Project Zug: Connecting through Online Learning

Organization: Project Zug (Fiscal Sponsor: Mechon Hadar & Panim), New York, NY

Grant Year: 2016

Project Director: Rabbi Avi Sarah Killip

Type of Grant: Signature

Grant Amount: $150,000.00 (3 years)

Website: https://www.projectzug.org/

To make personally tailored online Jewish chevruta learning accessible to Jews around the world.

Project Zug has participants from across the religious spectrum and from a total of 14 different countries. The content of their courses are presented in both English and Hebrew. Project Zug is expanding the definition of “Jewish learning” by offering courses on topics that include the spirituality of Leonard Cohen’s music, architecture in the Bible, mindfulness and mysticism, history, philosophy, art, culture, etc.

Project Zug offers two semesters each year – spring and fall. Once a participant has signed up for a particular semester, Project Zug matches them with a learning partner who also wants to take that course. They meet online weekly through web conferencing. Each meeting lasts about 45 minutes, guided by a “source sheet” for that week – a page of texts provided in both Hebrew and English, as well as many thoughtful questions which are designed to promote meaningful conversation. The course includes videos from the course teacher, offering guidance and instruction. The participants decide when to meet online, making their own schedule as they go.

In the past, each course was 10 weeks long. Through this grant, Project Zug will create a new set of introductory-level courses that are each 4 weeks long, which will be a more reasonable length for those with no previous experience in Jewish text study.