The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies recently secured $3,000,000 in funding to invest exclusively in North American programming for alumni, their families, friends and communities.
Pardes believes in empowering students to enthusiastically engage in the enhancement of Jewish life wherever they live. In that spirit, in March 2018 Rabba Yaffa Epstein (former Director of Education in North America) and Rabbi Leon Morris, President of Pardes, embarked upon an eight-city tour of North America, meeting with hundreds of alumni and asking them to help define a shared vision for how Pardes could best serve their communities. Their answers were clear:
- More Learning Opportunities
- Regular Alumni Gatherings
- Professional Development Opportunities
- Strong Local Alumni Networks
Some initiatives are already up and running, such as the Pardes-Kevah Adult Educators Bootcamp, a professional development program, which took place this January in New York City. Most will be launched over the course of three years. Continent-wide and city-specific learning programs will bring Pardes text learning to more alumni than ever. More frequent and larger retreats will provide opportunities for alumni to network, learn and reconnect with Israel-based Pardes faculty. And an expanded North American faculty will give alumni easier and more frequent access to Pardes educators. And this is just the beginning.
Most importantly, all of the programming that takes place in North America will echo the values that have made Pardes an iconic model for serious text-based Jewish education.
For 48 years Pardes has empowered young Jews to take proud and enthusiastic ownership of their Jewish identity. With plans for a new campus in Jerusalem and expanded programming in North America, Pardes is doubling down on its vision of a community where every Jew has access to open, inclusive, diverse and intellectually challenging learning environments in which to engage with the classic texts and ideas of their heritage.