Torah learning options — as explored in a recent Jewish Study Center course…
One way of examining what is on the web is to consider the variety of formats, many of which appear in combination, available:
text and printable materials
hypertext and other interactive pages
On-line learning includes examples of each type. If can be useful to consider multiple formats either for regular study or in exploring a particular topic.
The web offers easy access to teachers and organizations all over the world. Without traveling from classroom to classroom, you can examine perspectives from different movements within Judaism on a particular Torah portion or topic. Some congregations have particularly content-heavy sites; often these are congregations with a particular welcome –to interfaith families or GLBTQ Jews, for example — or a strongly-focused social action agenda, e.g., “green” efforts or peace-building.
In addition many organizations, such as the American Jewish World Service, provide Torah learning opportunities — by surfing their websites, by regular subscription, or, in some cases by invitation to more fully interactive opportunities: on-line discussions, video conferences, etc.
Finally, the web offers the chance to learn with individual teachers around the world.
To take just one example, Reb Mimi Feigelson offers classes on Chassidut at American Jewish University Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. These are available to the general public as hour-long podcasts.
Reb Mimi teaches in English but often uses Hebrew phrases — referring sometimes to the PDF handout for the talk, sometimes to other concepts — and assumes a great deal of background. She is teaching rabbinical students, after all. The talks might seem overwhelming at first; HOWEVER, she is also very chatty and shares ideas that are understandable without any background…. if you just let anything you don’t understand roll on past, I think you’ll find she has plenty to offer. Here learning focuses on Chassidic teachers, including Mei Ha-Shiloach “the Living Waters” AKA the Ishbitzer Rebbe,
[more teachers and links coming]
[more to come]