The shutdown has hurt Jewish education, but it has also taught Rabbi David Samson – dean of Yeshiva Torah Academy for English speakers in Jerusalem – the value of Zoom and online learning. Now, he’s using what he learned to create a new online Jewish learning program for middle and high-school students called King Solomon Academy.
“In many communities throughout America, the Jewish day schools have gone out of business. Our online program can be a lifeline to keep Jewish kids connected. Plus, we have received subsidies that make the program affordable in light of the very high cost of Jewish education in America,” he said.
He told The Jewish Press that the Monday-Thursday, one-hour program is primarily designed for secular and Modern Orthodox Jews as a supplement to regular classroom learning, with courses offered at different levels.
Live classes will be aired from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (New York time) beginning September 1. In addition, Rabbi Samson will teach a special 32-session course designed for bar mitzvah boys that will provide an overview on the 613 mitzvot, with a concentration on the daily mitzvot such as prayer and those related to Shabbat. A parallel course for bat mitzvah girls will also be offered.
“Experienced rabbis and rebbetzins in Jerusalem will be teaching a wide gamut of courses,” Rabbi Samson said. “In addition to Chumash, Tanach, Jewish History, and halacha…we will be teaching things like the ethical wisdom of the Rambam, a beginning taste of Kabbalah, and Rav Kook’s teachings on Israel’s redemption.”
Rabbi Samson says that the individualized curriculum will allow students to proceed at their own pace. More information is available at kingsol.org.