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Jewish Learning Fellowship

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Join Rabbinic Intern Beryl Trauth-Jurman for the Jewish Learning Fellowship.
The Jewish Learning Fellowship (JLF) is a 10-week experiential, conversational seminar for students looking to deepen their understanding of Judaism on their own terms. We’re interested in asking big questions. You know, the big stuff — like Who am I? What communities am I a part of? What is worth committing myself to, and why? And we don’t purport to have any of the big answers.

We’ll break bread together each week. We’re also going to invite you to coffee, spend a Shabbat together, and help you feel connected to next steps and alumni offerings after JLF ends. Fellows can earn a $300 stipend at the end of the program.

Questions? Be in touch with Beryl at beryl@masonhillel.org

Sample Syllabus: Week 1: Why Learn? On the Power and Practice of Learning Is it important to make time for learning? Are there differences between academic learning, Jewish learning and life learning? How do we see ourselves as learners and what do we need to get the most out of our respective learning environments? What motivated you to be a part of this fellowship, where one of the only prerequisites is a desire to learn Jewish sources, learn about yourself, and your peers? Week 2: How Big is Your Story? In what way does personal history become collective history? Can history “make a claim” on us? What is your story? Week 3: Community of Memory vs. Lifestyle Enclave? Why do we create community? And why Jewish community? Why and how do we choose to be a part of it? What is the difference between a community, a group of friends and a social network? What makes a community a community? Week 4: The Sabbath: A Practice for Rest. How might we interact with the idea of a Sabbath as college students? Is Shabbat, as a time of rest, inherently counter-cultural? Or could it support us holistically in our modern lifestyles and pursuits? How can the essence of Shabbat help us create a “rest practice” in our modern lives? Week 5: Friendship, Honesty, and Betrayal What are the challenges and opportunities of a deep friendship? What are necessary qualities in a good friend and what qualities do you want to emulate as a good friend? What are the disqualifying qualities in a good friend? What role does honesty play in friendship? Week 6.1 (Fall Semester): The Temporary Home: The Opportunities of Vulnerability and Impermanence What is the difference between being at home and having a home in the world? Where do you feel most at home? How do you define home at various stages in your life? Is it important to have a home? What opportunities for personal growth do we encounter when we embrace vulnerability and impermanence as a natural part of life? Week 6.2 (Spring Semester): Passover as Story: What is My Identity? How do stories help us form, explore, and express identity? What are the various facets of identity that are represented in the Haggadah? What is the significance of having one shared text that holds many perspectives? Week 7: How Do We Disagree? How do we disagree and engage in conflict? Can conflict be productive? What is the role of healthy vs. unhealthy disagreement and how do we engage in it rather than withdraw from it? Can disagreement serve as a critical part of uncovering truth? Week 8: The Art of Collaboration Is collaboration important? What are the ingredients of a good partnership or collaboration, and how do we cultivate it? Does entering into authentic collaboration have the potential to change us, and how do fully offer our talents and “get out of our own way” when collaborating? Is the end product/result better when we collaborate or work alone? Week 9: On Intimacy What is the status of our current relationship to sexual relationships and intimacy? As college students, what prevents us from allowing ourselves intimacy and vulnerability with another person? By learning the traditional wisdom of our Jewish sources, might we be inspired to approach our romantic relationships with a new lens that fuses our contemporary lives with traditional wisdom around intimate relationships? Week 10: Continuing to Learn while Living the Questions How can we encounter big questions, serious internal ambiguity, or wrestle with fundamental ideas and concepts, and still continue to learn and grow? How can we live out our lives with new questions, even if we don’t yet have the answers we desire? What is the value in uncertainty? How do we go about sitting or struggling with not knowing? Week 11: Infrequently Asked Questions & Saying Goodbye What are the questions you’ve never had a chance to ask? How do we say goodbye to one another in a way that honors the time we have spent together?

"JLF was a beautiful program that allowed me to safely question my identity through learning about the history of Judaism alongside my peers. Our riveting discussions brought different perspectives respectfully to the table and allowed us to be our most vulnerable selves."

-Mason Hillel JLF Participant

Spring '22

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