Sephardic Students a ‘Core Constituency,’ Says Head of International Program at Israeli College

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Edited by: TJVNews.com

 

Rabbi Elie Mischel, head of the Jerusalem College of Technology’s (JCT) International Program in English, will be the scholar-in-residence at the Sephardic Institute & Synagogue in Brooklyn during the Shabbat of November 12-13 as part of a nationwide tour to raise awareness around the Israeli college in American Jewish communities.

Rabbi Mischel, who will give lectures at the synagogue’s main and teen services as well as at Seudah Shlishit, explains that JCT has a large number of Sephardic students and that Tefillah at the school is usually held in accordance with the Sephardic custom. In a partnership with Yeshivat Moreshet Yerushalayim, gap year students from the Syrian community study Torah at the yeshiva in the morning and take business courses at JCT three times per week in the afternoon in order to obtain college credit.

While mainstream Orthodox institutions in the U.S. are mostly Ashkenazi-dominated, Sephardic Jews make up the majority of the Jewish population in Israel. Therefore, although JCT does not officially track the proportions of Sephardim and Ashkenazim within its student body, Rabbi Mischel says it stands to reason that Sephardim would account for at least 2,000 of JCT’s 4,500 students.

“At JCT, Sephardic students are not just a ‘minority group’ like they are often considered in the American Jewish community, but rather, they are a core constituency of the student body,” he says, noting that during a recent Shabbaton at the JCT campus, the majority of the songs that students sang at Shabbat meals were Sephardic.

JCT’s International Program recently appointed Rabbi Mischel, a beloved rabbi from Livingston, N.J., as its new head. Rabbi Mischel made Aliyah with his wife and four children this past August, fulfilling a lifelong dream of becoming an Israeli citizen and moving to Israel.

The International Program offers students who are not fluent in Hebrew the viable opportunity to live and study Torah in Israel while pursuing a prestigious academic degree in Computer Sciences or Business Administration. The program’s comprehensive double curriculum combines high-level academic studies, enriching Jewish studies, and practical professional training.

“The groundswell of interest in studying and living in Israel represents a highly encouraging development for the present and future of our International Program,” Rabbi Mischel says. “We are poised to enhance and expand JCT’s status as a go-to destination for students from around the world who are seeking a much sought-after balance between Torah and academics as well as the fulfillment of their dreams of living in Israel, whether it be temporarily as students or more permanently through Aliyah.”

 

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