Is this just a Hebrew High School Program?

No.  This is not a Hebrew High School program.  It is a high-level Jewish program on leadership for Jewish High School Students.  While Hebrew High Schools may touch on multiple areas of study, JTLI is a focused program on the topic of leadership.  Also, unlike Hebrew High School programs, JTLI includes teachings and teachers who are both Jewish and non-Jewish.  Our outlook and basis is in Judaism and Jewish ideas, but our goal is to show the Jewishness of leadership itself and to inspire us to act as Jews who can lead in the wider world.

I’m not really sure that leadership is my “thing”.  Could I still go to this program?

Because JTLI is a Jewish program that emphasizes leadership, we are looking for kids who are motivated to understand what leadership is all about. If you don’t feel a strong interest in leadership and a future leadership role in your life, then JTLI may not be for you.

Is this program about how to be a Jewish leader, in the Jewish community?

JTLI is founded on the notion that Judaism exists to shape our character, to make us into moral leaders in all walks of life.  As such, JTLI seminars cover a wide variety of leadership topics, from politics to government and international relations, to thought leadership, to the arts, to social justice issues.  JTLI students are encouraged to develop their own vision and leadership path which may or may not lead them to leadership in the Jewish community.  Our goal, however, is not to shape only Jewish community leaders.  Our goal is to shape leaders of an infinite variety of types and roles–whatever bests suits the potential of each student.

Is this going to be a lot of extra work?

The JTLI program is a series of webinars/seminars where we meet with world-class leaders and explore topics of leadership in many spheres of life, including in Jewish texts.  There is no formal homework!  But we will ask you to engage deeply with the speakers and texts when classes are in session. And, we will encourage you to follow your strengths and pursue leadership projects that may come up for you in your life.

How long will each session be?

Each session is scheduled for one hour.

I am not local to the Washington DC area, can I still participate?

Yes, we offer a hybrid model using Zoom with our students outside the Washington DC area and strongly encourage local students to attend in person.

What if I can’t make it to a class?

We understand that life is complicated and sometimes you may get busy with other activities.  We require, however, that in signing up for JTLI, you commit to attending a minimum of 75% of the seminars.

Will there be tests or assignments?

All the required work is your participation in the seminars.  There will be no tests or required assignments. Students in year 2, however, will need to spend time outside of the sessions working on their chosen leadership project or mentorship.

I don’t fit conventional notions of a “typical” student in a Jewish high school program because of my gender identity, my sexual orientation, my disability, my race, my political views, because one of my parents isn’t Jewish, etc.  Am I going to feel comfortable at JTLI?

One of the central values of JTLI is that a genuinely Jewish perspective on the world is that of being an outsider.  While we often can “pass” as mainstream members of any society, we are eternally a people apart, never quite in the mainstream.  This insight, while often the source of persecution and suffering for us, has also been the source of tremendous creativity, wisdom, insight, and most importantly, leadership.  We very much hope that our student body will reflect a true diversity of human beings and experiences because this will only enrich our exploration of what it means to be a leader.  You will most certainly feel safe and welcomed at JTLI!

Am I required to participate in both years of the program?

Nope! While we certainly hope that year 1 will inspire you to participate in the year 2 practicum, it is not required.

Is there a cost to participate in JTLI?

Yes, registration is $500 to participate. Our esteemed faculty are experts in their respective fields who often lecture at the national and global level. Each class breaks down to about $32 per class.

What if I can’t afford the cost of the program?

We firmly believe that money should never be a barrier to participation. If you want to participate but can’t afford the specified cost, please reach out to us at rabbi@kolshalom.org and we will work with you to create a plan feasible for your situation.

I know someone who might be interested. Can I refer them to the program somehow? 

Absolutely! You can fill out our referral form and we will reach out to potential JTLI students through the information provided.