Online Course Proposal FAQs

How does proposing to teach a course online related to all of these other opportunities in the email from NHC?


Course Teacher Timbrel Artist-in-Residence Liturgist-in-Residence Hollander Social Justice Fellow
Teach a 4-6-session course Yes Yes No No
Develop community programming outside the Institute course structure No Yes Yes Yes


Can I play more than one of these roles at a single Institute?



Does this mean that I have to choose between proposing a course to the Course Committee and applying to teach a course as a Timbrel Artist-in-Residence (TAIR)?

No! Applicants for the Timbrel Artist-in-Residence positions can indicate on their application that they wish to be considered by the Course Committee if not selected as a TAIR for the 2021 Summer Institute. 


Am I eligible to apply to teach a course?

Most likely, yes! We believe and practice that everyone is both a teacher and a student. You don’t need to be a rabbi, or a professor, or have any specific background to teach – you need to show strong planning and depth of knowledge in your proposal. On the course proposal form, you’ll have space to provide details of what you plan to cover during your sessions.

Many NHC community members come to Institute for the first time as a teacher. The Course Committee aims to select courses taught by a diverse group of teachers, including a mix of those who have taught at NHC events in the past and those who are new (or relatively new) to the NHC. To support such a mix, those who have taught courses at the last 3 consecutive Institutes are not eligible to apply this year.

We are particularly eager to learn from and with people with identities and Jewish experiences that have been under-represented among our teaching ranks in the past, in recognition of the missed opportunities for rich learning in which our community could have participated with a more diverse set of teachers. Our goal is to recruit and support a teaching team (including course teachers and the array of residencies) that includes a critical mass of Jews of color, Sephardi, Mizrahi [JOCSM], disabled, and/or otherwise under-represented folks. We encourage everyone who is interested in teaching to apply, as the Course Committee aims to assemble a course roster that is diverse along many axes, from teacher background to experience teaching at Summer Institute to course topics and approach.


What makes a good course proposal?

Propose a course you’re passionate about; make it something unique that you’re likely not going find anywhere else. We encourage you to propose topics that you have found to be of special interest in your local havurot, minyanim, or other learning contexts. Please provide details of what you plan to cover during the four sessions, including how the students will be engaged in the course. Tell us about your vision – What are you doing? What are the students doing? At Summer Institute, every student is a teacher and every teacher is a student, and we want to know about the structure you will build for that shared learning.

As a guide, you may wish to view these proposals, accepted in 2018 or 2019, from Yavni Bar-Yam, Sarah Beller, and Sherry Israel, to get a sense of the depth and detail that the Course Committee expects. You may also wish to view the descriptions of courses offered at last year’s Institute. To request a conversation with a member of the course committee before submitting your application, contact us at, with the understanding that we can only comment on whether your ideas are clear and specific enough to produce a strong proposal, not on its chances of acceptance. Until we have a group of proposals to work with, we can’t predict how we will make choices to produce a diverse and balanced roster.


What is the basic structure for Summer Institute courses?

Most courses will meet for 60-90 minutes 2-3 times a week for two weeks; July 25, 2021- August 8, 2021 either in the morning or the evening. Teachers can choose how many participants they would like to teach to online, although we suggest classroom sizes of 40 people to ensure everyone can participate in Institute in as many ways as possible.  We will also offer training sessions to teachers to go over best practices, pedagogy, Zoom and guidelines.

Teachers should expect a diverse group of students with differing viewpoints, and should be open to lively discussion in an environment that promotes openness and mutual respect.  Participants select their courses when they register for the Institute. Teachers will have access to their class roster on our online platform, Sched, though roster changes are likely to occur once since classes can be added and dropped online at any moment.


On what topic should I propose a course?

Courses can be on any Jewish subject or theme: text study, religious life, spirituality, contemporary issues, history, literature, art, music, personal growth, meditation, or whatever someone dreams up. Again, last year’s course descriptions can be found HERE. However, many long-time Institute attendees will tell you that it’s not really the topic that makes a good course; it’s the teacher’s ability to engage the students in the exploration of a topic that the teacher finds compelling and exciting. 

Courses may not be not restricted by gender, age, religious practice, or ideology. Some courses may require specific background (such as Hebrew reading skills, previous experience studying Jewish texts, or the ability to read music); please describe the expectations clearly in your application. Proposals for courses largely available in the broader Jewish community, such as teaching specific liturgical skills like reading from the Torah, are not generally accepted.


What level of text study background can I assume for a text-based course?

Text-study courses can be divided into three categories:

Advanced Text courses usually require experience with traditional text study and ability to read texts in their original language (usually Hebrew and/or Aramaic), and they may presume familiarity with other source material.

Intermediate Text courses assume some familiarity with traditional text study but don’t require participants to work independently in Hebrew/Aramaic. These courses generally provide texts in translation but may also refer to the original languages.

Text for Everyone courses provide all sources in translation and do not assume any previous experience with text study.

Do I have to pay to attend Institute if I am a course teacher?

To recognize the work teachers put into their courses and to ensure anyone invited to teach is able to afford to do so, NHC reduces the bottom end of the sliding scale for registration to $0 for teachers. In other words, we are asking teachers to contribute financially according to a broader sliding scale, from $0-$750* toward the online platform, closed captioning services, staff, and other costs of running Institute. Teachers can decide for themselves how much they want to contribute toward the costs of participation. We encourage teachers to contribute financially to the extent they feel appropriate given their circumstances, with any amount teachers contribute as tuition to be considered a tax-deductible donation.  (As background, most adult NHC attendees are asked to contribute between $725-$1400 with a “sticker” price of $1100) for IN-PERSON as part of their registration). We prioritize making the Summer Institute financially accessible to all, including teachers.

All registrants, including teachers, must pay NHC membership dues of $40 per adult or $80 per family

NOTE: Financial arrangements are different for Timbrel Artists-in-Residence.


Can I co-teach a course with someone else?

Sure! If you and another person are proposing to co-teach a course, please submit a single online course proposal with the information for both teachers. Just note that if you are co-teaching a course with another person, the sliding scale for each of you will be $188-$750.


What is the policy on recording?

Sessions may be video recorded upon the session leader’s request and must be announced in your course proposal and course description.  Participants will also be notified in Zoom when a session leader begins recording.  If participants do not want to be recorded they may shut their video off.  NHC will not post video recordings on its website nor in social media outlets to protect participant privacy.  Sessions are the intellectual property of the course teachers and they may keep copies of the recordings.


How do I submit a course proposal?

Fill out an online proposal form.

If it’s easier for you, you can enter your information in a separate document and then copy or paste the text into the appropriate text entry area on the online form. NOTE: after submitting, you should receive an email acknowledging that your application was received and including a copy of the application.

Please contact us by email at if you have questions about submitting your proposal online. Thanks for submitting your course proposal as soon as you can.

Please contact us by email at if you have questions about submitting your proposal online. Thanks for submitting your course proposal as soon as you can. 


How many course proposals can I submit? 

You may submit up to two course proposals for consideration. Please complete the online form in its entirety for each course you are submitting. 


When will I be notified if my course was accepted?

The Course Committee will notify you of the status of your proposal by mid-March. Teachers of accepted courses will be asked at that time to commit to teach at the 2021 Institute

We receive many course proposals, and we regret that we cannot accept them all. Should your class not fit into this year’s mix, we may suggest that you resubmit the course for a future Institute, and/or offer a scaled-down version as a workshop at this year’s Institute. We appreciate your understanding that not all proposed courses can fit into a given year’s program.


What are other ways that I can teach at Institute?

Anyone attending the Summer Institute is welcome to teach a one-hour workshop on any relevant topic. Workshops typically take place between courses on a daily basis (between 12 and 5 pm ET). Information on how to present a workshop will be posted in the spring. On a smaller scale, you can teach a folk song or niggun (wordless melody) during group singing experiences or share your relevant knowledge during a class discussion. Opportunities to teach are abundant since we are a community that is always learning!

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