WHIZIN CENTER FOR CONTINUING EDUCATION
The Whizin Center for Continuing Education (WCCE) is dedicated to life-long learning. Our multidisciplinary program features a wide variety of courses that make for meaningful personal experiences which can lead to new insights into the world and the community. A variety of courses in Jewish studies, Hebrew language, the arts and personal growth are offered, in addition to special seminars, all-day institutes, public lectures and residential study experiences. WCCE endeavors to enrich all aspects of Jewish life – the cultural and intellectual, the artistic and religious, the political and social – to ensure the creative continuity of the Jewish people.
The WCCE distinguished faculty includes scholars and noted specialists at American Jewish University, as well as experts in their field from around the country.
DORTORT PROGRAM FOR THE ARTS
Theater, opera, comedy, concerts and more are all part of American Jewish University’s highly acclaimed Dortort Program for the Arts, which has become known throughout Los Angeles for featuring some of the greatest talents of stage and screen. Performances, which take place in the University’s acoustically outstanding Gindi Auditorium, attract arts aficionados from across Southern California.
BIBLE AND ARCHAEOLOGY
The Simmons Family Charitable Foundation Annual program in Biblical Archaeology, presented at the University since 1980, features a day-long program with outstanding scholars from around the world. This highly acclaimed program brings news of fascinating explorations and discoveries in the field of Archaeology and the Bible.
CELEBRATION OF JEWISH BOOKS
The Celebration of Jewish Books is a major cultural, educational and literary program which uplifts and galvanizes the Los Angeles Jewish community and provides a center for vibrant intellectual discourse. Consisting of a week-long series of book-oriented events with author readings, celebrity appearances and entertainment for people of all ages, the Celebration features some of today’s most recognized and emerging Jewish authors, covering issues of interest to a cross-section of LA’s Jewish community.
GELLER SCREENWRITING PROGRAM
Bruce Geller was a prodigious story teller. Best known as the creator/writer/producer of the Mission: Impossible television series, Mr. Geller also wrote novels, songs and screenplays. In his honor, through the generosity and support of his wife, Jeannette Geller (ז׳ל), our great tradition of story telling will thrive. The Geller Screenwriting Competition is open to everyone, but all entries must include some element of Judaism. The top prize of $15,000 will insure the propagation of Jewish stories on an unprecedented scale.
Bible and Archaeology
The Simmons Family Charitable Foundation Annual program in Biblical Archaeology, presented at the University since 1980, features a series of eight lectures each fall with outstanding scholars from around the world. This highly acclaimed program brings news of fascinating explorations and discoveries in the field of Archaeology and the Bible.
GITTELSON SEMINARS: Relationships Between Law and Ethics
This series of five seminars, made possible by a grant from Pat and Arnold Gittelson, deals with the concept that ethics and morals are the products of a religious tradition. Many believe that one of Judaism’s most important contributions to Western civilization has been the ethical code found in the Torah and the extensive body of rabbinic literature that followed. Judaism has a history of striving to create a system of ethical behavior that is simultaneously realistic and sensitive to the rights of the individual and society. This seminar is approved for MCLE credit by the State Bar of California.
PUBLIC LECTURE SERIES
Since 2002, the University’s Public Lecture Series has brought prominent world leaders and media personalities to share their perspectives on our rapidly changing world. Each year, in four intimate and memorable evenings, over 5,000 people gather in the Gibson Amphitheatre to participate in this exciting series.
With over 33 levels of classes offered, the Hebrew Ulpan program helps students develop all four skills of language acquisition: reading, writing, speaking and listening. Our curriculum features a wide variety of class levels to meet the needs of all students who join our program. Our skilled and experienced teachers are known for their personable and effective teaching. We offer classes in Yiddish language for those who want to connect with the native tongue of nearly three-quarters of all Jews of only a couple of generations ago. This uniquely Jewish language is one of the richest in the world, full of expressions of pathos, wit and wisdom. Our instructors, among the best on the West Coast, give you the opportunity to enrich yourself while having fun.
MAKING MARRIAGE WORK
The Making Marriage Work Program at American Jewish University offers 10-week seminars for couples both at the pre-marital stage and at various stages of their married lives. The course provides an opportunity for couples to explore their expectations, their histories and their personalities, together. The licensed clinical therapists teach communication skills, provide training in conflict resolution, discuss issues such as intimacy, questions about having children, dual careers, finding time for each other, task allocation, relating to families and friends, emotional meaning of money, and other topics vital to the success of a marriage. At the conclusion of the course, money management is covered in a special session. Additionally, spiritual aspects of marriage are discussed by our rabbis in sessions to show how Judaism enriches the life of a Jewish couple and family.
MARRIAGE FOR LIFE WEEKEND
All you need is love… and this weekend, held yearly at our Brandeis-Bardin campus, a 3,000 acre retreat center nestled in the beautiful Santa Susana Mountains. It consists of three tracks: Making Marriage Work – for couples considering marriage, engaged or recently married; Newly Married – for couples who have been married less than two years; and Marriage “Check-Up” -- for couples married two to ten years. Topics include communication and conflict resolution, love and intimacy, keeping the spark alive, family planning and money management. All tracks are open to both Jewish and Interfaith couples and include sessions with a licensed therapist, rabbi and financial planner.
THE WAGNER HUMAN SERVICES TRAINING PROGRAM
The Wagner Human Services Training Program, in existence since 1981, is an intensive two-year course designed to train volunteer counselors to help people cope with a variety of life situations. The Program meets one day a week during the academic year. The two-year extensive academic training is invaluable. During this time, students gain a much better understanding of themselves, their relationship with others, and are able to carry this knowledge into the community. The program’s uniqueness stems from the varied subjects covered.
Those who complete the Program are qualified to work as paraprofessionals under the direction of mental health professionals in community agencies, congregations and organizations.
JACK AND BEL OSTROW LIBRARY
The merger of the Jewish Community Library with the Ostrow Library at American Jewish University has resulted in the largest and most prominent collection of Jewish books in the Southern California area. Monthly book events are being offered to meet the needs of the entire Jewish community, featuring well-known authors speaking on a variety of subjects ranging from comedy to sports to politics.
THE MARILYN AND SIGI ZIERING BRANDEIS COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE (BCI)
The Marilyn and Sigi Ziering Brandeis Collegiate Institute (BCI) is a 26-day intensive experience in Jewish learning, culture and community for young adults from around the world, ages 18 to 26. BCI offers young Jewish adults an exploration of self and Judaism within a safe, pluralistic community. BCIers work with and learn from some of our people’s most compelling, talented scholars and artists to experience the multifaceted aspects of Jewish life and culture, and to explore who they are as Jews. Please visit http://bci.ajula.edu for more information.
Gan Alonim Day Camp and Camp Alonim overnight camp partner with parents to raise the next generation of “menschy” Jewish adults by providing an emotionally and physically safe environment where campers can build self-esteem, grow their independence, practice decision making skills and learn to get along with others in a social setting; by bringing Judaism to life through music, dance, learning and social justice in an environment where Jewish values are not only taught, but lived by our staff; by bringing together campers from all levels of Jewish background to participate in our cross-denominational community where we ensure that all feel comfortable while, at the same time, stretching to reach a new level of understanding and meaning. Camp Alonim views every activity and every element of camp as a “gateway”, an opportunity to discover a spark that will ignite a life-long love of Judaism.
ROAD SCHOLAR (formerly Elderhostel)
Since the spring of 1985, the University has been sponsoring week-long experiences of Jewish study, cultural enrichment and personal renewal for up to100 people from all over the nation. This program, which now takes place at our beautiful Brandies-Bardin campus in Simi Valley, is offered in cooperation with the Road Scholar organization – a worldwide network of over 1,800 colleges and universities offering low-cost, short-term residential programs of study for people age 55 and older. Participants in the program not only expand their minds but will be in the company of other people who believe that learning is one of the best parts of life.