“So what if I’m Jewish?”
If you ask yourself this question, then you pass the singular entry requirement to the JEWISH LEARNING PROGRAM at the Lauder Business School. This simple question, taken in all its possible intonations, meanings and nuances, defines the entire agenda of the Jewish Learning Program from beginning to end.
At the most basic level, “So what if I’m Jewish?” means something like: “Well, if it were up to me, I’d probably just as well not be Jewish.” And, in fact, such a honest self-understanding is the best point of departure. Beyond that, what qualifies a student to participate in JLP classes is the readiness to give such a So what? one additional degree of seriousness, the readiness to pursue this question actively and with an open mind, in a classroom, with the intention of getting some answers. The JLP agenda may therefore be defined as follows: To increase your self-transparency in your identity as a Jew.
Thanks to a group of Jewish philanthropists from Europe and the US who were so keen in promoting this agenda, the JEWISH HERITAGE FUND was established to finance extrinsic, hard-cash benefits to any Jewish LBS student who is willing to seriously ask herself or himself: “So what if I’m Jewish?”
“What are the benefits of being a JLP student?”
There are two hard-cash benefits: room and board. A JLP stipend contributes to your cost of living on campus, consisting of a clean bed and bathroom in a two- or four-bed room as well as three hot kosher meals per day in the campus Mensa prepared by a first-rate chef.
But the cash benefits of living on campus actually pale in comparison (believe it or not) to the priceless benefits of becoming a vital part of our small Jewish community. (If you don’t believe it, ask a current student or an alumnus.) The close and meaningful friendships that you will develop on the LBS campus; the joyful circles of friends into which you will be drawn; the warm Shabbat dinners and the bright Holiday festivities in which you will take part; the fact that you will be needed to join and also to help create a Purim event, a minyan, an evening of music, a movie night, a football game, a pumping-iron session in our state-of-the-art gym, a midnight group study session, a house party, a daytrip to Budapest or Prague or Salzburg—all of this makes up the exquisite vivacity of LBS campus life on which no price tag can be set.