The High School of Jewish Studies students will start the school year by participating in the annual community-wide Hunger Walk on Sunday, September 9. Classes will begin on Sunday, September 23, and continue through March 24, just before Passover and the Kentucky Derby.
The school will see many changes this year, in response to student evaluations and feedback from last year. The most notable change will be the location. While the date and time (Sundays from 11:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m.) will stay the same, the High School will now meet at the Jewish Family and Career Services (JFCS) building. This space offers larger and more comfortable seating, and the “seminar style” of the rooms will make classes more intimate and informal.
New electives being added this year include Modern Hebrew, an interactive study of Jewish ritual objects, Jewish ethics and more interactive text studies. Students will also participate in four Tikkun Olam projects off site, including the Hunger Walk.
The High School of Jewish Studies is a community-based program, sponsored by and including faculty from all of Louisville’s five synagogues. However, synagogue affiliation is not a prerequisite for the program. Ninth- and tenth-grade students benefit from the opportunity to meet and study with their peers from across the city. This year, the school became affiliated with the North American Association of Community and Congregational Hebrew High Schools (NAACCHHS).
The school includes core (grade-wide) classes on a semester schedule and electives on a trimester schedule. The core classes for ninth grade include American Jewish History with Rabbi Joe Rooks Rapport of The Temple and History of Israel and Zionism with Jewish Community Relations Council Director Matt Goldberg of the Jewish Community of Louisville.
Tenth grade classes include a panel discussion with the rabbis discussing ancient and modern issues from a pluralistic perspective and confirmation classes during which students meet with the rabbi(s) from their congregations. Following lunch, students will attend the elective of their choice, from among courses developed with input from last year’s student feedback as well as information from NAACCHHS.
In the spring, students who are interested may also form a team to participate in many Kentucky Derby events.
Plans are also being made to bring back 11th and 12th graders by offering classes for college credit.
The school is in a transition year, as Principal Sam Gordon enters much-deserved retirement in December. Lisa Rothstein Goldberg will be the new principal.
Recently, Goldberg attended the annual NAACCHHS conference in Philadelphia and brought back ideas both for the school and the Jewish Community Center’s teen programs.
Goldberg has more than 10 years of experience as a Jewish educator and has attended numerous conferences and seminars. She came to Louisville from Baltimore, where she attended Baltimore Hebrew University and earned a master’s in Jewish communal service and a graduate certificate in Jewish education. She also holds a master’s degree in clinical social work from the University of Maryland.
In addition to her work at the High School of Jewish Studies, she teaches sociology at Ivy Tech Community College in Sellersburg, IN.
Goldberg is married to Matt Goldberg, and is the daughter of University of Louisville professors Mark and Laura Rothstein.
Prior to the start of the school year, students are invited to come together for a fun weekend of camping at Camp Livingston from August 17-19. Information regarding that will be mailed. Questions regarding the High School of Jewish Studies should be directed to hsjslisa@insight bb.com.