Imagine sitting down once a week with a group of like-minded Jewish friends. You learn and debate topics in Judaism that have always intrigued you. There is camaraderie, discussion, and encouragement. You leave more inspired in your personal journey, fortified by the connection shared by thousands of people like you all over the world.
This scene sounds unrealistic for a busy soldier or officer on base or deployed far from home. It can be challenging to create and keep up with Jewish connections in between the daily grind of military life. There are thousands of military personnel and their families worldwide who do not have many other Jewish Service Members around or do not have the opportunity to join nearby communities for Jewish classes, events, and services.
Enter JLI, the Jewish Learning Institute.
In an exciting new collaboration, JREP (Joint Religious Education Program – an official program of the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps) and the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council have teamed up with the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute to bring quality Jewish learning to military installations, making JLI’s highly acclaimed professionally developed courses on Judaism available to all Jewish Service Members stationed everywhere.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to finally say yes to the dozens of chaplains who have requested our courses. It is an honor to welcome soldiers and their families into the ranks of the 500,000+ JLI participants in 28 countries,” says Rabbi Zalman Abraham, Director of Vision and Strategic Planning at JLI, who has spearheaded this project.
JLI courses have been intriguing and inspiring thousands of students for more than two decades. The classes are designed to appeal to students at all levels of knowledge, including those without prior experience or background in Jewish learning.
The courses offered include something for every interest, with a choice of topics relating to spirituality, Talmudic ethics, history, and culture. Each class explores the most critical personal, community, and universal issues of our time, blending timeless wisdom with contemporary perspectives.
JLI will be providing three unique six-week courses this year. Taught by both Jewish chaplains and lay teachers, the professional and thorough curricula created by JLI will captivate students that fall anywhere on the spectrum of Jewish interest and observance.
These classes will take place both in-person and online. Everyone can join, regardless of where they are stationed or how many Jewish personnel are on base, ensuring that nobody gets left behind. The classes are available to all Service Members and their families, with priority given to those on active duty. The course textbooks can be sent to any location around the globe.
Rabbi Abraham shares one of the most significant aspects of this program’s impact: “We are hopeful that these courses will provide an uplifting and thought-provoking way for soldiers stationed in remote regions to bond with fellow members of the tribe and replace feelings of isolation with a sense of community and peoplehood.”