2023 Course Proposal FAQs

2023 Course Proposal FAQs

Key Dates

January 19, 2023 Course application opens

February 15, 2023 Application deadline

Late March, 2023 Teachers notified

August 4-8, 2023 Summer Institute

Submit Propoosal

Curious what a week at in-person Summer Institute looks like?  Click here to see our program guide from Summer Institute 2019 at the University of Hartford, CT.

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 have not been eligible to apply –but for 2023 we are suspending this protocol.

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 that include 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 havurotminyanim, or other learning contexts. The Core Team also develops a theme for every Institute and we welcome applicants to keep the theme in mind for their courses, as well.  Please provide details of what you plan to cover during the 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-YamSarah 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 the 2019 Summer Institute. To request a conversation with a member of the course committee before submitting your application, contact us at courses@havurah.org, 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.  If you have any questions about equity and inclusion, please contact the Course Committee.


 How do participants select their courses?

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 be provided a class roster prior to the start of Institute once registration closes.


What is the basic structure for Summer Institute courses?

Single courses will meet for 90 minutes in either the morning or the afternoon on Sunday and Monday. Double courses will meet twice each of those days for a total of 180 minutes. In your application, please indicate whether you prefer a “single” or “double” format. Classes are generally capped at 20 students.


On what topic should I propose a course?

Courses can be on any Jewish subject or this year’s theme: text study, religious life, spirituality, contemporary issues, history, literature, art, music, personal growth, meditation, or whatever someone dreams up.  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 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?

Teachers are offered free or reduced Summer Institute registration to recognize the value of their courses and because NHC prioritizes making Summer Institute financially accessible to all.

  • Teachers of double courses (four 90 minute sessions) will be offered free housing and free registration. 
  • Teachers of single courses (two 90 minute sessions) will be offered free housing and asked to pay half of the registration fee (approximately $250). 
  • As members of the community, teachers will pay NHC annual dues of $60 per adult or $120 per family at registration.

NHC asks that teachers remember that NHC relies on donations to plan and produce the Summer Institute and to support its year-round work. Therefore, we ask teachers to donate towards offsetting the costs of Summer Institute. Each teacher is free to consider whether and how much to contribute, and any amount contributed towards registration and housing will be considered a tax-deductible donation. 


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. 


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 courses@havurah.org if you have questions about submitting your proposal online. Thanks for submitting your course proposals by the deadline.


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 the end of March. Teachers of accepted courses will be asked at that time to commit to teach at the 2023 Institute and to fill out the registration form with added questions about their biographies, etc.

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  workshop on any relevant topic. Workshops typically take place between courses and are a shorter duration. 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!

Submit Propoosal


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