skip to Main Content

The Springfield Alliance for Jewish Education (SAJE) is a collaborative program emerging from a series of conversations between the area synagogues and agencies. We all believe that we are stronger together, and SAJE will help us build a stronger, more vibrant adult education program that celebrates the different ways you can learn Jewishly in the Lower Valley. Through community lectures, adult education classes, and a community-wide celebration of Jewish culture and arts, SAJE will bring people together to explore, grow, and learn Jewishly.

Project Zug Announcement

This is certainly an unprecedented moment. As the entire country settles into a practice of “social distancing” to protect the community against COVID-19, it is easy to feel separated from others and isolated from the world.

In Jewish tradition, the rabbis teach us that studying with another person is a more effective means of learning. Genesis Rabba teaches that, “just as a knife can be sharpened only on the side of another, so a disciple of a sage improves only through his study partner.”

In Jewish tradition, the rabbis teach us that studying with another person is a more effective means of learning. Genesis Rabba teaches that, “just as a knife can be sharpened only on the side of another, so a disciple of a sage improves only through his study partner.”

How do we balance these two truths? On the one hand, we know that our learning is greatly improved by the presence of other people. On the other hand, this moment calls for us to distance ourselves physically from one another. 

This year, SAJE launched a partnership with Project Zug, an online learning program that invites people to learn together through video technology or by phone. Although partners can certainly learn in person, the SAJE committee felt that people might like the flexibility to learn while physically distant. Although we never imagined that this moment would arrive, we are glad to have this technology to encourage us to draw close to one another in learning, even as we remain physically distant.

If you are looking to connect with another person in this moment, please consider signing up for Project Zug. There is no cost to participate in this program. You can sign up by going to Projectzug.org and click “sign up.” After you create an account, you can then click on “Course Sign Up.” During the course sign up process, please select that you are learning with Springfield Alliance for Jewish Education when responding to the partnership group question. Near the end of the application, you can enter the code SAJE in the discount code box. That will waive the normal registration fee. 

If you have arranged to learn with someone specific, you can enter their name. Otherwise, we will partner you up with someone based on your course selections. And just like that, you are off and learning! 

In moments like this, I believe it is important to look forward. We can accept a default future of isolation, or invent a future that is full of (virtual) connection! Please consider signing up for Project Zug and taking advantage of this wonderful program brought to you by the Springfield Alliance for Jewish Education, and sponsored by Bill and Susan Firestone. 

Project Zug: Learning in Pairs

What is Project Zug?

“Zug” means “Pair.”  Project Zug connects you to a partner (or partners) for the purpose of learning Jewish text. Based on your interest and schedule, you will be paired with someone in our local region to study during the course of several months. Project Zug is an opportunity to look at the world through Jewish text and with Jewish eyes, and join with Hadar Institute in New York City.

What is the process?

1. Register online at www.ProjectZug.org*

2. Select “SAJE” for the partnership group, and also enter SAJE as the registration code.

3. Choose your course

4. You will be matched with a partner (unless you already have one).

Not online? Contact Rabbi James Greene | 413.739.4715

With whom will I be paired?
You can be paired with a friend or with someone in the community. You can work together in person or online. You can pair with a friend, or we can help you find someone.

Schedule and Location:
Each Zug can create its own schedule to meet your needs. You can meet anywhere – such as the J’s coffee shop, your home, or online. The Springfield JCC will have space available for pairs to meet on Tuesday evenings.

What topics are there to choose from?
There are many options available for Jews of all backgrounds, observance levels and education levels. Dozens of topics include Jewish Pluralism, the music of Leonard Cohen, Kashrut, Shabbat Observance in Contemporary Israel, and much more. Sources are provided by Hadar Institute (www.hadar.org) and compiled by world renowned rabbis and teachers.

Do I need to know Hebrew?
All text is provided in translation.

What is the fee?
*$18 per person. Deliver check, payable to Springfield JCC, 1160 Dickinson St., Springfield, MA 01108, or pay by phone, 413.739.4715.

Please note, $18 registration fee is separate from Project Zug registration process.

Register for Project Zug online, www.ProjectZug.org, or contact Rabbi James Greene: 413.739.4715 | jgreene@springfieldjcc.org.

SAJE Sponsors: Springfield JCC, The Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts (Jewish Endowment Foundation), B’nai Torah, LYA, Sinai Temple, and Temple Beth El.