Albert Einstein Program: Informal Jewish Professional Education, Latin America
Name of implementing organization:Hillel Latin America / Hillel Argentina
Date of initial project approval:October 2006
Date of project renewal:October 2009
Brief description of the local Jewish community
The Jewish population in Argentina numbers approximately 185,000 and is concentrated in Buenos Aires, where 165.000 Jews live. Research conducted by Trajtenberg and Zelcer and reported in 2002, found that there were approximately 15,000 Jewish young adults ages 18 to 28 years old. Most of these young adults live in 6 districts of the City of Buenos Aires. 80% of the students ages18 - 24 live with their parents. 55% have visited Israel at least once. 55% attended Jewish day school.
Project aims and objectives
· To promote Jewish education among young Jewish professionals from the region
· To promote study of how to articulate Jewish values within professional
· To promote research with Jewish content by young Jews from the region
· To stimulate young Jewish professionals to write essays presenting the Jewish point of view related to substantive questions in their fields, current scientific debates, and social and ethical issues
This project promotes Jewish Studies and Jewish values among students and young professionals in Argentina. Participants take Jewish Studies courses for 2 hours weekly. They are divided into groups according to their area of general studies (Medicine; Law; Social Sciences; Economics; and Architecture). The Jewish Studies program is designed to meet the needs and interests of their area of professional study.
The course of studies for medical students includes: Pikuach Nefesh; Medical Ethics and the Maimonidean Oath; Organ Donation; Abortion; Medical Dilemmas and Judaism; Kashrut and Hygiene; and Assistance to Terminal Patients. Courses for Law and Social Science students include: the Concept of Law in Judaism;Torah as a Basic Institution of the Jewish People; Interpretation of the Oral Tradition; Tikun Olam; and Civil and Community Participation. The program for economics students includes: Business Ethics; Usury; Debts and Debt Remission; Tzedakah; and Judaism and Business
Ethics. Architecture students study: Time and Space in Judaism; Design of Synagogues; Urbanism and Quality of Life.
Teachers from Israel participate in regional seminars and enhancement of Israel Studies courses. Video conferences facilitate dialogue between students and Israeli instructors. Students receive a subsidy each semester for conducting individual research connecting their area of general studies with Jewish Studies. At the end of each semester, each student writes an essay about an ethical problem facing professionals in his field, and exploring Jewish sources and values which address this
dilemma. The project includes a three-day Shabbaton. Students will share experiences, and attend workshops according to their area of studies. The project encourages students to become involved in their communities.
Main budget elements
Salaries for Coordinators and teachers
Teachers from Israel
Video-conferences with Israel
Printing student essays
The project's successes
The Albert Einstein program is an original program able to reach a new generation of young Jewish adults, and incorporating Jewish values, high academic standards, and innovative pedagogic methodology. This program is a role model program which could be adapted in different scenarios and Jewish communities. Young adults are focusing on their career development, and this program allows them to grow in this direction, while strengthening their Jewish background.
To more fully measure the program's effectiveness, we need 4 years in order to assess the long-term impact of the program on students, as they complete their first academic degree.
Difficulties encountered along the way
- To train local teachers regarding the spirit of the program, joining Jewish values and professional career issues
- The time schedule of the university sometimes required students to change their track or abandon the program, in order not to miss their university classes.