Israel Scholars program partners with SLU

The 2015 class of the Jewish Student Union’s Galia & Milton Movitz Senator John Danforth Israel Scholars Program. JSU Director Rabbi Mike Rovinsky is at left and Galia Movitz is sixth from the right in the first row. A new year of the Israel Scholars Program begins Nov. 2.

By Eric Berger, Staff writer

Jewish Student Union of St. Louis has entered into a new partnership with St. Louis University to offer an Israel education program to high school students for college credit. 

The Galia & Milton Movitz Senator John Danforth Israel Scholars Program is a 15-session series that uses speakers from pro-Israel organizations around the country and explores topics such as the history of Zionism, the country’s political system and its wars. 

Jewish Student Union (JSU), which is connected to the Orthodox Union, started offering the classes in 2012. It  had previously been connected to University of Missouri- St. Louis but the school had to trim its advanced credit program, including the Israel Scholars, according to Rabbi Mike Rovinsky, director of JSU.

The new round of classes begins Nov. 2 and will allow high school students to earn three transferable credits in advance of college. The new partnership will allow JSU branches around the world to provide college credits through SLU. Before, each Israel Scholars program had to find a university partner, Rovinsky said. 

There are three Israel Scholars programs; by the end of this year, JSU could launch programs in more than 10 other cities, Rovinsky said.

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“The goal is to give teens the skill set that they need to engage effectively around Israel and the Middle East and to know how to defend Israel on the college campus,” said Rovinsky.

Bretton DeLaria, director of SLU’s 1818 Advanced College Credit Program, said school officials were “extremely impressed with the high caliber and thoroughness of the [Israel Scholars] course, and we are excited to provide this opportunity to the teens of St. Louis,” according to a news release.

The program is free to high school students. Upon successful completion, students receive a $350 stipend towards a JSU-affiliated Israel summer program. The organization also offers a program for adults, which costs $350, but the organization offers scholarships. 

Classes for teens meet from 7:15 to 8:45 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center’s Millstone Campus near Creve Coeur and begin on Nov. 2. The adult classes meet at the same time and location beginning on Nov. 7. 

 

New JSU fellowship program

In addition to Israel Scholars, JSU is launching a Jewish Scholars Fellowship Program, which takes contemporary topics of interest to teens and explores them through Jewish text. 

The program is divided into two six-week courses. The first half will focus on topics such as Judaism and the Origins of Christianity, and Anti-Semitism Through Classic Jewish Thought. For the latter half, Rabbi Yitz Staum, an educator with JSU, will survey students to find out what students are most interested in from a list of topics that includes Journalism According to Jewish Law and Jewish View on Sexuality: Stifling or Uplifting?

High school students who complete a six-week course will receive a $175 stipend towards a JSU Israel trip. 

For more information or to register for any of the programs, contact Rovinsky at 314-696-0578. For the Israel Scholars program, email [email protected] or visit tinyurl.com/Israelscholars2017. For the Jewish Scholars programs, email [email protected] or visit tinyurl.com/JSF2017.