By Margot Reinstein
If I could have devised my own Master program, this would be it! And that’s not just because I had the flexibility to fit the program to my personal vision and professional goals.
I had just graduated college and was figuring out my next step. I wasn’t yet ready to join the work force and I knew that I wanted to get an MA and gain new academic experiences. I received my BA in Judaic Studies with a concentration in Education and I wanted to go into some sort of Jewish communal work. I had already taken a few courses at Yeshiva University’s MA programs as an undergraduate and was looking into other programs at NYU and Brandeis to finish my Masters. But after spending my college years in NYC, I wanted to get away for a while. In the back of my mind there was always Israel.
Through doing research I found a program at Hebrew University that seemed too good to be true; a one-year MA at The Melton Centre for Jewish Education that was a third of the price of any program in the USA. Since it was the first year of the program, I had no one to speak to about it. I went to visit for the day to see what it was about.
It’s an intensive program that allows students to choose an area of focus in Israel Studies, Jewish Studies and Non-Profit management. Housed at The Rothberg International School, there are options to take classes in English and/or Hebrew. The program is flexible and allowed me to choose from the entire university course catalogue. I took classes world-renowned professors and learned from the best of the best. In order to improve my Hebrew I enrolled in Hebrew University’s Ulpan.
I took classes that expanded my knowledge and approaches to Jewish Education. Some of my favorites classes included Teaching Others Religions in Jewish Education, A Literary Approach to the Book of Ruth and Genesis from the Bible to Ancient Judaism. I also took some of my electives from the nonprofit management and leadership MA. I was with a cohort of peers from all around the world including Hungary, Australia, Canada and Israel, each group bringing their own unique background and perspectives to the courses.
My professors became my mentors and took a personal interest in my success. That’s not something I could have gotten elsewhere.
I remember the first day of classes, looking at my window and seeing the view of Jerusalem. I couldn’t believe it. From a religious and historical perspective, it was a dream to be studying at Hebrew University. I was learning in the heart of Jerusalem, at a University founded by Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Martin Buber, and Chaim Weizmann. I was taking part in the Jewish people’s life-long dream of spreading wisdom to the world.
An important aspect of the program is the flexibility; it’s possible to concentrate the courses into two packed days a week. This enabled me to work part time in an important educational institution, giving me the opportunities to teach, design educational programming and bring my studies to life.
This MA was a year living in Jerusalem, with an impassioned group of students and the flexibility and mentorship to personalize my program. The program is intellectually challenging and affordable and introduced me to a cohort of talented peers who became good friends. This MA at Hebrew University is a treasure. I only hope others can share in the experience.
Prospective students interested in the program may contact Margot at [email protected] for further details.