The Covenant Grants

Back to Basics: Inspired Judaism in Small Installments for Busy People

Organization: Mishkan Chicago, Chicago, IL

Grant Year: 2014

Project Director: Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann

Type of Grant: Ignition

Grant Amount: $20,000 (1 year)


Adult Education
Community Connections

To launch Back to Basics: Inspired Judaism in Small Installments for Busy People, an experiment in adult learning that integrates students coming from diverse backgrounds into month-long, self-contained courses. These courses are organized thematically around foundational Jewish thought and practices that rely on the best available creative adult learning resources. They also include individualized attention to guide students down paths of conversion, adult b’nai mitzvah, or simply deepening their learning. The program also offers opportunities for interaction between learners at different levels and with different backgrounds and focuses on building caring cohorts. This combination of substance and intentionally structured social interactions is designed to lead to the creation of real community that generates a sense of connectedness and responsibility.

This program is targeted towards primarily young adults and other groups of adults who are disengaged from Jewish religious institutional life, including LGBTQ Jews, Jews in interfaith relationships, those considering conversation, as well as spiritual seekers of all ages. The courses are aimed at deepening and expanding Jewish literacy and practice, as well as strengthening the passion and relationship to Judaism. The nine-month intensive learning experience teaches Jewish rituals, traditions, cultural references, philosophies and community norms in sophisticated, culturally sensitive language and combines extensive group interaction with individualized tracks that enable students to pursue adult b’nai mitzvah, conversion, or simply learning.

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