The Lookstein Center at Bar-Ilan University has created a series of Jewish Studies online courses
(Miami, April 17, 2016) – Targum Shlishi is supporting the recently established Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy (LVJA), a cutting-edge online school for Jewish studies. LVJA received the honor of being recognized in 2016 as one of the fifty most innovative projects in the American Jewish community by The Slingshot Foundation.
LVJA began working with schools and students in 2014, following an eighteen-month pilot program. To date, it has worked with more than fifty schools and seven hundred and fifty students. The students are drawn from a range of educational situations—day schools, supplementary schools, and home schools.
“We bring high quality Jewish education to Jewish students everywhere,” says Chana German, director of LVJA. “The beauty of online courses is that they are accessible to anyone, regardless of geographic location or ideological orientation. Our courses are widely applicable but are especially helpful to Jewish day schools, as they offer a viable means of lowering costs, extending limited resources, and increasing the range of academic offerings.”
Targum Shlishi’s support will help LVJA offer need-based scholarships to Florida Jewish day schools who are interested in running LVJA courses. This support has long-term ramifications, as schools that successfully and strategically adopt LVJA courses can reduce costs.
LVJA courses are a way for schools to address budgetary concerns as well as issues concerning quality of education. Cost reduction is especially critical today, as many Jewish day schools are facing a tuition crisis due to rising costs. Schools are seeking creative ways to lower costs while maintaining a high quality of Jewish education. At the same time, many schools face the ongoing difficulty of finding and retaining talented teachers. LVJA’s high standard of teaching can help fill in gaps.
Schools can use LVJA courses as part of blended learning, online learning, to fill in or diversify their course catalogues. Currently, LVJA has designed 20 courses, with an end goal of 40. Each course is designed with multiple versions so it can be adapted to a wide range of students across denominations and academic levels.
“Targum Shlishi has long advocated for and helped to support initiatives that leverage technology,” says Judith Dach, Ph.D., Targum Shlishi’s education consultant. “We have also been a longtime supporter of the excellent programs produced by The Lookstein Center. We are very pleased to be a part of bringing the Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy to Florida schools, and we hope that other day schools will explore these courses.”
To learn more about LVJA and to view its course offerings, visit its website at www.virtualjewishacademy.org/.
About The Lookstein Center, Bar-Ilan University
The Lookstein Center enriches the quality of Jewish education by providing professional resources to, and facilitating the interaction of educators from the broad range of the Jewish community. The Lookstein Center has a long and rich history of creating innovative projects to solve real needs in schools. The core of The Center’s work since the 1990s has focused in on three main areas: educational leadership development, curriculum development, and pioneering the use of technology in Jewish education. The Lookstein Center spearheaded several leadership programs, including the Principals’ Program and ELAI (The Educational Leadership Advancement Initiative), that have impacted hundreds of educational leaders in hundreds of schools. The Lookstein Center has also harnessed technology as a tool to connect and train educators, teach students, and strengthen schools. Its trailblazing programs in this area include Lookjed, Mifgashim, online professional development, Lookstein LIVE, and Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy. For more information about The Lookstein Center, visit its website at www.lookstein.org.
About Targum Shlishi
Targum Shlishi is dedicated to providing a range of creative solutions to problems facing Jewry today. Premised on the conviction that dynamic change and adaptation have historically been crucial to a vibrant and relevant Judaism and to the survival of its people, Targum Shlishi’s initiatives are designed to stimulate the development of new ideas and innovative strategies that will enable Jewish life, its culture, and its traditions to continue to flourish. For more information on the foundation, visit its website at www.targumshlishi.org. Follow Aryeh Rubin, Targum Shlishi’s director, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Aryeh5.