The Pincus Fund for Jewish Education has assisted Torah MiTzion with two projects relating to their innovative online learning program Lilmod.org. The first of these projects established Lilmod.org as an online college teaching Jewish Studies to German and Russian speaking adults. Based on video conference technology and other technical infrastructure, instructors and students are able see and hear one another at all times, and the instructors are able to share documents on the whiteboard.
For the second project, Torah MiTzion has expanded the LILMOD.ORG initiative to include online interactive Jewish Studies classes in French in addition to the online courses already available in German and Russian. The project targets the French-speaking audiences around the world – many of whom live in areas where little or no Jewish learning activities are available. For them and the others who live in areas with more Jewish educational opportunities, LILMOD.ORG offers online classes with some of the best French-speaking teachers of Jewish Studies available. Many of these teachers are based overseas, with a large number residing in Israel.
The classes are divided into three semesters – one each in the fall and spring offering eight courses each (each course is made up of 13 lectures) and one “mini” semester in September-October, offering five courses (each course in the mini-semester is five lectures/ classes). Classes are offered at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels and need a minimum registration of 10 students to remain open. To help develop a genuine learning community, every course provides an online discussion forum that enables students to discuss the coursework – between scheduled classes – among themselves and with the instructor.
Examples of classes offered include the Science of Judaism; the Function of Halacha; the State of Israel Geopolitically; the Thoughts of Rabbi Leon Ashkenazi; the Philosophy of Prayer, among others. Discussions with Bar Ilan University are ongoing as they have expressed interest in granting academic accreditation for some of the courses offered by LILMOD.ORG. The evaluation of the project is overseen by an academic advisory committee whose members are based in Israel.