Past and Present: Exploring Jewish New York

June 24-27, 2024 Rose Hill

New York City is the largest Jewish metropolis of all time, and also one of the most diverse. Since 1654, Jews from around the world have traveled to New York to seek refuge, opportunity, and community. Change has been an essential part of the New York Jewish community's growth. Once, the Bronx was the most Jewish borough. Now, Brooklyn is home to the most Jews, and the Bronx the fewest. Neighborhoods like the Lower East Side, sometimes called the Jewish Plymouth Rock, still bear traces of their immigrant pasts. In this course, students will experience the vibrancy of Jewish life and research at Fordham University while learning about the depth and breadth of Jewish history and culture in the city at large. Over the course of the program, participants will see Jewish New York in four dimensions; through time as well as space.

Please find the syllabus here.

Skills/Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be able to trace the history of Jewish life in New York City through time (from the mid-1800s to the present) and space (in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn).
  • Students will be able to connect various methods of historical research to the history they are being taught in school through first hand experiences, such as conducting oral history interviews, examining archival materials, museum visits, and walking tours.
  • Students from diverse backgrounds will work together to learn about the diversity of the city and its Jewish communities. 
  • Students will be able to advocate for current Jewish cultural institutions in their city to their peers and others.

Course Schedule

    • Understand the methods historians employ to interpret sources and construct historical narratives.
    • Assess and articulate background knowledge of Jewish New York history through a KWL (know, want to know, learned) activity.
    • Develop skills in analyzing primary source materials during an interactive scavenger hunt at the Center for Jewish Studies archives.
    • Collaboratively create a list of questions for an oral history interview based on insights from archival sources.
    • Engage with guest speakers from the Bronx and Brooklyn to gain firsthand perspectives on growing up in these boroughs.
    • Participate in a guided walking tour led by Dr. Soyer, visiting landmarks such as the Eldridge Street Synagogue and the Janina Synagogue.
    • Develop observational and inquiry skills by answering questions related to the tour.
    • Experience cultural immersion by having lunch at a nearby Kosher restaurant.
    • Explore the historical context of Jewish New York through a visit to the Tenement Museum.
    • Engage in a guided walking tour of the Bronx led by Reyna Stovall, visiting key points along the Grand Concourse.
    • Develop observational and research skills by addressing questions related to the tour.
    • Experience cultural immersion by having lunch from a kosher restaurant in Riverdale.
    • Explore the vibrant culture of the Bronx through a visit to The Bronx Museum of the Arts, formerly the Young Israel of the Grand Concourse.
    • Deepen understanding of the historical and contemporary aspects of the Bronx's Jewish community.
    • Walking Tour of Brooklyn, focusing on diverse Jewish communities, including Hasidic, Syrian, Kavkazi, and liberal communities.
    • Explore historical records at the Park Slope Jewish Center to gain insights into Brooklyn's Jewish history.
    • Visit a museum, synagogue, or cultural center to interact with a local Jewish leader, providing an opportunity for students to engage in discussions about the community.
    • Participate in a closing session, where students will complete the "Learned" section of their KWL from the first class.
    • Engage in a reflection activity to conclude the course, synthesizing the knowledge acquired throughout the program.

Course Details

Past and Present: Exploring Jewish New York
June 24-27, 2024, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Rose Hill Campus
Instructor: Daniel Soyer, Sophia Maier, Reyna Stovall

Course Number: SULA 0112 RP4
CRN: 15877

This non-credit course is open to high school students only. Kosher lunches will be available daily.


Residential: $1,650.00
Tuition for the residential program includes the course, course materials, housing, meals, and excursions in and outside of class. Move-in for this program is Sunday, June 23, 2024 and move-out is Friday, June 28, 2024.

Commuter: $1,225.00
Tuition for commuters includes the course, course materials, lunches, and excursions in and outside of class. Additional meals are available on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Students may wish to bring funds for incidentals, shopping at the Fordham Bookstore, souvenirs, and any personal items they wish to purchase.


Application deadlines: course and housing: April 15, 2024; course only: May 1, 2024. Please note that admission decisions are rolling until the class is full, and course caps are around 20 students. We recommend early application.

Application Requirements: this non-credit course is open to high school students who have completed their first year. The course is recommended for those with a 3.0 or better. No prior experience with the subject matter is required.

To apply, you will need a copy of your high school transcript and your fall report card if the grades are not reflected on your transcript.

If you are applying for housing, a brief letter of recommendation from a guidance counselor, coach, instructor, or supervisor, attesting to your maturity and responsibility as a student is required.

Please make note of the course details above because you will select your course as part of your application.


If you are not ready to apply, you can sign up to stay informed about the Fordham Summer Leaders Academy too, or email us with questions!

It's not too late! Housing application deadline extended : April 30, 2024