Name of implementing organization:The Shalom Institute
Date of initial project approval:February 2004
This project provided two-year fellowships (providing 50% tuition rebates) for four Jewish, Secular Studies teachers in Jewish day schools, allowing them to enroll in Jewish Studies courses offered by the Shalom Institute. Initially it was hoped that up to 16 teachers would participate, but the requirements of two evenings a week plus written and oral assignments proved too demanding for the hard-working teachers in our schools.
Ultimately, four teachers studied four hours per week for two years in Melton and Mosaic courses. During this time, they also attended eight one-day seminars. Candidates for the program were required to hold a university degree, and to be employed full-time as a Secular Studies teacher. (One teacher had not completed a degree. Her school supported her fully and used her completion of the Diploma to qualify her for a higher pay rate.)
Candidates for fellowships were nominated by the day school in which they were employed. Criteria for selection included candidates' academic abilities, their eligibility for future promotion, and their desire to participate in the program. They committed to remain at their school for at least two years after completion of the program. One of the teachers subsequently has changed schools (to another participating school) but with the approval of the Principal.
Courses were taught by professional educators employed by the Shalom Institute.
The Melton Program curriculum consists of the following four compulsory courses:
Mosaic courses fall into five streams: the Holocaust; Israel and the Middle East; Torah and Texts; Diaspora Studies; and Humanities/Arts. Teachers selected the stream most appropriate for their area of teaching. During each year of the program, fellows studied two Melton courses and four Mosaic courses.
The one-day seminars were conducted by both local and visiting scholars. Each seminar focused on a separate topic, and consisted of textual study followed by a workshop. The formal study was followed by presentation of papers by project Fellows, who explored how their study could be incorporated into their teaching.
The project was staffed by an Academic Supervisor and an Administrative Coordinator. Teachers began their studies in the academic year 2005.
Fellows who completed the full program of studies, including attendance requirements and substantial academic assignments, received a Graduate Diploma of Advanced Jewish Studies from the Shalom Institute. Their schools have noted the success of the program in motivating these teachers to become more involved in the Jewish life of the school. One of the teachers, who was a History teacher at Masada College, has now become a Jewish History and Jewish Studies teacher at Moriah College. This is the fulfillment of the ultimate aim of the program.
Although only four teachers completed the requirements of the Fellowship, many other teachers enrolled in courses as a result of the recruitment drive for the program. Teachers were reluctant to commit to two evenings a week and to write assignments, but many were happy to commit to a single evening a week dedicated to Jewish learning.