Frequently asked questions
What level of Hebrew fluency do I need to enter the program?
We do not require students entering our programs to have a specific level of Hebrew fluency. However, students in the MA. Culture and Values Non-thesis (Jewish Education Option) are required to demonstrate mastery of the Hebrew language equivalent to Advanced Hebrew ([course short JWST 340]) prior to graduation. All students lacking in Hebrew knowledge are encouraged to consider spending a semester at an Israeli university or to seek other venues to enrich their language skills. Scholarship funds are available to support students wishing to improve their command of Hebrew and Judaism in general. In the past, JTTP students have been given the opportunity to enroll in Hebrew courses offered by local organizations, and have been offered informal Hebrew courses by a JTTP alumni who has taught language and pedagogical skills for the Hebrew classroom. The eric [dot] caplan [at] mcgill [dot] ca (program director) can advise you of any such offerings.
I have a BA in a discipline other than Jewish studies and would like to train to be a teacher of Jewish studies. Should I apply to the B Ed or MA options?
The MA does not provide certification to teach general studies. Accordingly, prospective students who wish to have the ability to teach these subjects as well (math, science, English…) should apply to the B Ed. The undergraduate option may also be attractive to students who have little background in Jewish studies. To be admitted directly into the MA students must demonstrate knowledge of Judaica equivalent to 36 undergraduate credits. Students lacking this background are required to take Jewish studies courses before beginning the program.
If I graduate from your programs, am I a certified teacher?
Students who graduate from the B Ed Kindergarten Elementary Education (Jewish Studies Option) are certified as elementary school teachers by the Quebec government. For further information on governmental certification check the Student Affairs Office.
Where will I do my field experiences?
Field experiences are done in schools in the Montreal area. Students in the B Ed Kindergarten Elementary Education (Jewish Studies Option) do their first and third experiences in a Jewish studies classroom. Students in the MA Education and Society Non-thesis (Jewish Education Option) do all of their placements in a Jewish context. Please consult the following website for a listing of Montreal's Jewish day schools.
What advantages does the McGill JTTP have over other programs?
Students of the JTTP benefit in many ways:
- McGill is a world-renowned university that has consistently scored in the highest rankings of post-secondary institutions
- Our Jewish studies courses are taught by renowned professors with years of experience in their areas of expertise
- McGill has reasonable tuition fees for Quebec residents, other Canadian residents, and international students (who may also benefit from the lower Canadian dollar)
- Montreal is an exciting, vibrant and cosmopolitan city with one of the lowest costs of living of all the major metropolitan areas in North America
- Our graduates have networking opportunities with a vast array of alumni serving in Jewish educational institutions throughout North America
Is it possible to finish the program ahead of schedule?
Some of our B Ed graduates have been able to complete the program earlier (eg. ½ year earlier) by taking additional courses during the semester, and/or some courses during the summer semester. Additionally, if you have previous university credits, you might qualify to have these credits counted toward your McGill degree. For additional information, contact the eric [dot] caplan [at] mcgill [dot] ca (program director) .
What job opportunities are available for me if I don’t necessarily want to teach Jewish Studies in Hebrew?
While our various programs prepare students to be able to teach Jewish Studies in Hebrew in the elementary or high school setting, some of our graduates go on to teach other subjects. Graduates of the B Ed program have found jobs teaching in English (or French, if bilingual) in Jewish schools, public schools, and private schools throughout North America. Because the B Ed program offers the possibility of certification by the Quebec government, it may be possible to obtain reciprocal certification in a number of other provinces and states. Further information can be obtained from the Student Affairs Office.
What job opportunities are available in the Montreal area while I am still studying?
The director of the JTTP maintains contact with a number of Jewish institutions throughout the Montreal area (eg. synagogues, camps, supplementary schools, day schools, etc.), which have periodic needs for qualified tutors, youth leaders, and teaching assistants. Students may also find job opportunities with a number of constituent agencies of Federation CJA.
What kinds of research options are available to students in the Montreal area?
Montreal is a centre of Jewish learning in Canada, and home to a number of libraries with Judaica collections. In addition to the extensive Judaica collection at McGill’s libraries, McGill students can apply for a CREPUQ card, which allows for limited borrowing privileges at a number of other Quebec universities, or use interlibrary loans. JTTP students also have the opportunity to become members of the Jewish Public Library, which houses a book collection that emphasizes Jewish topics such as Canadian Jewish history, the Holocaust, Israel and Biblical studies. Finally, our students can access the educational resources of the Bronfman Jewish Education Centre.
Montreal is also home to the Tal AM and Tal Sela programs, which are a unique curriculum of Hebrew Language Arts and Jewish Studies geared to students in Grades 1 to 6, and used by over 27,000 students in 355 schools around the world. JTTP students have the opportunity to visit the agency which produces these programs, and learn more about how these programs are implemented in the classroom before possibly using them in the classroom on a practical field experience.
What is Jewish student life like in Montreal?
Montreal is home to an active and vibrant Jewish community of over 82,000 individuals. There are a number of institutions at which Jewish students may find like-minded individuals. Here are a few:
- Hillel Montreal is located next to the McGill campus, and offers a number of programs and services for the student community.
- Named for the Student Ghetto east of the McGill campus that it calls home, the Ghetto Shul is a grass-roots student-run synagogue acting as a stronghold of Judaism for the downtown Montreal community.
- Located steps from McGill University, the Chabad Student Center serves the downtown Jewish student community.
- The YM-YWHA Montreal JCC offers student memberships for exercise and cultural programs.
- Montreal is home to a number of different synagogues, serving Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Orthodox congregations.
- Montreal is also home to a number of excellent Kosher restaurants, bakeries, butchers, grocers and hotels.
Do I need to know French to live in Montreal?
Although French is the official language of Quebec, the island of Montreal is home to a sizable English population, and a large proportion of its francophone residents are functionally bilingual. Our past students with no or limited French background have never had a problem adapting to life in Montreal. All McGill JTTP courses are taken in English (or Hebrew, where applicable).