Hebrew College

Hebrew College is a college of Jewish studies in Newton Centre, Massachusetts. Founded in 1921, Hebrew College is committed to Jewish scholarship in a pluralistic, trans-denominational[1] academic environment. The president of the college is Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld. Hebrew College offers undergraduate completion and graduate degrees, Hebrew-language training, a rabbinical school, a cantorial program and adult-learning and youth-education programs.[2]

Hebrew College
Former name
Hebrew Teachers College
FounderLouis Hurwich
AffiliationBoston Theological Institute
PresidentRabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld
Location, ,


Founded in November 1921, as the Hebrew Teachers College, Hebrew College was one of eleven Hebrew teachers colleges established in the United States in keeping with the Hebraist model of Jewish teacher training. Hebrew College was originally located in Roxbury, Massachusetts and moved to Brookline, Massachusetts in 1952. The school opened with 23 students, with registration doubling by the following year. The founder of Hebrew College was Louis Hurwich,[3] superintendent of the Bureau of Jewish Education of Boston.[4] Nissan Touroff, former director of the Hebrew school system in Palestine, was appointed as its first dean. The Hebrew High School ("Prozdor") opened in 1923.[5]

Eisig Silberschlag became the dean of Hebrew College in 1947 and was named president in 1968.[6]

In the early years, all classes, regardless of the subject matter, were taught in Hebrew. In the early 1980s, as Jewish studies programs opened at more colleges and universities around the country, the policy began to change. Increasingly, classes were held in English, and Hebrew was reserved for language courses and advanced Jewish text study. [7]

During the 15-year tenure of Eli Grad, the fifth president of Hebrew College, the focus moved from teacher training to an emphasis on Hebrew culture programs and courses for the wider community.[8] In January 1987, after a period of decline, Samuel Schafler became the sixth president of Hebrew College and introduced new programming that expanded the student body significantly.[9] In the late 1980s, adult education classes were introduced that became the forerunner of the Me'ah program.[10] In 2001, Nehemia Polen established the Hasidic Texts Institute for the study of foundational Hasidic texts.[11] In 1993, David M. Gordis became the seventh president of the College. Daniel Lehmann was appointed the eighth president in July 2008. Sharon Cohen Anisfeld became the ninth president in 2018.

Internationally renowned architect Moshe Safdie designed and built the institution's Newton, Massachusetts facilities, completed in 2002. Hebrew College successfully refinanced its real estate debt in 2012, reducing its original bond obligation by 75% and securing its ownership of the campus.

Academic partnerships

In 2011, Hebrew College became a member of the Boston Theological Institute, a consortium of 10 theological schools and seminaries in the Boston area, including Boston University, Andover Newton Theological School, Boston College, Episcopal Divinity School, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Harvard University, Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and St. John's Seminary. When Hebrew College moved to its new campus in 2002, cooperation with the nearby Andover Newton Theological School (ANTS) led to the creation of the Center for Inter-Religious and Communal Leadership Education and several interfaith programs.[12] In 2014, it formed a partnership with Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., and collaborates in offering a Ph.D. in educational studies from Lesley with a specialization in Jewish educational leadership. Hebrew College has established a partnership with the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem to prepare Jewish Studies teachers for Jewish Day Schools in North America. It is also partnered with the revolutionary NETA Hebrew-as-a-second-language, hosting with NETA three certificate programs for Hebrew language educators. In 2012 Hebrew College established a partnership with Boston University's School of Management to provide a certificate in nonprofit management for Rabbis and rabbinical students.

Hebrew College and the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning Co-sponsored the Summit for Leaders in Adult Jewish Learning.[13]

Library facilities

The Rae and Joseph Gann Library has over 125,000 books, including special collections in modern Hebrew literature, Jewish medical ethics, Jewish education, Jewish genealogy, Holocaust studies, Hasidism, and Jewish children's literature. Through the Research Libraries Information Network students can access a database of 53 million books, journals, maps, records and cassettes drawn from Judaica collections across the United States. In addition, the College is a member of the BTI Library consortium and the Fenway Library Consortium, allowing access to local college, museum and public libraries.

Youth programs

In keeping with the idea of Jewish education as a lifelong pursuit, Hebrew College runs Prozdor, a supplementary Hebrew high school, and Makor, a supplementary Hebrew middle school.

Notable faculty

Notable alumni


  1. Meskin, Jacob (2002). "Answers Divide Us, Questions Unite Us". Archived from the original on January 4, 2004. Retrieved March 9, 2007.
  2. "Course Offerings - www.hebrewcollege.edu". www.hebrewcollege.edu.
  3. Hurwich, L. Zichronot Mechanech Ivri (Memories of a Hebrew Educator), Jerusalem, 1960.
  4. Hebrew College history Archived October 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  5. History of Hebrew College Archived January 29, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  6. "Eisig Silberschlag, 85, Hebrew College Chief". The New York Times. October 6, 1988.
  7. A Call to Revolution - Hebrew College Today Archived August 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  8. "Chicago Educator to Head Hebrew College", The Jewish Advocate, Lawrence Harmon, August 1986
  9. "Samuel Schafler, 62, Rabbi and Educator". The New York Times. April 5, 1991.
  10. Hebrew College Today - It's Never Too Late Archived July 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  11. Hasidic Text Institute - Jewish Studies at Hebrew College Archived October 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  12. Righteous Persons Foundation Supports Hebrew College/ANTS Interfaith Initiatives - Hebrew College Today Archived September 1, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  13. Judy Mars Kupchan; Dr. Bernice Lerner (November 16, 2014). "Boundary Crossers: Adult Jewish Learning Summit Explores Collaboration". eJewish Philanthropy. In a spirit of exploring opportunities for collaboration and learning, nineteen providers of adult Jewish learning gathered recently in Newton, MA. Co-sponsored by Hebrew College and the Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning, the Summit for Leaders in Adult Jewish Learning opened a long-overdue conversation about how to advance the place of adult learning in today's Jewish communal landscape..... Forty leaders crossed the boundaries of their own silos to consider common challenges, learn from respected faculty, and discuss the role of adult learning in building our Jewish future. Veteran organizations represented by Drisha Institute, Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, Hebrew College's School of Adult Learning, Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning, and the Wexner Heritage Program were joined by representatives of newer initiatives like Ayeka, Chai Mitzvah, Global Day of Learning, Kevah and Mechon Hadar. Our dialogue was enriched and cross-pollinated by a diversity of perspectives and multiplicity of goals, from engaging first-time learners to empowering adults to find relevance in deep and substantive text study.
  14. "Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies". hebrewjudaic.as.nyu.edu.
  15. "Her story is over: Paula Hyman (1946-2011)".
  16. Vitello, Paul (December 17, 2011). "Paula E. Hyman, Who Sought Rights for Women in Judaism, Dies at 65". The New York Times.
  17. "Frank Manuel Papers - Archives and Special Collections, Brandeis University". lts.brandeis.edu.
  18. "Jonathan D. Sarna - NEJS Faculty - Brandeis University". www.brandeis.edu.
  19. "Removal Notice" (PDF). www.sscnet.ucla.edu.
  20. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-26.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

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