Pardes Center for Jewish Educators Launches Innovative GS2JS Program to Empower General Studies Teachers in Jewish Day Schools

Pardes Center for Jewish Educators Launches Innovative GS2JS Program to Empower General Studies Teachers in Jewish Day Schools

Jerusalem, May 30, 2024 – The Pardes Center for Jewish Educators (PCJE) is proud to announce the launch of its groundbreaking General Studies to Jewish Studies (GS2JS) program. This innovative initiative aims to bridge the gap in Judaic education by equipping existing general studies teachers at Jewish day schools with the knowledge and skills needed to teach Jewish studies classes.

Recognizing the potential within their current faculty, many Jewish day schools have identified excellent general studies teachers who are deeply committed to their school’s mission and values. These educators often lack the specific content knowledge required to teach Jewish studies. The GS2JS program is designed to provide these teachers with intensive training in Jewish content and pedagogy, enabling them to make a smooth transition to teaching Jewish studies.

Over approximately 18 months, the GS2JS program offers one-on-one virtual mentoring, participation in the Pardes Summer Program, and independent literacy readings tailored to fill individual knowledge gaps. Participants will receive tutorials in content-specific pedagogy to develop skills such as fostering multiple interpretations of texts and using bibliodrama. The summer immersion includes intensive text study, educational trips around Jerusalem, and in-person mentoring. Continued virtual mentoring supports curriculum development, lesson planning, and assessment design.

The program is designed to accommodate the diverse needs of participants and their schools. Learning begins in the winter before the educator starts teaching Jewish studies and continues through the summer after their first year of transition. This flexible approach allows for varying levels of initial commitment to Jewish studies teaching, ranging from a full load to just one or two classes.

Success in the GS2JS program hinges on strong three-way communication between the mentor, the participating teacher, and the school administration. This collaboration ensures that the goals and content priorities are aligned with the school’s vision for its Jewish studies program.

The GS2JS program builds on PCJE’s successful Mentor Matching program, which has already helped several educators transition from general studies to Jewish studies. By integrating tailored content study, text skills, and pedagogical techniques, the GS2JS program channels expertise to meet the unique needs of general studies teachers.

PCJE has actively sought feedback from day school administrators to refine the program. Responses have highlighted both enthusiasm and important considerations, such as the suitability of participants and the need for financial compensation to recognize the teachers’ time and effort.

PCJE is committed to continually improving the GS2JS program based on feedback and ongoing research. Future considerations include setting minimum Jewish text skill levels, ensuring achievable goals, preventing teacher burnout, and identifying ongoing learning opportunities for program alumni.

Since its inception, PCJE has trained over 300 Jewish educators, with 78% currently working in the field and 38 graduates in leadership roles. The programs have had a lasting impact on more than 200 educational institutions worldwide, fostering a vibrant and knowledgeable Jewish future.

For more information about the GS2JS program or to participate in this exciting initiative, please contact Reuven Margrett at .

About Pardes Center for Jewish Educators:

The Pardes Center for Jewish Educators (PCJE) is a division of Pardes dedicated to creating, mentoring, and supporting Jewish educators. Through innovative programs and a commitment to excellence, PCJE aims to enhance Jewish learning and teaching worldwide.