Life’s Big Questions:  A New Curriculum for an Ancient Text

Life’s Big Questions: A New Curriculum for an Ancient Text

Texas Hillel students discuss Life's Big Questions. Credit: Texas Hillel.

By Alicia Garnes

Texas Hillel introduced a new learning fellowship this semester called Life’s Big Questions. Supported by Hillel International’s Office of Innovation, the 10-week conversational seminar was designed for students looking to deepen their understanding of Judaism.

Life’s Big Questions introduces students to the study of Torah, the practice of the Jewish calendar and life in a Jewish community in a pluralistic environment. The course is taught by senior educators, Texas Hillel Executive Director Maiya Chard-Yaron and Congregation Agudas Achim’s Rabbi Gail Swedroe.

In addition to providing students a social network and community in the class, the seminar is anchored in the study of classical Jewish texts and draws on the life experiences and intuition of college students. The fellowship is designed to inspire conversation and reflection on topics such as friendship, constructive disagreement, Passover and identity, relationships, Shabbat and more in a supportive, open setting.

For freshman Adina Traub, the class does just that.

“This class is giving me the opportunity to learn about Judaism in a safe and open environment,” she explained. “Everyone in the class is coming from very different backgrounds and it’s amazing to hear all the different opinions and views about certain Jewish aspects.”

During the seminar, the cohort will celebrate a Shabbat together and meet one-on-one and in small groups with the educators. ■

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