Jewish Studies In-Service Teacher Training Program

Program Description

PCJE’s Jewish Studies In-Service Teacher Training Program (JSITT) is designed to help complement a novice day school teacher’s classroom experience with systematic and forward-thinking pedagogy training. There are many teachers in North America, those who are already teaching Jewish studies in a day school and those who would like to be, who have a passion for Jewish texts and an ability to engage with students meaningfully, but have not had the opportunity to formally study the content-specific pedagogies which are essential for maximizing student learning. As such, the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators has designed a program to enable them to do just that, all while teaching in the classroom!

JSITT is a 13-month teacher training program designed for both Jewish studies teachers already in the classroom and those about to begin teaching, who have never had the opportunity for formal pedagogy training.

This program provides participants:

  • a more systematic approach to curriculum development and lesson planning
  • greater alignment between learning goals and teaching practices
  • a wider variety of tools and strategies for maximizing student engagement
  • Jewish studies content-specific pedagogy
  • opportunities to self-reflect on their practice

JSITT has several integrated programmatic components, including:

  • July pedagogy intensive online or in Jerusalem
  • Study of a pedagogy syllabus designed especially for in-service Jewish studies teachers via twice monthly webinars
  • Once or twice a month 1-on-1 video mentoring to reflect on the participants’ personal teaching practice and to get feedback and/or support
  • Either in-person or virtual observations of participant’s teaching in order to assist with hands on implementation of new pedagogy practices
  • Continued 1-on-1 mentoring at the start of summer 2024
  • Participants earn a Certificate of Pedagogy in Jewish Studies from PCJE

Participants can choose either an entirely virtual experience or can opt to come to Pardes this July and pair their pedagogy webinars with in-person learning with the Pardes Summer Program and in-person mentoring.

JSITT is designed both for Jewish studies teachers already working at a day school and for those who plan to begin teaching at the start of the upcoming school year. Participants should already have subject knowledge background but little-to-no formal pedagogy training.

The program begins with flexible 1-on-1 mentoring in the middle of June 2023 and runs through the middle of July 2024.

Summer 2023:

  • 12 Pedagogy webinars running over four weeks in July beginning July 3, 2023.
  • Each synchronous webinar runs for two hours, 12:15 – 2:15 PM Eastern
  • Up to ten 1-on-1 virtual mentoring sessions are scheduled at your convenience

Academic Year 2023-24:

  • Nineteen 80-minute webinars running roughly every other Sunday, 12:00-1:15 PM Eastern.
  • Flexible 1-on-1 mentoring scheduled once or twice a month at your convenience
  • Two in-person school visits (for two days each) during the school year

Summer 2024:

  • Flexible 1-on-1 mentoring running mid June – mid July

Online, with the option of participating in the summer pedagogy intensive in person at Pardes in Jerusalem in July 2023.

The price of the program will vary per participant, based on their eligibility for a TalentEd grant and/or the components of the program selected. Program cost will be discussed on an individual basis.

The Pardes JSITT program 2020 has opened up my eyes to be a better teacher. The tools that JSITT has provided to me will prove invaluable in this upcoming year of teaching as well as beyond. I hope that I can provide my students with tools that are just as effective as these in becoming part of our Jewish peoplehood. – Rachel Blumenthal, Westchester Day School

“Good teachers encourage minds to think, hands to create, and hearts to love.” This quote is for the JSITT team – you encourage my mind to think about the meaning of my work and my role in the classroom, you inspire me to create a better version of the way I teach, and you reignite my love for Judaic studies and teaching in a Jewish school. -Vanessa Cameron, Lauder Ort Jewish Elementary School

I believe my participation in JSITT program will transform the way I conduct my classroom because it encourages me to think more creatively and reflectively about my teaching practices. – Amir Zinkow, The Leffell School

I cannot emphasize enough how much I learned and grew as an educator. Like – wow… not only was I re-energized and reinvigorated in my role as both student and teacher engaged in rigorous text study, and “inaugurated” into a community and network of North American Jewish Day School educators, but for the first time I received invaluable formal pedagogy training through hours of pedagogy classes and one-on-one mentorship. In the ~15 hours of pedagogy classes, I learned so much and got so many resources related to everything from lesson planning to teaching modalities to classroom management. We also spent a good amount of time covering things specific to JS – for example, how to help kids work with Hebrew text and translation, and what hevrutah protocols to establish. I am walking away with an ability to manage my classroom and plan and conduct thoughtful lessons in ways that I could not have dreamed of before this summer. I now know how to set my classroom and students up for success, how to create systems and routines in the class that facilitate learning, and how to plan and map curriculum so that everything I do in class is purposeful and meets a goal.

I got 10+ hours of one on one mentorship from an amazing and experienced educator. Instead of objectively learning about pedagogy, I got to completely revamp my 6th grade curriculum using a curriculum map and UBD lesson plans, converted other units into the curriculum map template, and developed a Hevrutah unit and system with a protocol and rubric… I am so excited to continue reimagining and systematically converting my unit and lesson plans into the UBD framework, which will allow me to make more focused, purposeful, and organized lesson plans as well as units. – Adi Alouf, Rodeph Shalom School

For those of us who supervise new, first-year, and early career teachers, we know how hard it is to help them feel like they’re even treading water. They are getting their bearings, learning a new workplace culture, getting to know students, and trying to fulfill the myriad new responsibilities that have been placed on them. We do our best to support them, but no matter how giving we are, we always feel like there’s more knowledge we could be imparting about lesson planning, designing assessments, and pedagogy. We encourage them to take baby steps. The beauty of Pardes’ JSITT Program is that new faculty can receive this additional training from a warm, invested mentor-coach who isn’t their supervisor. The program allows them to incubate ideas, practice lesson planning outside of the intense new school environment, and receive guidance that is practical, sound, and enhances their practice. The Pardes faculty also partnered with me and other administrators to ensure the work was complementing the mission and goals of our program and school and that we weren’t confusing our staff with a different way of doing things. Our faculty-participant emerged from the program with more tools in her toolkit, and she was energized and not just taking baby steps – she was ready to fly.
-Zach Mann, Rodeph Sholom School, NYC

JSITT helped our [participating faculty member think about the kind of classroom he wanted to build, and the steps necessary to create that environment, along with language to use such as learning community and expectations. It helped him think about the way he creates and communicates what he expects of students, and how to ask them what they expect from him. All of this reflection and planning has given him increased confidence in the classroom. His thinking about curriculum has also developed from participating in the program. This ranges from daily lesson plans to year-long curricula to scope and sequence for multiple years. This kind of thinking gets him excited about teaching, and helps him to communicate with students about what they are doing now, where they are going, and why. -Amy Holtzer, The Leffell School, Westchester, NY

Thank you for the way you work with [the participant in JSITT program], because it is reflected in her overall presence at school. I can say this for sure, because I have known her for a long time – I was her teacher and class teacher from 8th to 12th grade and now I am her colleague. The topics you cover are interesting and important for school life, as well as for her future teaching. -Kalina Mihova, Head of School, Sofia, Bulgaria

JSITT is an essential program for first-year teachers. The guidance, support, and instruction that has been provided for my staff member has been incredibly helpful and valuable, which in turn has been a support for me as well! Thank you for helping to develop the creativity, confidence and competence of educators! -Baruch Rock, Director of Jewish Learning, Irvine Hebrew Day School, California

Email Avi Spodek at

Click here to complete an initial application, which will be followed up with a request for references and a scheduled interview.