Songs of My People 

An Academic Adjunct to your HaZamir Experience


One of the important missions of HaZamir is to teach our singers about the music we sing. Educational notes about the texts, the composers and the contexts in which the music was created enable us to make the singing a more meaningful experience. But the HaZamir repertoire is only a drop in the ocean of Jewish music that our people have produced, and we know that the “inquiring minds” of our HaZamir members are always looking for more.


That’s why we have partnered with JOLT: Jewish Online Learning for Teens, a program of the Jewish Community High School of Gratz College, to offer an opportunity for Juniors and Seniors who are members of HaZamir to participate in a unique course that will not only enhance your knowledge of and appreciation for our Jewish musical heritage in general, but will enable you to earn JCHS high school credits. If you wish, you can also simultaneously earn three college credits that can be transferred to more than 70 colleges and universities across North America. A list of those colleges that have accepted Gratz College transfer credit in the past is included with this letter. (If the school you’re interested in is not listed, that may just mean they’ve never been approached.)


What is the Course?


Songs of My People – Taught by Dr. Marsha Bryan Edelman


Throughout history, Jewish communities around the world have used music to express their values and to preserve their traditions. In this class, students will explore the diverse languages, texts and sounds that are part of Jewish culture, and discover the ways in which music has evolved in the wake of geographic location and historical circumstance. Special attention will be paid to the role and development of choral music in Jewish tradition, with particular focus on the repertoire selected for performance by HaZamir: The International Jewish High School Choir. Participants in this class will combine their rehearsal time in local HaZamir chapters with online study and special Forums devoted to discussion of the music and reflections on the experience of creating Jewish community through choral



HaZamir singers know Marsha Bryan Edelman as conductor of HaZamir Philadelphia and the arranger of several selections performed by HaZamir in recent years. However, Dr. Edelman is also a renowned expert on Jewish music who spent 24 years as Professor of Music and Education at Gratz College, and now serves as Adjunct Professor of Music in the Miller Cantorial School at the Jewish Theological Seminary.


What do I need to do to complete this course?


First and foremost, attend rehearsals regularly, be an active and contributing member of your local HaZamir chapter, and attend the HaZamir Festival and Gala Concert.  In addition, you will read a series of online lectures that provide background on the history and evolution of Jewish music, and listen to the embedded samples of the music under discussion, both for your general pleasure and to enhance your learning experience. To demonstrate that you have absorbed this material, you will write a thoughtful comment responding to a specific question about that lecture which you will post in a

Forum where you can engage your fellow students in a conversation about the material covered. (Some of the lectures will ask you to respond with a short essay, rather than a Forum post.) At the end of the course, you will be asked to write a substantial paper summarizing your experiences as a HaZamir singer, and as a participant-consumer of the music of our people.


Dates to know


Registration Deadline: September 30, 2015


Online Orientation: September 21 – September 30, 2015


Fall Semester begins: September 30, 2015


End of Spring Semester: May 22, 2016


What is Gratz College, Jewish Community High School, JOLT, Concurrent Enrollment?


Gratz College, located outside Philadelphia, is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and offers on campus and online programs in a wide range of Jewish topics. The Jewish Community High School (JCHS) is Gratz’s high school division, with campuses around Philadelphia as well as extension and online programs. The online high school program is called JOLT: Jewish Online Learning for Teens.


Concurrent Enrollment means that a student in eleventh or twelfth grade is enrolled simultaneously in the high school and the college, and is able to earn credit in both divisions for the same course work. Earning college credit while in high school gives students many advantages, including the opportunity to enhance your application to college, to save money by starting college with credit already on your transcript, and to prepare for college level work while still in high school.


(Your participation in this college-level course may enhance your resume, but this is a simple process that does not compromise your application to other schools, and carries no further obligation to Gratz College. You are, however, welcome to peruse and take advantage of any other offerings of JOLT and/or Gratz College)


What does it cost?


JCHS/JOLT Tuition for the two semester course (3 credits) ......................................................$1290


Note: All fees are set by JOLT and Gratz College. HaZamir and the Zamir Choral Foundation have no input to these decisions, and do not receive any income from this course.

How do I register?


Complete the attached JOLT Gratz Advance Application and submit a copy of your current high school transcript. 


Seniors must submit one letter of recommendation; juniors must submit two letters.   


How does the transfer of credit work?


Once all the requirements have been fulfilled, the college credits will be recorded in your file at Gratz College. Once you have been admitted to a college or university, contact the Gratz College transcript office to have your official transcript sent to the school you will note on the transfer credit form. There is a transcript fee set by Gratz College, which is currently $9 per transcript.


Credits from Gratz College have been accepted by more than 70 institutions of higher education (list enclosed).*


You can get more information at and/or by contacting


Rabbi Erin Hirsh, Director, JOLT: Jewish Online Learning for Teens, Jewish Community High School of Gratz College 215-635-7300 ext. 5 or








American Colleges and Universities Which Have Accepted Credits From Gratz College

(as of May, 2012)

Albright CollegeMuhlenberg College
Alfred UniversityNew York University 
American University D.C. Penn State University 
Arcadia UniversityPhiladelphia University of Science 
Arizona State UniversityRennselear Polytechnic Institute 
Barnard College (New York, NY)Rosemont College, PA 
Boston UniversityRutgers University (State of NJ) 
Bucks County Community CollegeRiders University 
Cabrini CollegeShippensburg University 
Carnegie Mellon UniversityState University of New York (SUNY) 
Clark UniversityUniversity of Southern California 
Colgate University (Hamilton, NY)Syracuse University 
Columbia UniversityTemple University 
Cornell UniversityTouro College
Dickinson CollegeTowson University 
Drexel UniversityTufts University
Eastern Michigan UniversityTulane University 
Emory University (Atlanta, GA)University of Connecticut 
Franklin & Marshall CollegeUniversity of Delaware
George Washington UniversityUniversity of Florida 
George Mason University of VAUniversity of Hartford 
Hofstra UniversityUniversity of Manitoba
Holy Family College

University of Maryland

Indiana University (Bloomington, IN)University of Massachusetts 
Ithaca CollegeUniversity of New Hampshire 
Johns Hopkins UniversityUniversity of Oregon
Lafayette CollegeUniversity of Oklahoma
La Salle UniversityUniversity of Pittsburgh
Lehigh UniversityUniversity of Tennessee
Lesley CollegeUniversity of Wisconsin
Lock Haven UniversityVassar College
Long Island University - C.W. Post CampusWashington University
Moore College of Art & DesignWest Chester University
Miami UniversityWest Virginia University
Millersville UniversityWidener University 


FAQ's Regarding Gratz College Credits 

Q: My child is already enrolled in a Gratz program, filled out a JCHS application, why do we need to complete a Gratz College application?

A: Colleges only transfer credit from another college, so the student needs to be a non-matriculated (i.e. non-degree seeking) concurrent enrollment student at Gratz College. Therefore, all students need to fill out a Gratz College application.


Q: What does “concurrent enrollment mean”?

A: It means that the student, while in high school, is “concurrently enrolled” in a college. When the credits are transferred, they are Gratz College credits, not JCHS credits. The college/university which accepts the credits determines whether or not they can go towards the student’s degree or if they will be used as electives.


Q: Do we have to pay to fill out a Gratz College application?

A: No. The benefit of being a JCHS student is that there is NO APPLICATION FEE required.


Q: Just for clarification, are the college credits just for Gratz College only?

A: If a student completes all required coursework and academic papers, the student completes a college course, which is transferrable to an institution of higher learning. Over 70 colleges have accepted Gratz College credits in the past.


Q: I am confused regarding exactly what he needs in order to get college credit. Does he need one or two Letters of Recommendation from his high school?

A: If your child is currently in 11th grade he will need two Letters of Recommendation. If your child is entering or is currently in 12th grade, only one recommendation is needed.  People who you may want to ask to complete the recommendation letter(s) are those who know your child personally and academically: a Principal, Guidance Counselor, Teacher, or other Faculty/Staff Person.