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Hebrew College Develops Innovative Master's Degree Concentration in Interfaith Jewish Family Engagement

NEWTON CENTRE, Mass., Jan. 13, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hebrew College is offering a new Master of Jewish Education concentration, a first-of-its-kind program that will focus on training educators to serve the growing needs of interfaith families. Funding for the development of this concentration was provided through a grant from the Crown Family.

Innovative Program

"This program is unique," said Rabbi Dr. Michael Shire, Hebrew College's Chief Academic Officer and Dean of the Shoolman Graduate School of Jewish Education and Jewish Studies Program. "It's the first accredited program of its kind. The growing number of intermarried and inter-partnered families need help accessing Jewish life and learning for themselves and their children. We recognize the critical need to establish a corps of skilled Jewish educators to educate and guide them, and we appreciate the Crown Family's support to help make it a reality."

This new concentration will be a significant feature of Hebrew College's educator preparation program, and an integral part of the school's long-term mission to serve the ever-increasing diversity and complexity of contemporary Jewish life.

Jewish Learning and Leadership for a Pluralistic World

Hebrew College's new concentration is already garnering praise from leaders in organizations that serve culturally diverse families. "Our mission in reaching the pluralist Jewish community must encompass the growing numbers of interfaith families,"said Dr. Keren McGinity, a Research Associate at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, a Research Affiliate at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, Founding Director of the Love & Tradition Institute of Greater Boston, and an educator who specializes in Jewish intermarriage and gender. "In our diverse and blended society, we need a new approach to training educators who can help those families engage in Jewish life and learning, and Hebrew College is at the forefront in delivering on that need."

Program Goals

Students who matriculate in the program will gain the skills needed to develop new models of Jewish community education based on the needs and interests of intermarried families. The educators will be well-positioned to support a variety of organizations including congregations, community centers, Jewish day and supplementary schools, and Jewish camps in their initiatives for greater integration.

"Our goal," said Rabbi Shire"is not only to support intermarried Jewish families, but to model integrative community education where there are diverse needs; to allow these families full access to, full participation in, and a sense of ownership of their community."

As a cornerstone of their dissertation projects, students in the new Master's degree program will train in 'action research'– research that the practitioners design and carry out to analyze and improve their practices. Students will engage in field placements devoted to the education of intermarried Jewish families, and will be mentored by field supervisors as well as Hebrew College's director of field placement. This real-world experience and guidance will position program graduates to assume key roles as leading educators for this rapidly growing segment of the Jewish community.

Hebrew College's new interfaith degree concentration will begin in the fall of 2016.

About Hebrew College

Hebrew College promotes excellence in Jewish learning and leadership within a pluralistic environment of open inquiry, intellectual rigor, personal engagement, and spiritual creativity. The College empowers and inspires individuals to contribute their voices and vision to the Jewish community and to bring Jewish values to bear on the critical issues of our time. For more information, visit www.hebrewcollege.edu.

Hebrew College
160 Herrick Road
Newton Centre, MA 02459
617.559.8600 | 800.866.4814
www.hebrewcollege.edu

CONTACT: Rabbi Dr. Michael Shire, 617.559.8617 mshire@hebrewcollege.eduSource:Hebrew College