The Jewish Learning Fellowship (JLF) | Spring ’23
The premier Jewish experience on campus!
“JLF was a fantastic experience! I participated during my first on-campus semester, and it opened up many connections with Hillel and other Jewish students I’m fortunate to call my friends.” —a JLF alum
(Still) figuring college out? Want to explore your Jewish roots? Do you have deep, burning questions about life or Israel? Then the Jewish Learning Fellowship (JLF) is for you! This 10-week experience brings students together to explore powerful questions about what it means to live life as a Jewish adult.
Join your peers, meet new people, and find community as we discuss hot topics and study accessible and insightful texts.
Oh, and did we mention there’s a $180 stipend for your first JLF fellowship?
Open to all students who want to explore their Jewish identity in a new and meaningful way.
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Feb 3!
“Joining JLF was the best decision I made at Hopkins!”
—a JLF alum
NEW FOR SPRING 2023: TWO COHORTS!
Click on each topic to find out more!
Life’s Big Questions (LBQ)
Life’s Big Questions explores questions you might ponder when your mind wanders: How do I navigate friendships and achieve the right balance between my social life and work? Should I be dating to find my soulmate? What does it mean to be Jewish in 2023? How can I attain my highest ideals? How do I define success?
Click here for more information!
Israel: Home & Homeland
In Israel: Home & Homeland, we explore our relationship to Israel as American college students, asking questions such as: What stories do I bring when I talk about Israel? When and how do I feel at home? Who has a claim on my identity? How do Judaism and race intersect?
Click here for more information!
Ready to join? REGISTER BY FEB 3!
Click Here to Sign up for Life’s Big Questions
Click Here to Sign up for Israel: Home & Homeland
“JLF really helped me feel more connected to the idea of learning from Jewish texts despite not considering myself to be a religious Jew, which in turn made me feel a lot closer to the community as a whole.”
“JLF was a welcoming exploration of what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century. The Jewish values that we discussed over the course of the semester are ones that will guide me for the rest of my life!”
“The discussions were super relevant to my day to day concerns and curiosities. You’re not getting lectures on abstract concepts; these are helpful ideas that will definitely resonate with you!”
JLF, the Jewish Learning Fellowship, is a ten-week fellowship that brings together college students to discuss meaningful topics, study Jewish texts, build community, and meet new people. This semester, students may join one or both of our two cohorts, “Sex, Love, and Romance” and “Israel: Home & Homeland.” Both cohorts include ten sessions, a Shabbat experience, and a commencement ceremony.
Want to learn more? Reach out to Rabbi Shira.
What is the time commitment?
We will meet for ten sessions over the course of the semester, each for an hour and a half, including dinner. Additionally, we’ll all gather for a commencement ceremony and a Shabbat experience. See below for the full schedule.
How much does it cost?
Nothing! In fact, we will pay you to participate! We believe that Jewish learning and identity formation is valuable, and so is your time. We don’t want to pay you to be Jewish, but we do want to emphasize that we value your time. Therefore, we provide a stipend which we hope you will use toward a future Jewish experience, such as studying at Hartmann in Jerusalem or traveling on a Hillel Alternative Spring Break.
When exactly will we meet?
JLF Sex, Love, and Romance will meet weekly on a mutually-feasible evening beginning the week of September 19. JLF Israel: Home & Homeland will gather on Wednesday evenings from 6:00-7:30pm.
Each cohort will also gather together for Shabbat on November 11 and on December 8 for the JLF commencement ceremony.
We know the dates won’t always work with your schedule, but don’t let that stop you from signing up! When you register, we’ll also ask for alternative days and times when you can meet, and IF we can make it work, we’ll adjust the schedule for what’s best for the group. (Unfortunately, if we can’t figure out a time that works for everyone, we’ll stick to the originally scheduled dates.)
I don’t know anything about Jewish texts. I don’t know Torah from Talmud. I never went to Jewish day school. Is this for me?
It’s exactly for you! The Jewish Learning Fellowship is ideal for students who feel that they do not have a strong Jewish textual background but want to learn more. We will study texts in a way that requires almost no Jewish experience and no prereqs. Even if you already have some Jewish learning, we encourage you to sign up! We are mainly looking for people who want to explore their Jewish identity–whatever that looks like.
I’ve never been in a relationship and I’m not planning to be in one anytime soon. Does SLR still offer something for me?
Absolutely! JLF’s fellowship, friendship, food, and learning are for everyone regardless of their life experience. We hope to demystify the sometimes awkward and delicate topics of sex, love, and romance by giving you the tools to develop your own perspective, whether for now or the future.
I’ve never been to Israel and I don’t know much about it. Is this for me?
Yes! Israel experience is not relevant for JLF Sex, Love, and Romance.
As for Israel: Home & Homeland, the program does not require any specific knowledge of Israel or experience being in the country. However, it does require being able to try to relate to Israel and to use Israel as a lens to ask big questions about yourself. For instance, we may ask something like, “How do you feel when you see Israel in the news,” which does not require a specific answer but does hope you can draw on some sort of experience or memory. No matter your knowledge level or past experience, we ask that you think critically, do your best to relate to Israel, and try to use it as a lens for discovery.
Israel can be a very charged topic. How do you plan to address that in JLF?
Israel can be a charged topic and discussion around it can involved differing opinions and heated debate. We therefore ask all fellows to agree to the following:
- To bring an open mind to our conversations.
- To acknowledge that there are many valid viewpoints when it comes to learning about and discussing Israel.
- To do your best to understand and empathize with your peers–even when you disagree.
What are the goals of JLF?
We hope that through the Jewish Learning Fellowship, students will meet new people, bond with peers, connect with the Jewish community, find a Jewish mentor, and discover the richness of Torah. We’ll do this through studying together, talking together, and exploring our Jewish identities together.
What are some other opportunities for meeting new people and learning?
There are tons of other opportunities!
- If you’ve only explored one JLF topic, make sure you check out the other one, too.
- Check out our other fellowships: Tikkun Olam (Community Service) and Shabbat Your Way.
- We encourage students who already participated in Life’s Big Questions to apply to be a JLF intern! This is a chance for more learning and to take on a leadership role. Read the job description here.
- Check out the calendar for other great learning opportunities with Rabbi Shira, Rabbi Cantor, Rachel, or Leora.
Can I participate in both JLF topics?
Yes! Anyone can sign up for either JLF course or both JLF courses as long as you haven’t participated in that course previously. In other words, an alum of LBQs can sign up for Israel: Home and Homeland, an alum of JLF Israel can sign up for LBQ, and someone new can sign up for either or both.
Ready to join? REGISTER BY JANUARY 27!
Click Here to Sign up for Life’s Big Questions