Online Courses at the JCHS of Gratz College
We are proud to announce that Beth El’s Community Hebrew High School will continue to partner with the Jewish Community High School of Gratz College in offering their Distance Learning Program to our students. Ninth through twelfth grade students whose extra-curricular activities conflict with the Religious School’s class schedule will be able to enroll in one of the online courses in lieu of two weekly classroom hours. Students taking one of the online courses can study at their own convenience—any time, any place. College credit is available to high school juniors and seniors for selected courses.
The following are the courses offered this fall. Different courses will be offered in the spring.
1.The Torah Top 50 – Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins
Why is the Bible more famous than known, as Voltaire once asked? Partly because it is an anthology of so many books, written over so many centuries, by so many different authors. It is like reading through the Encyclopedia Britannica, cover to cover. No one goes through an encyclopedic work like this page-by-page, book-by-book. It takes diligent study, infinite patience, a good teacher, and long years of commitment. How sad, then, that the Book of Books, the literary legacy that the late Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel called our “greatest privilege,” is so little read, and even worse, so little known.
This vast collection of morals, poetry, laws, stories, and divine revelation remains a hidden treasure for most people. Yet it forms the basis of all ethical standards (“Love your neighbor as yourself”), all great moral philosophy (“In the image of God was the human formed”), and legal majesty (“There shall be one law for you and for the stranger among you”).
Too many people think of the Bible as a collection of outmoded laws, descriptions of old-fashioned customs such as animal sacrifice, boring genealogies, and irrelevant miracle tales. Yet the core of the Tanakh contains the essential moral legacy of the Jewish People. This course will examine fifty verses and verse-clusters that are the fundamental principles of Jewish ethics, and the passages which make the Hebrew Bible the most important collection of books ever written.
2.Hebrew I - Rivka Markovitz
This course is designed for students with moderate knowledge of Hebrew reading. The course focuses on the development of all language skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing). Students will improve their mechanical Hebrew reading and writing. They will also master grammatical terms and principles, such as pronouns, adjectives, gender, and number agreement, prepositions, roots, numbers, special expressions, and the different categories (G’zarot) of Binyan Pa’al in the present and past tense. Students will read texts that reflect Hebrew and Jewish culture. Topics will include home and school, food, family life, and the daily schedule. (This course is for undergraduate credit only). Students will meet once a week for a live session to learn and review the material. In addition, a special website will be available for students to log on at any time for learning and review.
3.Music of Israel – Dr. Marsha Bryan Edelman
Discover Israel through music! From European-influenced songs of the pioneers to exotic melodies from Arab lands, the pre-State era was filled with the sounds of ingathering. And the music continued as the State was born and grew. Hear Israel’s songs of peace in times of war, the shepherd songs, and love ballads that bring the Bible alive, and the drum beat of rap and religion as Israel brings together tradition and today. This course is for lovers of music, history buffs, and anyone eager to take a tour of the Jewish state—all from the convenience of your home computer! No prior knowledge of Hebrew or music is required, just a quick internet connection and a fascination with all things Israeli.
4.Israel Today: Realizing the Dream – Rabbi Lori Forman-Jacobi
This course begins and ends with a look at celebration of the wonder of Israel. Students combine the 4MAT method used throughout the Etgar curriculum with a problem-solving approach for a realistic, sophisticated, and in-depth study of the many challenges Israel faces today. Lessons cover Israel’s pursuit of peace, diversity, and social justice challenges. The course is offered in partnership with Project Etgar, a joint curriculum initiative of the Melton Research Center of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
5.Why The Jews: History of Anti-Semitism (college credit course)
This course will examine the diverse forms that hatred of Jews has taken throughout history, from the ancient world to the present day. Our focus is the extremely difficult question of “Why have Jews been singled out for hatred so often for so many centuries?”