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The Academy of Jewish Thought and Learning is a vibrant, Modern Orthodox programme for Jewish thought, scholarship and education that seeks to inspire adults with a lifelong love of Jewish learning.
Beginning in August 2012, The Academy of Jewish Thought and Learning is the largest Jewish adult learning programme in South Africa today. With over 1 500 students countrywide, the Academy offers a unique style of empowering, adult learning coupled with exposure to some of South Africa’s top Jewish educators.
The Academy showcases the best of relevant Jewish thought and values within the traditional Jewish community – the result of which is that many intelligent Jews, who had once dismissed Judaism as a source of any bearing to their lives, have re-engaged.
The Academy is a mature, adult space – non-coercive, stimulating, interactive, collaborative and dynamic.
The Academy worked with the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS) and President of the time, Rabbi Lord Sacks ztz’l; continuing to do so with current President, Chief Rabbi Mirvis; its Dean, Rabbi Dr. Raphael Zarum, and its faculty in creating a South African adaption of the mode of thinking, pedagogics and education that LSJS pioneered in the UK.
Since inception, we have branched out to include several new areas such as facilitating Master’s degrees in Jewish Education through LSJS, teacher training and school syllabus creation. The Academy has undertaken to train teachers (Jewish and non-Jewish) in the Jewish Day School system as well as for schools in other countries. We are also active in the non-Jewish education space, teaching students and training teachers on environmental and sustainability topics in previously-disadvantaged South African schools.
Our faculty is drawn from the wide base of thinking, passionate Jews throughout South Africa. Most are professionals by day – doctors, professors, actuaries, lawyers, teachers, psychologists, conservationists and some Rabbis. All are united by their quest for knowledge, love of Torah and desire to learn from and with the members of The Academy community.
Click here to read our 2022 Annual Report with signed Annual Financials.
Click here to read our 2021 Annual Report with signed Annual Financials.
Our mission is to create a vibrant, Modern-Orthodox programme for Jewish learning, thought and scholarship, that inspires our community with a lifelong love of Jewish learning and Israel; and to utilise this platform to impact broader society in all ways.
OUR IMPACT AND VISION
Our vision is for the Academy to be the heartbeat of the traditional, Zionist South African Jewish community, ensuring its values are relevant and dynamic for the next generation of Jews, with inspired, skilled and trained educators and leaders.
To educate adults by increasing their Jewish knowledge, improving their textual skills and building their confidence as independent learners.
To develop outstanding educators who teach with love, respect, openness, intellectual honesty and creativity.
To study with Yirat Shamayim, a profound reverence for Hashem, in order to appreciate Jewish knowledge within its G-dly context.
To promote the full participation of women in Jewish learning and teaching.
To foster a culture of love for knowledge, higher learning and open discussion within the field of Jewish learning.
To promote a culture of respect and tolerance within the field of Jewish learning.
To encourage our students to help create this culture through passing on their own knowledge and experiences at home and within their own communities.
To exchange ideas at the highest level through academic research and the advanced study of traditional Jewish texts.
To deepen our community’s understanding and love for Israel.
To examine critical issues facing modern society with intellectual honesty, integrity and courage; in order to understand and develop Torah responses.
To work with the wider community in achieving these goals.
Ivdu et Hashem beSimchah – we sense a real joy and privilege in everything we do, especially the hard things, as part of our mission for Hashem.
Yozmah – innovate and take the initiative!
Yosher – authenticity, doing the outstandingly right thing.
Ichpatiyut – Care! Caring for our team and all our students with empathy.
Rosh Gadol – maintaining a big picture view.
Yachad – One for all and all for one – every challenge is ours!
Ein lo yachol, yeish rak lo rotzeh – We deliver on our commitments, no matter what.
Miktzo’iyut – Professionalism in every way.
Eizehu chacham? Halomed mikol adam – Constant learning and improvement and actively seeking constructive input on our strengths and weaknesses.
OUR COMMUNITY OF THINKERS!
The Academy is Re-Imagining Jewish Education. Join us on this journey and partake in the Educational Revolution!
National Education Development Programme
NED is the ﬁrst project in South Africa to drive 21st century Jewish Educational Leadership, Training and Enrichment. The Academy has created a host of options for Jewish educational professionals — from Adult Educators to School Educators and Rabbis and Rebbetzins to Leaders in these areas. We have courses to provide knowledge and skills, enabling access to programmes all the way to the Bachelors and Masters level with degrees in Jewish education provided by LSJS. Depending on your personal circumstances, experience and previous educational qualifications, NED will offer you a number of different options.
Thirst For Hope, is a grassroots project instilling hope in underprivileged children across South Africa. Through the implementation of Israeli AgriTech technology, Thirst for Hope feeds over 3500 underprivileged youth daily through development of sustainable feeding scheme gardens using Israeli Technology.