May 24, 2024
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May 24, 2024
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YU Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education Offers New Areas of Study

Dr. Rona Novick

When you’ve been successfully training Jewish educators for 35 years like the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, you develop a keen sense of the needs of the field and will promptly add valuable new features to your curriculum.

In that vein, the leadership of the Azrieli Graduate School has announced that it has added new areas of concentration in four areas: School Leadership, Hebrew Literacy, Jewish Special Education and Advanced Text Study.

As Dean Dr. Rona Novick shared with The Jewish Link, the Azrieli Graduate School program requires students to complete seven foundational courses: Models of Teaching I, Models of Teaching II, Curriculum and Assessment, Learning and Cognition, Big Ideas in Jewish Education, Teaching Values in Jewish Education, and Teaching Hebrew Literacy. The four new concentrations will enable students to focus on areas of professional and personal interest with a set of three or more courses on that topic.

“One of the strengths of Azrieli is that we have deep resources in many areas at the university, which allows us to benefit our students and the community by partnering with different schools,” Novick said.

For the School Leadership concentration, Azrieli is working with the Sy Syms School of Business to fashion courses that will help students who are either new to the field or who have years of teaching experience and are now moving into a leadership role.

For the Jewish Special Education concentration, Azrieli is working with the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology to offer courses on the unique challenges of special education in Jewish studies. As Novick elaborated, “We’re not just concerned with teaching the students the subject matter, we are concerned as well with their identity and beliefs.”

For the Hebrew Literacy concentration, Azrieli will build on the work of their faculty member Dr. Scott Goldberg, described by Novick as “one of the leading experts on Hebrew reading,” who guides students in skillfully “making sense of and decoding sacred texts.” Novick added, “A student who can’t read Hebrew will feel that he or she is not part of the kehilla in the same way,” so this area of concentration can be essential to effective teaching.

For the Advanced Text Study concentration, Azrieli will work with Rabbi Dr. Mordechai Schiffman and other noted educators at YU to offer courses that focus on both the traditional areas of scripture (Tanach, Mishna, Gemara) as well as those often underserved in Jewish teacher education, such as mussar, Kabbalah and chasidut.

Novick pointed out some of the features that make the Azrieli School of Jewish Education and Administration particularly compelling for students.

Azrieli offers deep and generous scholarships, “because we never want money to be the reason someone goes into a classroom unprepared.” She added, “We are blessed with generous donors,” who enable the school to offer these scholarships.

The school has a rolling admissions process, which allows prospective students to start their application process at any time. Azrieli offers entirely online options, attracting students from Israel, South Africa, points across the U.S., and many other places in the world. Azrieli also offers an accelerated track that allows a student to complete the master’s degree within 15 months, with summer, fall, spring and summer courses.

Over 85% of Azrieli students are already working in the Jewish education profession, teaching in a wide variety of schools or informal Jewish educational settings. The school is mindful of the challenges students face as they balance working and completing their degree.

The school welcomes both novice and experienced teachers, all across the Limudei Kodesh spectrum. Azrieli’s graduates can be found in all sorts of educational settings. “Our graduates are our best advertisements,” Novick noted.

“We know that burnout is a major issue in the teaching profession, if teachers are not adequately prepared. Azrieli works to fortify aspiring teachers or current teachers with the skills, instincts and perspective to experience continued success and professional growth in their careers and to grow their students to become knowledgeable, committed members of the community.”

For more information on the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration, please see:

Harry Glazer is the Middlesex County Editor of The Jewish Link. He can be reached at [email protected]. He found it a real pleasure to interview Dr. Novick.

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