Penn State Hillel launching Jewish Learning Fellowship

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Hillel is launching a new Jewish Learning Fellowship (JLF), a 10-week experiential, pluralistic, conversational seminar for students looking to deepen their understanding of Judaism on their own terms.

The Jewish Learning Fellowship adds two critical components to traditional study: It builds a cohort of students within each class who befriend one another and create a community, and it teaches classical Jewish texts by drawing on the life experience and intuition of college students themselves.

The first JLF cohort will consist of 20 students. No experience with Jewish learning or text study is required; rather, life experience and intuition is used to drive the conversation. Upon completion of the JLF, students earn a $300 stipend to be used on a Jewish experience of their choosing, such as an alternative break trip, a trip to Israel, or a trip to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) or J-Street conferences.

Applications are due Feb. 12, and candidates will be accepted on a rolling basis. Classes will be held from 6-8 p.m. every Tuesday from Feb. 16 to April 26. The location of the class has yet to be determined. 

Class topics will include:

  • Sex, Love, and Romance: Toward a Postmodern Jewish Ethic
  • Life’s Big Questions: Or How To Get More Out of College Through Judaism
  • Judaism as Art: A Search for Congruity
  • Judaism from the Inside Out: Spiritual Practices for Real Life

Additionally, students will attend two Shabbat dinners together — one at Hillel in a special private dinner, and the other at the educator’s home.

Through the class, students will embark on Jewish study on their terms, in a pluralistic, conversation-based environment; live the Jewish calendar; create a strong Jewish social network; and have a Jewish mentor to help them address life’s big questions.

For more information, contact Rob France, assistant director of Penn State Hillel, at, or Leah Chakoff, director of engagement at Penn State Hillel, at To apply, visit 

Last Updated January 29, 2016