Courses at Genesis are unlike any high school classroom learning experience. They offer you an ideal environment to explore ideas about justice, diversity, responsibility and what it means to put passion into action. Each course provides a challenging, hands-on seminar experience without the pressure of tests or grades. Courses meet for 50 hours over the course of the summer.
Gina fried, Genesis staff
Teams of instructors have created courses that help each participant understand and make personal connections between Jewish and secular studies. Instructors are professionals in their fields, Ph.D candidates, high school teachers, or university professors.
Genesis Course Instructors
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Beyond Belief: Exploring World Religions
Golan Ben-Chorin is a Rabbi and Doctor of Education. In keeping with his pan-denominational approach he received ordination from the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem and his doctorate from the Conservative movement’s JTS in New York. As an international consultant he has contributed to Jewish community development and strategic planning across five continents including assignments in Israel, USA, the Former Soviet Union, Australia, Brazil and Hong Kong. Based on his doctoral thesis; “A Jewish Paradigm for Pluralistic Education”, Golan combines hands-on experience of inter-cultural practice and the theoretical constructs from philosophy of education. Recently he co-founded The Haifa Forum for Interfaith Cooperation, designed and taught a year-long course for Hebrew Union College on the “Art of Leading Prayer Services” and has taught ‘Multiple-Intelligence Gateways to Judaism’ - an integration of tradition and renewal, utilizing creative disciplines for Jewish meaning-making. As an educational and spiritual innovator he is currently developing a unique framework for Jewish life in Rosh Pinah and directing the Israel semester program for Rabbinical students from the Leo Baeck College in England. With experience ranging from academia to new-age Chavurot, his experiential teaching approach, musical talent, and storytelling skills impart a “Midrashic” worldview. Golan joined the Genesis faculty in 2010.
Amy Beckhusen comes to Genesis with a background in history and religious studies education. She graduated from Harvard Divinity School with a Masters in Divinity, where she focused on American Religious History. She also participated in the Program for Religious Studies in Education, took courses at the graduate school of education and earned her history licensure. This year she taught world history and world religions at Moses Brown, a Quaker school in Providence, Rhode Island. She also loves travel and service learning. In March she accompanied another teacher and twelve Moses Brown students on a week-long trip to volunteer at traveling medical clinics in sugar plantations in the Dominican Republic, which are staffed primarily by Haitian immigrants. In her spare time, she loves to sing in her church choir and hang out with her husband and her puppy. She is looking forward to re-connecting with her former employer, the Pluralism Project, to coordinate site visits for the students in the Genesis World Religions course.
Business on a Mission: Entrepreneurship and Social Change
Zechariah Mehler has experienced over two decades deeply immersed in the customs, theories and mindset of the world wide kosher community. A radio show host, film producer and widely published writer, Zechariah combines his love and knowledge of kosher food with his media and marketing expertise to provide creative and progressive marketing initiatives to some of the largest kosher food manufacturers and distributors in the world. He is also one of the founders of The Kosher Summit, a conference geared towards helping guide the kosher industry in understanding how best to utilize and adapt modern technology, marketing practices and methods of communication. He is also the VP of Kosher Marketing for Causil and an independent consultant for companies looking to market within the kosher industry.
Innovation and Revolution: Making, Breaking and Hacking 21st Century Technology
Investigating Gender, Sexuality, and Society
Joy Ladin, Gottesman Professor of English at Yeshiva University, is the first openly transgender employee of an Orthodox Jewish institution. Her memoir of gender transition, Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders, was a finalist for a 2012 National Jewish Book Award, and winner of a Forward Fives award, and she was named to the 2012 Forward 50 list of influential or courageous American Jews. She is also the author of six books of poetry, including Psalms and Lambda Literary Award finalist Transmigration. Her seventh collection, Impersonation, is due out in 2015. Her work has been recognized with a Fulbright Scholarship and an American Council of Learned Societies research fellowship. She has spoken about gender identity issues around the country and was featured on NPR's “On Being” with Krista Tippett and other NPR programs. She serves on the Board of Keshet, a national organization devoted to full inclusion of LGTBQ Jews in the Jewish world.
Culinary Connections: Discovering the Art and Anthropology of Jewish Food
Liz Alpern is co-founder of The Gefilteria, a boutique purveyor of Old World Jewish Foods. She is also co-author of The Gefilte Manifesto: New Recipes for Old World Jewish Foods (Flatiron Books, 2016). Liz developed a hands-on knowledge of the food industry working as a baker in a professional pastry kitchen, managing a Vietnamese food truck and writing articles and recipes for The Jewish Daily Forward. She spent two years working with Joan Nathan on recipes and research for Nathan’s most recent book, Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France.
Before launching The Gefilteria in 2012, Liz worked with national non-profit Fair Food Network, coordinating food events across the country for the launch of the book: Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All. She and her business partner, Jeffrey Yoskowitz, teach workshops throughout the country on the topics of food, identity and Jewish culture. They also curate large-scale food events that highlight innovative Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine.
She is currently completing her MBA at CUNY Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business and was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list in Food & Wine for 2014. She is also a proud Genesis alum from the class of 2000!
Jeffrey Yoskowitz is a cook and writer on the forefront of Ashkenazi cuisine. He is the chief pickler and co-founder of The Gefilteria in Brooklyn, NY. In 2014 he was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list in Food & Wine. He gives talks and leads food workshops around the world.
Jeffrey began his career in the food world as a writer, having written feature articles on the intersection of food, culture and politics for The New York Times, The Atlantic, Slate, Gastronomica, Meatpaper and The Forward, among other publications. He created and edited the literary website Pork Memoirs. In 2011, he teamed up with Liz Alpern to launch The Gefilteria.
Before launching The Gefilteria, Jeffrey launched and ran Negev Nectars, working with sustainably-minded, small-scale Israeli farmers to bring gourmet artisanal foods to the US market. He had previously trained as an apprentice at Adamah Organic farm in Canaan, Connecticut, learning sustainable agriculture and the art of natural fermentation.
From the Beginning: Biology and Judaism
Julia Khodor is a science educator focused on concept-centered teaching and learning. She received her Bachelor's at MIT, and enjoyed it so much that she went back for her Master's and PhD in biological computing, specifically building a DNA system that could count (though only up to 3). She later returned to MIT for a postdoc in the HHMI Education Group led by Prof. Graham Walker. While there, Julia took part in developing several innovative approaches to teaching biology. She is passionate about introducing her students to the rich world of scientific thought and the wonders of biology. Currently, she is a Visiting Lecturer at Bridgewater State University, where she has taught a variety of courses. Her favorite is the newly-designed Freshman Seminar on Decision Making and Sound Science. She is looking forward to teaching the first ever Genesis science course and hopes to make it a great experience for all.