Students will participate in two sessions with a break in the middle for lunch or dinner. One course will be the “core” subject and the other will be an elective. On occasion, guest speakers may address the students or we will go off site for field trips. Electives will be chosen by the student and will, in most cases, change with the semester. Priority will be given to students with the highest attendance.

There will be supplemental activities throughout the year including participation in city wide and Jewish communal events. More information about that will be sent as the program approaches.

Ninth Grade Core

Chai Mitzvah

Chai Mitzvah focuses on Mussar, the Jewish spiritual practice of character development, by emphasizing a different virtue or middah with each session. Mussar literature emphasizes character development, essential for teens who are in a time of personal discovery.  Each Chai Mitzvah topic is linked to a different middah, so that students may be part of the global Chai Mitzvah conversation. The course includes relevant text study, social action opportunities, and suggestions for meaningful ritual observance.

Instructor: Cantor Lipp

Jewish Relationships

How do we relate to ourselves, to others, to God?? What does it mean to love? What does it mean to hate? How do we exist as human beings in our relationships? What does it mean to lovingly exist as an “I”? What does it mean to exist as a “we”? Is it ethical to relate to someone else in a manner that is entirely selfish?  How does our Jewish Tradition influence our answers to these questions? While there are no right answers to these questions, through our thoughts, feelings, and stories, we will begin searching for some of the answers to these questions in order to define who we are and who we will be.

Instructor: Solange Minstein

Tenth Grade Core


Students will meet with their respective rabbis to prepare for confirmation, which will be held at their home congregations on Shavuot. Requirements for the course and confirmation are at the discretion of the individual rabbis and questions should be directed to them:

Eleventh and Twelfth Grade Core

The Drama of the Tanach

Television shows like “Pretty Little Liars” and “Orange is the New Black” seem like “Sesame Street” when compared with the tangled plotlines, complex relationships, and problems faced by our ancestors in the Tanach! These aren’t our elementary school stories: The Tanach is full of adult issues and leaves us with questions that beg to be explored. In The Drama of Tanach, we’ll use dramatic games and improvisational techniques to uncover the motivations behind the choices, fill in gaps in the text, and create midrashim to help us connect with the text and decide how it speaks to our lives today. We’ll also get a taste of how the great rabbinic commentators answered our questions, and discover how the text resonates in our time. The primary goal of this course is to help high school age students connect with the text on a personal level.

Instructors: Allison Feit


These courses are on a semester schedule, unless noted otherwise. Most electives will be offered for one term only. All courses may not be offered each calendar year. Priority registration will be given to those with higher attendance.

Students will participate in “elective speed dating” on our first day and then vote to determine which electives will be offered. Examples of electives are below.

Hagoof U’Neshama: Body and Soul

An Intro to Jewish Bioethics

In this course we will explore several topics relating to health and medicine, as well as what Judaism says about the mind and spirit. Topics will include nutrition, abortion, and genetics, among others. All classes are discussion based; if there are opposing viewpoints then all sides will be addressed and everyone will be encouraged to express their opinions without judgement. Be ready to come to class with an open mind!

Instructor: Bonnie McCullagh

Jewish Feminism

Judaism has a rich tradition of strong female figures such as Lilith, Esther or Yael. With this class we will discuss the feminist outlooks and conventions within some very famous Jewish female centered stories, as well as discussing gender outlook on Judaism as a whole.

Instructor: Solange Minstein

Moot Beit Din

Jewish Law and Order

Moot Beit Din exposes high school students to the vitality of the Jewish legal system and helps them to fine-tune their critical thinking skills by applying halakhah (Jewish law) to hot topics such as stem cell research or immigration policy. Grappling with current issues from a rabbinical perspective, students learn to think on their feet, connect the past and the present, and create a compelling case. Assigned an issue of contemporary moral significance teams of high school students pore over relevant halakhic sources and produce written arguments. They then present their oral reports and defend their conclusions before a panel of judges while they are all gathered together for a weekend-long Shabbaton. This will be a two-semester course, culminating in a trip to the national Moot Beit Din competition March 16-19, 2017. Preference given to older students who can commit as one of 4 team members privileged to represent our school at the competition.

Instructors: Cantor David Lipp, Rabbi Michael Wolk and The Honorable Jennifer Liebson

Scattered Fragments

The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Cairo Geniza, and the Impact of Biblical Archaeology on our Understanding of Torah for Today

What do the discoveries of Biblical Archaeologists and Medieval Historians teach about the Torah for today?  Who were the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls and how can these ancient texts provide us a window to their world?  What were the treasures of the Cairo Geniza and how could they have been passed by for so many years before Solomon Schechter would “discover” their wonder?  How can this “sacred trash” of wood and stone help us to understand the world of our ancestors and the Bible which they have passed down to us?  The answer to these and other timeless questions awaits you as we study the words of Torah through ancient eyes

Instructor: Rabbi Rapport

American Jewish History, Louisville Jewish History, Your Jewish History

Where do you come from? Who are your people? How did your family come to this exact place and time? Share the stories which brought generations of our families to Louisville and to this Golden Land. Learn how our stories are a part of a greater journey which brought waves of our people to this land of freedom and opportunity over the course of 350 years and more. This course concludes with a bus tour of old Jewish Louisville with stops at the sites and structures of our old synagogues, historic homes, cemeteries, and neighborhoods.
Instructors:  Rabbi Rooks-Rapport

Comparative Religions

How does God communicate with humanity? How do different people throughout space and time experience the Divine? How do people of various religions throughout the world live, interact with one another, experience the world, attribute meaning to their lives, live ethically, and experience life itself? This class takes an exploratory journey through our world’s religions, and helps us to see how we, as Jews, fit into the puzzle of the human experience.

Instructor: Matthew Derrenbacher


Teens wrestle with questions concerning God. Whether it’s the image of God that they have been taught or believed since they were young children, or a new god-image they are beginning to develop as they learn more about the world around them, their religion, and their own personal beliefs. Students will have the opportunity to ask and explore theological questions and concerns and learn from each other as they come to define their personal image of and relationship to their God.

Instructor: Cantor Lipp

The Invisible Chariot

A Young Person’s Guide to Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah

Together we will explore the roots of Jewish magic and mysticism, the text and traditions that lie at the heart of Kabbalah. How do the new age fascinations with Tarot Cards, Palm Reading, and Astrology find their beginnings in Jewish mystical arts? How can we read the stories of our people, from the Bible to Chasidic tales, to find the sacred meaning that lies beneath the surface? How can we learn to read between the lines of our sacred text and our everyday lives to find the spiritual journey that lies there waiting for us, simply to begin?

Instructor: Rabbi Rapport

Jewish Encounters with Islam: An Introduction

This course seeks to introduce Jewish students to Islam, as a religion, a culture, and as a significant force in both the past and present.  The main focus will be on the long and storied history of interactions between Jews and Muslims, and how these encounters have led to the present state of Jewish/Muslim relations. Also, we will have the opportunity to hear from members of the Islamic community of Louisville, who will share with us personal stories of their faith and their relationship with our city.

Jewish Entertainment

From Chelm to Broadway (Now Playing at a Theater Near You!)

Sholem Alechim said: “This is an ugly and mean world…and only to spite it, we mustn’t weep. If you must know, this is the constant source of spirit and my humor.”  The number of famous Jewish actors, writers, comedians, impresarios, film makers and entertainers far outstrip the percentage of population.
Jews are responsible for movies (Hollywood as a movie center was started by five Jewish immigrants); comedy (they didn’t invent Vaudeville, but they sure supplied the talent); and Broadway shows (the Shubert Brothers operated seventeen separate Broadway theater houses, at one point owning, operating or supplying acts to 1,000 theaters across the US).

The class surveys the many contributions, accomplishments, and acts of the men and women who at one point, were some of the most-well known people in the world (even if the world didn’t know they were Jewish). Class wraps up with a survey of the Hollywood Black List and the not-so-incidental impact on the Jewish entertainment community.

Instructor: Solange Minstein

Jewish Ethics

…or How to be a Mensch in the Age of Facebook

What do we do when confronted with gossip, cheating in school, hurtful comments on social networking sites and other difficulties? Dive into what our ancient tradition can teach us about these modern issues we all face.

Instructor: Rabbi Wolk

The Jewish League: Judaism and Superhero Comics

Comics are an incredibly rich medium, one that has bled over into other forms of media. Comic movies are blockbuster hits; television adaptations proliferate. Halloween costumes for the latest superhero de jour fly off the shelves. The wealth of comics has one overarching link, at least in their origins: the Jewishness of their creators and creations. The comic book industry as we know it first came into existence in the late 1930s. Superman, also known as Kal-El, had his first appearance in 1938. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, two Jewish men, were his creators. Kal-El was placed in a spaceship, by his parents, to be rescued from the destruction of his people and sent to a new world. To those familiar with the Torah, that reads a lot like the story of Moses.

This course will explore the historical context for the initial founding of superhero comics in the WWII era by examining some of the big-name creators and characters from this time. These characters will serve as a springboard and guidepost for tracing Jewish influence in the comics industry throughout the different eras and to the modern day. Time will also be spent on cinematic adaptations, to see how Jewishness makes it to the small or big screen. Magneto’s backstory as a Shoah survivor is enshrined in film, whereas characters such as Kitty Pryde have their Jewishness neatly sidestepped. By the end of the term, students will have a better appreciation of Judaism as a foundational thread for superhero comics and how the role of Jewishness continues to evolve within comics culture.

Instructor: Bonnie McCullagh

Jewish Pitch Perfect

Love to sing? Whether it’s Debbie Friedman or Louis Lewandowski, Jewish music has always borrowed musical styles from the cultures that have hosted us.  Come and learn some music to sing together, in harmony, new and old. Minimum of 10 students need to enroll and agree to participate in a few performances around the community.

Instructor: Cantor Lipp

Jews in Science

Jews have had a major impact in many fields, but perhaps none as notable and world-changing as in the fields of science and medicine. Explore how the world works, and where we’d be, if it were not for the contributions of Jews in Science.

Instructor: Lev Rooks-Rapport

Jews in Sports

In this class, we will be discussing the contributions and accomplishments of different Jewish “players” in sports, ranging from athletes to managers to inventors. The class will examine the effect different Jews have had on certain sports.

Instructor: Allison Feit

Jews in The News

“Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
–Ferris Beuller.
A Jewish View of the Daily News, from here and around the world.  Tune in each week as we share YouTube clips, Trending Topics, Israel Updates, print and new media material keeping track of what’s happening in the Jewish world and a Jewish perspective on world news as well.  Topics to be chosen by the class, the moment, and the Jewish values beneath them all.

Instructor: Rabbi Rapport

Jews, Judaism, and Talmud in Video Games

What do we Jews have in common with video games? A lot, actually! Explore the evolution of video games through a Jewish lens. We will take a look at video games produced and written by Jews, starring Jews, exploring Jewish themes, all while confronting online/virtual antisemitism.

Instructor: Matthew Derrenbacher

Judaism in Unlikely Places

We hear about Judaism in the Deep South, Alaska or other places we may not expect to find a great number of Jews. Surprisingly, you can find Jews hidden in Spanish colonialism, sheltered among the Japanese in World War II or just off the beaten path in India. We will be exploring all these Judaic cultures and more around the world with this class, as well as how Jews ended up in some unlikely places.

Instructor: Solange Minstein

Living Lessons of the Holocaust

A conversation about the causes, costs and ongoing conflicts embedded within this most challenging moment in the modern age.  Where was God during the Holocaust? Where was our humanity? Who was responsible and who was complicit in the destruction of European Jewry, and the millions of others who perished by their side? What can we learn from the millions of words, myriad of songs, and artistic responses to the Shoah? How can we create a Jewish life for the 21st Century that can do more than merely survive, but flourish, for the sake of the fallen and for our own sake as well?

Instructor: Rabbi Rapport

Soul Food: Jewish Life from a Gastronomic Perspective

Students will learn about and discuss food issues within the framework of both Jewish tradition and contemporary life. They will gain an appreciation for and familiarity with Jewish values. Students will learn about Jewish traditions’ emphasis on combining spiritual and ethical meaning with the everyday aspects of life and will reflect on their own food choices and the social, environmental, ethical, and health implications of those choices.

Instructor: Allison Feit

Torah Toons

In this elective course, students will experience and be mentored through the production of an animated short subject based on Biblical content. From the Creative Development process of screenwriting, to Visual Development of Character Design and Storyboarding, through 2D animation, Sound Design and Editing, students will be assigned production responsibilities that suit their specific interests and skill levels to create this cartoon. This inaugural project will use the story of Balaam and the talking Donkey from the book of Numbers as its source material. Class size is limited to five participants in each of the four areas of production, for a total of up to 20 students.

Production roles:

Creative Development: up to 5 students
Visual Development: up to 5 students (artistic skill preferred)
Animation: up to 5 students (artistic skill preferred)
Sound Design/Editing: up to 5 Students

Instructor: Jai Husband

Torah Yoga

In each session, we will explore the different values and concepts that are shared between the Jewish tradition and the yoga tradition. We will also engage in the various poses or asanas that relate those values. No yoga experience is needed.

Instructor: Cantor Hordes and Allison Feit

Translation Sensation

Ever wondered what the Torah really says, but don’t want the stress of Academic or Chassidic Hebrew? Have no fear! Let Matthew/Mattiyahu Moreh’chem guide you through the World of Torah, teaching you the truth behind our modern Torah translations.

Instructor: Matthew Derrenbacher

Yiddish Language and Culture

The course will survey major Yiddish terms and the incorporation of Jewish words into common language, as well as the Ashkenazi customs that came along with the language. Methods will include learning phrases, viewing film clips of Yiddish theater and Yiddish stories as well as various practical activities.

Instructor: Solange Minstein