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LSJS celebrates first graduates of its new education courses

Chief Rabbi hails extraordinary success of college as new BAs and MAs are awarded in degree ceremony

    The London School of Jewish Studies this week celebrated the first graduates of its new education courses approved by Middlesex University.

    Four students received certificates for their BA in education from Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, president of LSJS, while 14 gained MAs in Jewish education.

    The part-time MAs included nine rabbis, among them Rabbi Joseph Dweck, deputy president of LSJS. 

    While the part-time BA is intended to be taken over four years, combining day-time classroom teaching with evening lectures, its first graduating group completed it fast-track in three.

    “It is a tough degree to get,” said Jonathan Bach, director of teacher training. “It is a huge achievement for the graduates, who are working full-time, to manage to get a degree in their spare time.”

    The new course, he said, was “another step towards making the whole of Jewish education more professional”.

    Other rabbis gaining MAs included Rabbi Barry Lerer of Barnet Synagogue, Rabbi Dov Kaplan of Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue and Rabbi Mendel Cohen, leader of the Saatchi Shul in St John’s Wood.

    Educational consultant Esther Colman, a grandmother, said she had been “ready to throw in the towel” after the first term of the master’s course but was grateful to have persevered. “It has given me a broader and deeper view of Jewish education”, she said.

    MA dissertation topics ranged from information technology in Jewish education to rabbinic burn-out.

    Rabbi Mirvis hailed the “extraordinary achievements” in a ceremony on Monday at Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue. From this month, the new courses can be taken online.

    Rabbi Dweck will begin a new adult education lecture series on the philosophy of Maimonides at LSJS on Monday night.

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