The programs leading to the Master of Arts degree in Jewish communal service or Jewish education integrate Jewish studies and professional education through courses, fieldwork, and cocurricular activities. It prepares students for leadership positions in a variety of settings, including federations, synagogues, community centers, Hillel foundations, schools, and other communal organizations.
In addition to the basic two-year master's degree program, there are three variants: a three-year joint degree program leading to the M.A. in Jewish communal service and the M.A. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies (NEJS) (recommended for students interested in Jewish education); a 27-month (spans three summers) double degree program in conjunction with The Heller Graduate School leading to the M.A. in Jewish communal service and the M.M. or M.B.A. in human services; and a special one-year M.A. degree program that is available to students with graduate degrees in social work, Jewish studies, or a related field.
How to Be Admitted to the Graduate Program
The general requirements for admission to the Graduate School, as specified in an earlier section of this Bulletin, apply to candidates for admission to the Hornstein Program in Jewish Communal Service. In addition, applicants are expected to submit results of the Graduate Record Examination, a statement that describes the applicant's Jewish background and future professional plans and a sample of written material. Applicants are expected to arrange for a personal interview.
Susan Shevitz, Director
Jewish education. Organizational behavior and leadership.
Teacher education. Jewish education.
American Jewish community and demography.
Jewish traditional sources. Applied Judaica.
Philanthropy and fundraising.
Jewish life cycle and identity. Jewish education.
Fieldwork. Group work.
American Jewish community and philanthropy. Organizational change.
Jewish advocacy and community relations.
See the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and the catalog for The Heller School for related faculty and course offerings.
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
Program of Study
Students are expected to complete a minimum of 16 courses, at least 12 of which are Hornstein courses, in the following areas: professional studies, contemporary Jewish studies, and classical Jewish studies. Students may take courses at other Boston-area graduate schools (Boston University, Boston College, Tufts University, and The Heller School at Brandeis). Students may concentrate in Jewish education or specialize in advocacy or fundraising and philanthropy.
Students have two supervised fieldwork experiences in Boston-area Jewish educational or communal service organizations. In the first year, fieldwork is 15 hours a week; in the second year, 20 hours. This schedule requires students to be in residence through the middle of May and to plan for a shorter winter intersession than indicated in the University's Academic Calendar.
Joseph and Esther Foster Seminar in Israel on Contemporary Jewish Life
This four-week program, held during May and June after a student's first year, is a combination of classes and field visits designed to provide an in-depth understanding of Israel and its relationship with diaspora communities. It is sponsored in cooperation with the JCC (Jewish Community Centers) Association of Israel. Costs are partially subsidized by scholarships provided by the Joseph and Esther Foster Fund, the Kraft Israel Initiative, and the Jewish Agency.
Summer Study in Israel Program (SSIP)
Required of Jewish education concentrators and open to other students. SSIP takes place at the conclusion of the Foster Seminar. This heavily subsidized program affords students the opportunity of additional study in Judaica and Hebrew language in Israel.
In the second year students are required to submit a major substantive paper growing out of some aspect of their fieldwork experience. The paper analyzes a practical issue in Jewish communal service or education in light of the student's own experience and the relevant literature.
The residence requirement is two years of full-time study or the equivalent thereof in part-time study.
All students are expected to have mastered the Hebrew alphabet prior to beginning their studies. Fluency in Hebrew at a level comparable to two years of college training is required for graduation. Students not meeting this requirement upon entrance are required to enroll in courses in Hebrew language in their first year and, if necessary, during the summer after the first year. A preparatory program in the summer before enrollment is available through the Brandeis Hebrew Program and is highly recommended.
Seminar on Contemporary Jewish Issues
During the fall term this seminar meets once each week with guest speakers on a range of subjects on the contemporary Jewish agenda. Required of all first-year students.
Students participate in special seminars focusing on professional skill development.
Betty Starr Colloquium
First-year students spend three days in New York City visiting the national offices of major Jewish organizations to explore aspects of the communal agenda with agency leaders.
Milender Seminar in Jewish Communal Leadership
First- and second-year students participate in a three-day seminar on campus on Jewish communal leadership with an outstanding professional leader of the Jewish communal world.
Three-Year Joint Master's Program: Hornstein/NEJS
Program of Study
This degree is for students accepted into the Hornstein Program who seek a more intensive level of Judaic studies than is normally available in the two-year curriculum. It is recommended for students concentrating in Jewish education. Students who enroll in the three-year program devote most of their first year to Judaic studies and must take at least one additional NEJS course in each of their remaining two years. These must be regular graduate (100- or 200-level) NEJS courses and HBRW courses, not courses primarily geared for Jewish communal service students, and only one of the courses may deal primarily with the contemporary period. NEJS and HBRW course selections must be approved by the NEJS faculty member overseeing this program.
In their first year, students complete six NEJS courses and one JCS course. In their second year, students complete one NEJS course and seven JCS courses and in the summer complete the Israel Seminar (JCS 350b, Foster Seminar in Israel on Contemporary Jewish Life) and individualized Judaica study in Israel (SSIP). In their third year, students complete one NEJS course (that may be a reading course to prepare for the comprehensive exam) and six JCS courses.
Applicants must submit a single application in duplicate to the Hornstein/NEJS joint masters' program.
All candidates are required to demonstrate proficiency in biblical or modern Hebrew.
Twenty-seven month Double Master's Program: Hornstein/Heller
This program prepares professional leaders who combine a high level of management skills with broad knowledge of the contemporary Jewish world. The program blends The Heller Graduate School's management curriculum with the Hornstein Program's integrated approach to Jewish communal work. Graduates of the double degree program receive two master's degrees: a Master of Arts in Jewish communal service from the Hornstein Program and either a Master of Management or the M.B.A. in human services from The Heller Graduate School. The double degree program spans a 27- month period beginning in June.
Students applying to this program must demonstrate professional and academic capability and the capacity for sustaining an intensive program of study. Applicants must submit a single application in duplicate to the Hornstein/Heller double-degree program.
Program of Study
There are 27 required courses--15 at Heller and 12 at Hornstein, including one in Israel. In addition there are two academic years of supervised fieldwork experiences in Boston-area Jewish organizations and a team consulting project for a local nonprofit agency.
Spans a 27-month period starting in June.
Candidates are expected to establish competence in Hebrew, as described above.
One-Year Certificate Program in Jewish Education
A one-year certificate program is offered to NEJS Ph.D. students who have completed their residence requirement and at least one comprehensive examination
Courses of Instruction
(200 and above) Primarily for Graduate Students
JCS 202b Jewish Life Cycle
Focusing on central moments of transition in the Jewish life cycle, this course explores the traditional basis for celebrating life cycle events and the psychological significance of these events. Usually offered every second year.
JCS 203b Jewish Family Dynamics
Every person emerges from a family experience that leaves its mark on personal and professional identity. Explores the dynamics of Jewish family life, the growth and changes in family life, and the ways to educate Jewish families. Usually offered every second year.
JCS 205b Continuity and Change in Contemporary Jewish Life
Assuming this is a period of watershed change in American Jewish life, we explore the nature of the significant changes now occurring and identify critical issues that currently perplex American Jewry. Issues include conversion, homosexuality, euthanasia, women's participation, and who is a Jew. Texts and primary documents (in translation) are used. Usually offered every second year.
JCS 206b Informal Education in Jewish Settings
Theory and skills of informal education as these would be applied in different types of programs and organizations in the Jewish community. Usually offered every second year.
JCS 213b Basic Jewish Literacy
Designed to familiarize students with some of the basic terms, concepts, and texts of traditional Judaism. Aims to give a deeper understanding of Judaism that would allow students greater effectiveness in dealing with a religiously diverse Jewish community. Usually offered every year.
JCS 215a The Developing Learner in a Jewish Educational Setting
Focuses on the developing child, adolescent, and adult who come to learn about themselves and their world in a Jewish context. The main themes of the course are: developing a Jewish identity, gaining cognitive mastery of Jewish tradition, and balancing attachments to family, community, and society. Usually offered every second year.
JCS 216a Philosophy of Jewish Education
At a time when the Jewish community is pinning hopes on the promise of Jewish education, we will raise philosophic questions about the nature of Jewish education. These include: What is Jewish education? What are its legitimate goals? What makes someone a "Jewish educator?" How do formal and informal education differ? How is philosophy of education manifest in the actual work of Jewish educators? Usually offered every second year.
JCS 217b Issues in Contemporary Israel
Explores the rise of the Zionist movement in the 19th and 20th centuries, the early history of the State of Israel, and issues such as religion, ethnicity, women, and Arab-Jewish relations in contemporary Israeli culture. Usually offered every year.
JCS 218b The Cycle of the Jewish Year: Text Studies
The Jewish calendar is almost totally mandated by the Hebrew Bible, yet the Sages gave shape and substance to the holiday celebrations. Focuses on the Scriptural texts, taken from the Torah, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa, which the Sages assigned for reading on holidays and assess what the Sages wanted to communicate--historically, theologically, and spiritually. Uncovers the rabbinic agenda which has shaped the practice of Judaism. Usually offered every second year.
JCS 222b Teaching Jewish Texts
Examines a variety of ways that Jewish educators and communal professionals teach and present Jewish texts to different audiences. Usually offered every second year.
JCS 228b Jewish Communal Institutions in Transition: New Paradigms and New Structures
Major changes are taking place in the American Jewish community. We explore these developments on their own terms and as reflections of deeper paradigm shifts taking place in the relationship of individual Jews to their Jewish identity and their relationship to the Jewish community. Particular attention is paid to four arenas of change: Jewish identity; Israel/Diaspora relations; organizational structures and relationships; and philanthropy. Usually offered every year.
JCS 229a The Structure and Agendas of the American Jewish Community
Examines the structure and function of the organized Jewish community, with special attention to key issues such as leadership, decision making, organizational culture, and the relations among the many elements of the community. Primary focus is on the American Jewish community with some attention to Israel/overseas organizations and other diaspora communities. Usually offered every year.
JCS 234b Curriculum Theory and Development
Developing effective programs and courses requires an understanding of participants, concepts, contexts, and processes. Students gain an understanding of how programs and curricula are developed for formal and informal Jewish educational settings. Family education programming is used as the focus of the course. Usually offered every second year.
JCS 235a and b Seminar: The Culture of Jewish Educational Settings with Implications for Change
Provides models for understanding the culture of the fieldwork agency and the community in which it functions in order to understand the change process in formal and informal Jewish educational settings. Theoretical literature is applied to a series of cases that focus on institutional leadership and change. Usually offered every second year.
JCS 236a and b Teaching and Learning in Jewish Classrooms
Open to undergraduate juniors and seniors with permission and signature of instructor. As there is a field component, students should consult the instructor prior to enrolling.
Explores the intellectual, moral, and practical requirements of good teaching in Jewish classrooms. Through reading and writing, observations and investigations in the field, and practical experiments, students will develop skills to study and improve their teaching. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Elkin and Ms. Feiman-Nemser
JCS 237b Organizations: Theory and Behavior
Organizations, even when carefully designed to be effective and benign environments, have characteristics that sometimes confound and frustrate the most dedicated professional. This course examines major theories of organization, with special attention to the implications they hold for understanding and managing what goes on. By applying different analytic frameworks to real and simulated organizational dilemmas, students will gain perspectives and skills to help them productively work in communal institutions. Usually offered every year.
JCS 239b History and Philosophy of Jewish Philanthropy and Fundraising
Utilizing classical texts to illuminate the history and values of tzedakah, this course explores different presentation techniques employed in the contemporary Jewish communal setting. Students learn how to bring enduring Jewish values to bear upon the different tasks involved in the process of fundraising and development in Jewish organizational life. Usually offered every second year.
JCS 240a Jewish Advocacy: History, Issues, and Trends
Using case studies, this course examines the Jewish community relations organizations in North America, their early development, changing agendas, and styles of operation. The major focus is on the current issues facing the American Jewish community and the strategies to address them. Usually offered every second year.
JCS 241a Skills and Techniques in Jewish Philanthropy and Fundraising
Provides a conceptual framework and develops a community organizational approach to organizing and implementing fundraising campaigns for Jewish communal organizations. Usually offered every fall.
JCS 242a Applied Skills in Jewish Advocacy
This course uses case studies as a method of understanding the underlying concepts of advocacy and exploring and utilizing essential skills in the practice of advocacy. Skills developed include coalition building, the skill of politics (affecting public policy and influencing decision-makers), the skill of organization (mobilizing the Jewish community and the general community), and the skills of leadership. Usually offered every second year.
JCS 243b Financial Resource Development for the Nonprofit Agency
Prerequisite: JCS 241a.
Explores the strategic approach to funding the nonprofit agency in the Jewish community with an emphasis on major gifts management. Students learn the process of planning, developing, and soliciting leadership support through readings, lectures, guest speakers, simulations, and role plays. Usually offered every second year.
JCS 248a Seminar in Professional Skill Development
Required of all first year students.
Provides students with the opportunity to develop, examine, and integrate their individual professional styles and skills as they relate to an internship in a communal agency setting. The goal is to help students understand the range of skills needed to work within our increasingly diverse Jewish community. Usually offered every year.
JCS 250d Seminar in Planning and Leadership
During the first semester a series of case studies to explore the processes of planning and the skills of community organization, politics, and planning at the organizational and communal levels is used. Students apply their knowledge of various communal organizations to revisit and reassess previous efforts as well as to envision and create new initiatives. Particular emphasis is given to the roles played and skills needed by professionals in the complex process of change. The second semester focuses on images of, requisite skills for, and diverse models of leadership, all of which provide paradigms for professional practice in the Jewish community. Usually offered every year.
Messrs. Sheingold and Sternberg
JCS 287a Methods in Jewish Community Research
Designed to help students understand the uses and limitations of social research in the Jewish community. Research examples from Jewish communal settings are used to learn the concepts, vocabulary, and methods of a variety of approaches--including demographic studies, needs assessments, market research, and program evaluation. Usually offered every second year.
JCS 287b Management Modules for Jewish Communal Professionals
Provides an introduction to fundamental management skills, including managerial communication and supervision, budgeting, marketing, conflict resolution, and peer consultation in the context of Jewish communal service. Emphasis on theory, fundamental concepts, vocabulary, and practice in the application of the skills in Jewish communal work settings. Classes and assignments involve case analysis, skill practice, and application exercises as well as background reading. Usually offered every second year.
JCS 350a Foster Seminar in Israel on Contemporary Jewish Life
Offered every year from mid-May through mid-June in Israel in cooperation with the Jewish Community Centers Association (JCCA) and the Melton Centre at Hebrew University. Usually offered every year.
Required Seminars and Practica
Practicum in Jewish Advocacy, Jewish Philanthropy, and Fundraising
Required of concentrators. Not for credit.
Practica for students specializing in Jewish advocacy or fundraising/philanthropy or for students concentrating in Jewish education are held to discuss field-based issues.
Perspectives on Israel
Required of all first-year students who will be participating in the Foster Seminar on Contemporary Jewish Life. Not for credit.
Meets biweekly in the second semester. Sets up a framework for exploring the dynamics of an effective learning group and examines the Israel-Diaspora relationship in relation to selected contemporary issues and to students' personal and professional commitments. Usually offered every year.
First Years' Fieldwork Discussion
Required of all first year students. Not for credit.
Sessions focus on fieldwork issues allowing for an exchange of ideas, where information is shared and mutual problems are discussed. These discussions offer an opportunity to learn how other agencies operate and how they approach common challenging problems.