Jewish education in North America, PCJE is pleased to offer an array of professional development opportunities for Day Schools and Jewish Studies educators. In addition to the variety of conferences and retreats mentioned above, PCJE has also co-developed the Rodef Shalom School Program and provides in-school professional development training sessions on a variety of topics, for both faculty and administrators.

In-school professional development
Through PCJE’s years of experience training Judaic Studies teachers, our extensive observations in day schools across North America and offering diverse professional development opportunities to our ever-expanding network of alumni, we have amassed an extensive collection of techniques, strategies and workshops to improve the practice of Judaic Studies teachers in the classroom. We are proud to now offer this expertise to the wider field of Jewish educators. These in-school workshops and professional development opportunities can range from a one 60-minute session to a multi-day training. Here is a listing of some of the topics we offer:

  • Havruta pedagogy – Teachers will learn to improve their use of this traditional and effective method for text study, while promoting 21st-century learning skills such as communication, collaboration and creativity. More than simply having students read a text in pairs, we can help ensure that havruta time is used for differentiation, critical thinking, developing students’ self-awareness as learners and promoting a love of learning.
  • Tefillah: Setting goals and assessing success – An opportunity for school administrators and tefillah coordinators to reassess and clarify their goals for tefillah education in the school. Participants will consider whether these goals and expectations have been effectively communicated to faculty and staff and how the school can measure its successes and weaknesses in tefillah education.
  • Effectively integrating text skills and meaning-making – Text teachers will learn how to ensure that the sometimes tedious-seeming work of acquiring the necessary skills to become an independent reader of Jewish texts always leads to the students’ personal meaning-making. Teachers will help students recognize that their questions of and connections to Jewish texts ultimately derive from the students’ ability to closely read the text.
  • Promoting meta-cognitive learners – Through the use of strategically chosen thinking routines, teachers will learn how to help students become more self-aware of their own processes when they are expected to ‘think critically’ or ‘be creative’. Students who can break down and identify the mental steps they take when they are reading a new text, answering a question or trying to organize their ideas, become more independent and confident thinkers.
  • Understanding by Design: A refresher – Teachers will be reminded of the importance of setting and articulating their education goals for every unit and lesson they teach and to use these goals to guide their preparation. This session will provide an opportunity to apply the methodologies and techniques of UbD to the specific content areas of Judaic Studies teachers.
  • A taste of Rodef Shalom – Partnered with the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution, PCJE has developed the Rodef Shalom middle school program which, through a Jewish lens, helps students think more deeply about conflict resolution and develop the skills to address conflicts. Teachers can get a taste of the techniques and texts used in this program and learn how to bring them into their classroom.

Rodef Shalom School Program
Click here to learn more about the Rodef Shalom School Program and what it could bring to your school.

PCJE has partnered with the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution, which seeks to strengthen the Jewish culture of healthy and constructive conflict (machloket l’shem shemayim) and the pursuit of peace (redifat shalom) through the integration of Jewish texts and values along with contemporary conflict resolution theories and practices. Our partnership has helped develop an array of educational programs and content for both Day School and experiential education settings.

“The Pardes Educators Program is really a once in a lifetime opportunity for someone like me. I know that I am in the right place when I read a text and right away lesson plans start filling my head about exciting ways to teach it to my future students. I am always surrounded by teachers and colleagues who are ready and excited to share in my excitement and curiosity. The passion that I am cultivating here along with the solid skills will set me up for a lifetime of inspiring students to truly care about Judaism and personalize their relationships to our collective memory.”

– Laura Marder, Pardes Day School Educators Program ’12-‘14

“In order to teach Jewish text on a college campus, I need to acquire skills for studying Tanach, Philosophy, Hebrew and Halacha. I need to learn how to draw out concepts and insights from text and be able to skillfully illuminate to students the opportunities for richness that engagement with a Jewish life provides. Students should be able to feel connected to the community as a result of exploring their questions through the Jewish canon. College students are most likely to listen to an adult educator who is knowledgeable and passionate about the content of the Jewish canon, and the only way for me to acquire this knowledge is to fully immerse myself in Jewish texts for an extended period of time.”

– Leah Kahn, Pardes Experiential Educators Program ’11-’13

“For many years, I have felt there was always something greater. I knew I had a ton of potential but did not know how to harness that properly and direct it into something good. I now feel like I am walking down the path that I have been meant to walk down all my life. I owe Pardes a great deal of credit for that!”

– Joseph Shamash, Year ‘12, Pardes Experiential Educators Program ‘12-’13

“Amazing! I want to stay at Pardes forever. I am a more complete person now.”

– Andrea Wiese, Year ’12, Pardes Day School Educators Program ’12-’14

“I’m really loving havruta learning. I didn’t think that I would at first, and even tried to find crafty ways to work on my own. (That only lasted about 10 minutes; then teachers found me in the corner by myself.) This type of learning challenges me and forces me to think in a new way. I have a different havruta for each class, and I find that I enjoy working with each person for a different reason. Some are patient. Some keep me focused. Some inspire me to think differently. Some I like to argue with. These are all good things, and I’m grateful to have found partners who bring out the best in my learning.”

– Lauren Schuchart, Year ‘11-12, Pardes Experiential Educators Program ‘12-’13

Gail Kirschner
gail@pardes.org.il
+972 2 673 5210 ext244

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