PEP – One Year Certificate

PEP Certificate is a one-year program that gives aspiring day school Jewish studies teachers (who have either earned Bachelors of Education degrees or are graduates of MA programs in Teaching or Jewish Education) the opportunity to supplement their academic training with rich Jewish text study and Israel experience. PEP Certificate is located at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.

While the Pardes Day School Educators Program opened in 2000, the One-Year Certificate in Jewish Studies option was launched in 2011. Three Educators have graduated and are now serving as full-time Jewish studies teachers in day schools.

As Jewish educators, our graduates are called upon to teach, facilitate discussion and lead experiential activities about Israel in their day schools. As such, it is invaluable to live in Jerusalem for an extended, immersive period and to experience “real life” in Israel – its day-to-day routine; contact with Israelis; and the cycle of the Jewish/Israeli calendar, including religious holidays, national highlights and cultural events. Additionally, Educators participate in Pardes tiyulim, trips and retreats throughout the year, as well as community service in the greater Jerusalem area. Finally, seminars are provided for Educators offering background and skills to teach about Israel.

Educators study Bible, Mishna, Talmud and Jewish Thought in the vibrant Pardes Beit Midrash. The approach is a combination of lecture and havruta-style learning, encouraging in-depth exploration of texts in the original language. Students are placed in most classes according to level and are also encouraged to explore personal interests and fill in learning gaps.

The Beit Midrash is where we spend most of our time; it is where we study in an open, embracing and challenging environment. There, we come into direct contact with the text as we wrestle with its meaning for us personally and for our people and the world. Working with our havruta in the Beit Midrash, we sharpen our text skills, acquire content knowledge and deepen our understanding of ourselves as learners and as future educators.

Pardes teachers come from varied backgrounds and all have advanced degrees (Masters, Doctorate, or rabbinical degrees). They are very knowledgeable, approachable and highly dedicated to their students. Pardes teachers are committed to serious learning in an open environment and to responding to the diversity of their students.

Yes – they study Hebrew intensively during a summer (August) session prior to the start of the Pardes school year. Ulpan-Or provides small classes and a curriculum especially designed for the Pardes Educators. Students are encouraged to take advantage of living in Israel for deepening Hebrew skills and comfort.

The academic year begins on August 1 with ulpan; Pardes classes then run from September 1 – May 31. Vacations are offered for all Jewish and Israeli national holidays. Classes are conducted five days a week, Sunday through Thursday. All mornings and two afternoons are dedicated to Beit Midrash classes. Three afternoons are dedicated to educator learning opportunities and specialized seminars and programming, including an Israel Education seminar and Peer Teaching.

Educators earn a Certificate of Jewish Studies from the Pardes Institute.

Applicants must have a BA, an above-average GPA, experience with Jewish text study and Hebrew language, and either experience teaching or in experiential education OR an MA in Teaching or Jewish Education OR a BA in Education. Applicants are required to fill out a detailed application, write an essay about professional goals and direction, provide references, and have a personal interview. (Applicants do not have to be in Israel to apply and interview.)

Each Educator develops a Yozma (“Initiative”) Project that reflects a particular passion, vision, curiosity or concern that is relevant to his/her work as a Jewish educator. The Yozma Project integrates elements of the Educator’s Pardes beit midrash learning, Israel experiential learning, and/or Jewish spiritual/religious journey and applies them reflectively and creatively to a Jewish day school setting. Previous Yozma Projects have included a curriculum about Israeli music and a curriculum combining social-emotional education elements with the teaching of the Jewish holidays.

Pardes Center for Jewish Educators is comprised of the Pardes Day School Educators Program (both one-year and two-year students) and the Pardes Experiential Educators Program; participants of the two programs form a strong cohort of about 20 learners and colleagues each year. Beyond this, Pardes is a diverse Jewish community, welcoming men and women of different ages, backgrounds and affiliations to study together in the Pardes Beit Midrash. Many of the Beit Midrash classes integrate PEP Certificate participants and other Pardes students.

Pardes tuition and Hebrew ulpan are fully subsidized by Foundation funding.

Yes. Educators receive a generous monthly stipend of $800 for up to ten months.

No. Students find shared apartment arrangements through social networking.

Most students report that they are able to live without needing to find a job.

Certificate graduates typically begin work as Jewish Studies teachers in Jewish day schools upon graduation. The Pardes Center for Jewish Educators does indeed help its graduates find jobs – the program offers workshops and individual coaching in developing job application materials (resumes and cover letters) and in interview techniques. Our considerable connections in the Jewish day school field enable us to help our students identify appropriate positions and succeed in finding jobs.

PEP Certificate graduates are required, as per their agreement with Pardes, to work as Jewish studies teachers in North American Jewish day schools for a minimum of two years upon completion of the program.

Yes! Our Pardes Educators Alumni Support Project offers a yearly retreat and summer curriculum workshop in the US and individualized mentoring.