Loving Heart Programs

A Community Education Program Enhancing

Jewish Unity, Identity & Continuity

Project L.E.A.R.N.*

A Community Education Program Enhancing

Jewish Unity, Identity & Continuity


More LHF Programs
Project L.E.A.R.N.


Assimilation of Jews is happening as you read this. Why? We believe that it is because the Jewish community does not provide enough of the right kind of Jewish experiences. Studies have proven that the strongest predictors of Jewish identity and continuity and the likelihood of not assimilating out of the Jewish faith are knowledge of Judaism, and ritual observance. Without these the very future of the Jewish people is questionable.

We are also experiencing that the Jewish people are having a particularly difficult time getting along with one another. Alienation, distrust, and malice have entered into the relationships between Jews, based on differences of beliefs and practices.

Our precious seniors, who gave us life, and to varying degrees our Jewishness, are often alone, lonely, depressed, and have very little or no Jewish experience or growth in their lives. Many seniors need nurturing, friendship, and spirituality in their lives. They need loving personal contact and friendship, and to feel that they are a part of the larger community.

We must not only preserve the Jewish people, we need to learn to understand and respect one another, and to cooperate with each other, for the benefit of the greater Jewish community. We need to act appropriately, as God-conscious human beings.

Rabbi Sheldon, who has been an educator for more than a quarter of a century, wanted to create a system and program that would both bring Jews together in a positive way, increase Jewish knowledge, practice, identity, unity, and continuity, and help our Seniors. He always believed that it is important to experience Jewish education in a context of family and community. The Torah teaches us that it is not good to learn in a vacuum. It is important to have a Rav – a spiritual guide, and a Chaver – a friend and learning partner.

In 1997 Rabbi Sheldon came up with a new approach to meeting the above needs and goals. He wrote a grant proposal, and Project L.E.A.R.N. was born. He spoke with many Rabbis and community leaders, as well as with owners of retirement facilities. Five synagogues, of different movements, and University Hillel joined Rabbi Sheldon in sponsoring the project. He presented a grant proposal to the Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, for ‘new and innovated programs. It was accepted and he was given a grant of seed money to develop and implement Project L.E.A.R.N. Thank God, and hard work, it was successful!

Project L.E.A.R.N. is designed to facilitate healthy relationships between Jews of all ages who live in a diverse Jewish community. This program helps individuals, families and communities grow psychologically, socially, and spiritually. The L.E.A.R.N. experience motivates its participants to continue Jewish learning, practice, community participation, and social responsibility – particularly for our precious seniors. L.E.A.R.N. provides our teenagers, young adults, adults, and seniors – care, friendship, affiliation, and Jewish learning. L.E.A.R.N. also helps to develop community leaders.


In our hearts we know that Jews must learn to love and respect one another. Yes, there have always been differing opinions and feelings within the Jewish people. However, Jewish life and tradition are filled with numerous teachings and values, which all Jews can agree are true, meaningful, and beautiful, and can be shared and experienced together as Am Echad – one people. It is important for every Jew, as an individual and as part of a greater family, to participate in Ahavat Yisrael – the love of the Jewish people, and Tikun Olam – the repairing of the world. It is the responsibility of every Jewish community to increase unity and spiritual growth for its individuals and for the community as a whole.


Project L.E.A.R.N. is designed to help Jewish communities in a number of very important ways:

  • 1) Facilitate Jewish unity and cooperation among the diverse components of local Jewish communities.
  • 2) Build bridges of communication and cooperation between Rabbis, Synagogues, JCC’s, and Federation agencies.
  • 3) Increase Jewish identity and continuity through Jewish education and participation in Jewish activities.
  • 4) Enhance people’s knowledge and understanding of Jewish values and traditions.
  • 5) Strengthen identification with, and commitment to Israel and Israelis.
  • 6) Educate communities about the importance of Israel as part of Jewish life and observance.
  • 7) Train volunteers to be Jewish educators.
  • 8) Prepare individuals to take leadership roles in their community.
  • 9) Bring together youth, mid-aged, and seniors to share in positive Jewish experience.
  • 10) Connect with and take care of our seniors in a loving Jewish way.
  • 11) Help people to fulfill many mitzvot and Jewish traditions including:
  1. Limude Torah – learning Torah
  2. Lilmode U’lelamade – to learn and to teach.
  3. Kibud Av Va’aim V’skenim – honoring ones mother, father, and elders.
  4. Kol Yisrael Arayvim Zeh Bahzeh – every Jew is bound together, and responsible for each other.
  5. Ahavat Yisrael – the love of Jews.
  6. Achdut Yisrael – creating unity in the community.
  7. Supporting and building the land of Israel.

Track Record:

Our evaluation tests have shown significant success in all goal areas of the L.E.A.R.N. programs we implemented.

Project L.E.A.R.N. was implemented in Los Angeles in four communities. Hundreds of people, from all backgrounds of Judaism, including some who were non-affiliated, as well as non-Jewish spouses, enjoyed and benefited from our program. Participants included teens preparing for Bar/Bat mitzvah, high school students, college students, adults, married couples, parents with their children, and seniors in their nineties. Knowledge and practice of Judaism and friendships grew, with pride, pleasure, responsibility to the community, and with love.



The above benefits are achieved through a carefully designed and tested community education program. It provides opportunities for participation in inter-Jewish-denominational and inter-generation Jewish learning, teaching, and experience. Participants grow Jewishly, as they learn, teach, and actualize Jewish traditions and values. Project L.E.A.R.N. facilitates the healing and growth of individuals, families, and communities.


L.E.A.R.N. provides monthly classes to volunteers, for four to six months, at no charge. In return, volunteers agree to make a commitment to teach what they have learned to Jewish residents in retirement homes, for approximately four hours each month. (The program may be renewed with continuing students and additional new students, for as many months as there are interest and funding.)

Each monthly class meets for approximately two hours. Participants receive interesting and practical Jewish learning experiences, utilizing classical sources and discussion, as well as instruction and training in teaching methodology and the psychology of working with seniors.

Participants have the opportunity of working individually and /or together as teams of 2-3, in senior residential facilities, teaching individual residents, as well as teaching small groups from 2 – 20 residents.


Anyone between the ages of 12 and 120, who cares about Jewish unity and learning about Jewish traditions can join our program. We encourage family members and friends to come together, especially parents and young adult children.


Participants must make a minimum commitment to attending four classes and volunteering four hours of teaching a month, during a five-month period.


Rabbis and education/psychology specialists will teach the classes.

Implementation of Project L.E.A.R.N. in Your Community

The Loving Heart Fellowship helps communities implement Project L.E.A.R.N.

We provide:

  1. Consultation and training for community leaders in the logistics of offering this program.
  2. Training and materials used to market the program for Synagogues, JCC’s, Retirement Residences, etc.
  3. Training and materials used to advertise the program (press releases, announcements, etc.)
  4. Training for Rabbis and teachers in how to conduct the classes.
  5. Educational guides and materials for teachers – covering both teaching methodologies and Jewish content.
  6. Educational materials for volunteer students – covering both teaching methodologies and Jewish content.
  7. Educational materials for seniors (large print).
  8. Record keeping materials to help keep track of the various aspects of the program
  9. Evaluation tools to ascertain the success of various aspects of the program. (Pre and post questionnaires, etc.)
  10. Certificates of completion for volunteers and seniors.


The financial considerations – general costs, training, fees, materials, etc., are dependent on the size of the community and the extent to which Project L.E.A.R.N. is implemented.

Often community grants pay for the costs. When appropriate, we can help you to apply for a grant from your local Jewish Community Foundation. Sometimes synagogues share in the cost, other times senior facilities share in the cost, as they benefit from the social/educational services that are being offered to their residents. We recommend that the first series of classes are free to the volunteers. At times volunteers will contribute during the second round of classes.


If you would like to participate in the great mitzvah and chessed of sponsoring Project L.E.A.R.N. in a particular community, please contact us.

Our Dream

We would like to see Project L.E.A.R.N. implemented throughout the United States, and throughout the world.

We believe that it is a model of community education and social responsibility, which bridges Jews, as well as the community in general across generations and ideological differences. It models love and respect for our Seniors, in particular, and for each other in general. It is a model, which when implemented well, gives us joy, love, and Godliness in the present, and hope for our future.

We need generous support from communities and individuals to make the dream come true.

Together, we can make a difference. Please become a member or sponsor.

  For Further Information or to Bring Project L.E.A.R.N. to Your Community:

Please feel free to contact Loving Heart Fellowship.

Feel welcome to discuss with us any questions or comments that you may have regarding
how we can help you to utilize our programs.