Study Abroad Program in Israel Opens Doors for Orthodox Jewish Women

By | December 13, 2022

Daemen University’s latest hybrid study abroad program is the first bachelor’s degree offered through Daemen, with help from partner Testing and Training International (TTI), customized to be sensitive to the Orthodox community’s religious tenets while ensuring students meet the educational requirements for a liberal arts degree.

Elizabeth Wright, interim dean of the College of Health Professions and the College of Health, Human Science & Business at Daemen recently returned from a trip to Israel with Ann Robinson, executive director of Daemen’s Global Programs Office, where they met with the religious seminaries affiliated with the program.

“We were affiliated with 15 seminaries in Israel, most located in Jerusalem, and we had 94 students enrolled,” said Wright. “We have grown to 27 partner seminaries with 143 students this year, the majority of whom come from New York State, with others from around the country and Canada.”

Denise Emer, director of the program and chair of Daemen University’s Psychological Sciences Department, was involved in helping establish curriculum for the hybrid program. She noted that the high quality of the university’s courses has enabled Daemen to form unique partnerships in offering the liberal arts degree.

“Seminaries in Israel are recognizing the value of the program curriculum, and many have come to us to join in and partner with Daemen,” said Emer. “It is very empowering for these young, Orthodox Jewish women to receive a high-quality college education within the parameters of their culture. At the same time, the program demonstrates Daemen’s understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusion in higher education.”

Overall, many faculty, staff, and administrators across the university are actively involved supporting the program. Heather Maloney-Stassen, founding dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Education, points out the collaboration that underlies the program’s success.

“We are incredibly proud of the program in that, in some ways, it is a microcosm of the incredible work done on our Daemen campus,” said Maloney-Stassen. “Our faculty are dedicated to working together to provide students a quality undergraduate experience that resonates with their goals and with their community.”

Ann Robinson noted that the program in Israel is one of many study abroad opportunities offered by Daemen and reflects the university’s ability to meet educational needs within diverse cultures. “Our students learn in study abroad programs all over the world and we have many international students,” she said. “The Israel experience is an example of how Daemen is providing higher education for students who otherwise might not have the chance.”