The Jewish Learning Fellowship (JLF) at MIT Hillel
The Jewish Learning Fellowship (JLF) is a 10-week experiential, conversational seminar for students looking to deepen their understanding of Judaism on their own terms. We’re interested in asking big questions. You know, the big stuff — like Who am I? What communities am I a part of? What is worth committing myself to, and why? And we don’t purport to have any of the big answers...certainly not for anyone else.
We make no claims about the “right” way to practice or not to practice Judaism. Our job is to help you explore the tradition in a safe space and find your own place, on your terms, in Judaism’s Great Conversation.
By the end of 10 weeks, we want fellows to feel like they have:
1. Jewish friends. Let’s be real: Jewish life doesn’t happen by yourself in your dorm room or apartment. It happens with other people. We want you to feel like you have a bigger Jewish social network at the end of JLF.
2. A Jewish community. We want you to feel a part of something bigger than yourself, and we want you to feel like you have a community after JLF, if you want one. What we’re saying is, we’re going to invite you to get coffee.
3. ...learned something interesting. The wisdom found in Jewish texts, both ancient and contemporary, can be surprising, complicated, delightful, weird, mysterious, perplexing, and FUN. We’ll read these texts broadly and generously in JLF, and we'll count on fellows adding their unique voices and perspectives into our conversations.
Sex, Love, and Relationships (Undergraduates)
For many of us, sexuality and intimacy are some of the issues that matter most, but around which we receive the least guidance. This seminar will explore the ethics of gender, sexuality and intimacy in the Jewish tradition. The richness of this conversation has analogues in countless other topics and themes of human experience. We hope to explore the ideas of gender, sexuality, intimacy and sexual ethics in a broad range of sources in Jewish thought. This semester, we will aim to explore sexual ethics and the ever-elusive notion of intimacy in a way that honors our minds and bodies and respects our position as modern, thoughtful adults. Our approach is open-minded and non-judgmental.
PREVIOUS JLF Classes
JLF Israel: Home and Homeland
How might Jewish tradition inspire an ethos for how we engage with the concept of home and shared homeland? What role does location, spiritual connection, and collective history play in our narrative of home? How do we hold personal identity in dialogue with broader historical and contemporary communal narratives? What responsibilities do we hold for the people and places we are connected to? How might we live with intention and in tension with multiple truths? To address these enduring questions, JLF Israel: H&H follows a 10-session arc to explore the diaspora relationship to Israel, looking to classical, rabbinic, and modern Jewish wisdom to engage a contemporary understanding of peoplehood, responsibility, home, and homeland.
Life’s Big Questions: Or how to get more out of college through Judaism
College is often the first time that we get to decide who we want to be in a lot of our identities. For the first time, we’re on own… so who do we want to be? What communities am I a part of? What do I want to do with my life? What is my religion? Do I need one?What do I really want to learn and why? Who do I want to hang out with? While these are universal questions, we believe they can be illuminated through the unique light of Jewish traditions. In this seminar, we will explore what it means to be a twenty-something Jewish individual in the world. We will try to explore the often complex questions with which we are faced upon our arrival at college in a way that enables us to find our own answers, but also to ask even more big questions.