AISH CAFE - the World's Frst Online Jewish University

This was the original website created to introduce AISHCAFE.COM - the world's first online Jewish University! It's domain registration was allowed to expire when in 2009  AISH Cafe was absorbed by the Believing that AISH Cafe and its goals should remain visible on the WWW, I recently purchased the domain with the the goal of recreating some of its original content from archived pages and to point interested visitors to the Jerusalem U  (see at bottom of page). Since there was little original content available I have augmented it with information from additional outside sources. 

I have several friends who took both the Classic which included units on Love and Relationships, Genesis and the Big Bang, Jewish Contribution to World Values, Jerusalem and others and Positive Psychology and Judaism which included units on Change, Being Human, Goal Setting, Jewish Festivals, Esteem and others. One of my friends, M, would always wear what he called his lucky Batman sweatshirt whenever he took one of the exams. I asked him if he also had a lucky Batman T-shirt, and sure enough he did. Actually he had lots of Batman t-shirts that were really quite cool. I questioned him about his choice of attire while taking these classes. Don't you think you should be wearing perhaps a more Jewish friendly t-shirt with the words Shalom or some other Yiddish saying? Well, he had t-shirts like that, but he found that whenever he wore a Batman t-shirt he would always ace his exams. Oy! So who am I to complain about his sartorial choices.

Anyway, I definitely didn't want someone else purchasing the domain and re-purposing it for something that had nothing in common with the original website. I wanted to keep the spirit of the original website intact.


The wisdom of the ancients - the language of the web - Join us for a latte now at the AISH Café.

With our unique program of fun movies, mp3's and other interactive media, you can finally discover the power of your heritage at your own pace, while being entertained in the comfort of your dorm room!

Upon completion of the program you'll receive either a $250 stipend or $300 towards a subsidized trip to Israel.



About Aish HaTorah:

Aish HaTorah is an apolitical, international network of Jewish educational centers, providing opportunities for Jews of all backgrounds to discover the wisdom and beauty of their heritage in an atmosphere of open inquiry and mutual respect. 25 branches in 8 countries inspire over 100,000 people each year with the meaning of being Jewish. Aish HaTorah's educational programs are based on the following principles:

  • Torah teaches us how to maximize our pleasure and potential in life.
  • Jewish belief needs to be built on a rational foundation and not a leap of faith.
  • Judaism is a journey where every step counts. It's not an all-or-nothing proposition.


+++++ offers online courses in Judaism for the curious university student. The courses are presented with interactive animations, rich movies, mp3 recordings readings and quizzes. The site, run by Aish HaTorah, an Orthodox Jewish educational network based in Israel, offers students willing to learn about their faith a payout of up to $250 or a $300 subsidy for a trip to Israel upon successful completion of the course of study.

Two courses of study are offered on the site:

Classic – including units on Love and Relationships, Genesis and the Big Bang, Jewish Contribution to World Values, Jerusalem and others.

Positive Psychology and Judaism - including units on Change, Being Human, Goal Setting, Jewish Festivals, Esteem and others.

Alternatively a course may be taken for three college credits.





What are the classes about?

The classes discuss all many aspects of Jewish Wisdom. From Jewish philosophy, current issues, controversial topics, Jewish foundations, a deeper look into the Chumash and more. Weekly classes are geared towards each individuals level so their are a few classes to choose from.

How are the lessons structured?

On Tuesday students will have to attend 2 classes at the Aish Centre. 1 at 7pm and one at 8 15pm. An optional supper will be served before from 630pm.

How does the stipend work?

To qualify for the stipend students must attend all the 10 week classes. In addition there will be two shabbatons during this period. The exact dates will be announced closer to the time. Students are expected to come to a Friday night supper and program and a Saturday lunch and program.

Once all this is completed students will get R1750

How can I be accepted to the programme?

No previous knowledge or background in Judaism is required to participate. Open minded Jews who are eager to learn about Judaism from the ages of 18 -29 yrs old should apply for the programme. Acceptance to educAISHion is based upon a combination of both an application form and an interview. We have the right to accept or not accept anyone we choose.

What is the purpose of the programme?

To strengthen Jewish Identity. Participation in the programme will deepen your awareness of Judaism and you will walk out of the programme a prouder and more knowledgeable Jew. You will also make a whole bunch of new friends.

There is money available for those who finish courses.

Aish Cafe was the old name / brand, it is in the process of transitioning to Jerusalem Online University.




Religion Today
By Greg Bluestein, Associated Press Writer
August 14, 2008

ATLANTA --AishCafe's flashy Web presence makes it look more like a gambling site than the religious experience it is.

There are interactive animations, clickable icons and even a mock iPhone to lure in Jewish college students. And, like gambling, it could pay to play.

The site, run by Aish HaTorah, an Orthodox Jewish educational network based in Israel, offers students willing to learn about their faith a payout of up to $250 or a $300 subsidy for a trip to Israel.

AishCafe has shelled out some $300,000 to students since it launched a year and a half ago. Supporters see the approach as an effective way to reach young Jews at a time when a dwindling number have strong ties to their religious roots and community.

"There's a sense today that college students are very busy with their schedules and their lives, and in order for them to take time out, they need to be incentivized," said Rabbi Raphael Shore, the program's director. "It's the same way colleges offer scholarships."

But some Jewish leaders are concerned that paying students to take the courses sends the wrong message.

"If you believe that Judaism is a viable religion for many different reasons -- and you're able to show it in a way that's truly meaningful -- that's truly exciting," said David Katznelson, who organizes innovative religious and arts celebrations in San Francisco that attract many young Jews. "And I don't think you need to pay people to do that."

His battle-tested advice? "Host something interesting and they will come."

Jewish leaders have been struggling for years to reverse the decline in religious observance among young people and stem the high-rate of intermarriage. Offering incentives to learn has become somewhat accepted, partly because of the popularity of the Birthright Israel program.

Since it started eight years ago, Birthright has sent 170,000 Jewish students on free 10-day trips to Israel. Participants must be Jewish, between the ages of 18 and 26, and must have never been to Israel on a similar group trip. Nothing is required of the participants in return.

By contrast, AishCafe puts students through a gantlet of tests on Jewish rituals and history, featuring a dozen classes with catchy titles like "Genesis and the Big Bang" and "Pleasure 101," each offering its own edgy take on Jewish rituals, morals and ideology.

The program isn't easy. Participants must watch seven hour long films, listen to three audio programs and complete two live, in-person classes with a rabbi. Each includes a separate reading and a test. Students only get a full $250 payment if they score high grades.

AishCafe also offers students a separate class called "Positive Psychology and Judaism" by Tal Ben-Shahar, a popular lecturer at Harvard University. The course costs $549 but can reward participants with three college credits.

So far, organizers say most of the 1,500 students who have participated in the classes have fared well. More than 90 percent of students pass their tests, and 97 percent would recommend the course to a friend, Shore said.

"We simply want to try to introduce young Jews who haven't had the opportunity to learn about Judaism," Shore said. "They go to university and might be well versed about science, mathematics and literature, but their Jewish education may be very fragile."


More Background On Aish Cafe

Aish Cafe, initially known as the world's first online Jewish university, has transformed the way Jewish educational content is delivered to young adults, particularly university students. Launched around 2007, Aish Cafe has been a pioneering platform under the banner of Aish HaTorah, an Orthodox Jewish educational network based in Israel. This online venue offers a variety of courses aimed at exploring and deepening the understanding of Jewish faith and heritage through interactive and engaging digital media.

The educational approach at Aish Cafe is highly interactive, incorporating rich media content like animations and mp3 recordings, which make the learning both engaging and accessible. The platform provides an incentive model, offering stipends or subsidies for trips to Israel upon successful course completion, which has been a notable strategy to encourage participation and engagement among students.

Over the years, Aish Cafe has paid out significant amounts to its students as incentives, reflecting its commitment to making Jewish education appealing and rewarding. This method has been somewhat controversial but also mirrors successful models like the Birthright Israel program, suggesting that such incentives can play a crucial role in engaging younger demographics in religious and cultural education.

The courses cover a wide array of topics from Jewish philosophy and history to contemporary issues and personal development, structured in a way that allows flexibility and self-paced learning. This format is particularly suited to the busy schedules of university students, enabling them to learn at their own pace and convenience.

In summary, Aish Cafe represents a significant innovation in Jewish education, leveraging digital media and financial incentives to foster a deeper connection with Jewish heritage among young adults. Its approach not only educates but also aims to build a strong sense of community and identity among its participants.



Aish Cafe has enjoyed significant popularity, particularly among Jewish college students interested in exploring their heritage in a modern and engaging format. The website's innovative approach, which combines educational content with interactive media and financial incentives, has successfully attracted a large number of participants since its inception.

This popularity is evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of dollars that Aish Cafe has disbursed to students as stipends for completing courses, underscoring the effectiveness of its incentive-based educational model. The courses are structured to accommodate the schedules of busy university students, making it a convenient option for self-paced learning. Aish Cafe's focus on providing a deep, meaningful connection to Jewish values through modern technology has helped it maintain relevance and appeal among young adults.


Press & Media Coverage

Aish Cafe has garnered attention from various media outlets, reflecting on its unique approach to Jewish education and its impact on the community. Notably, the platform has been covered by major news sources like the Associated Press, where its innovative online presence and incentive-based learning model were highlighted. This coverage points out how Aish Cafe blends modern web aesthetics with educational content to attract young Jewish college students.

The media often discuss Aish Cafe's strategy of incentivizing learning with financial rewards and subsidies for trips to Israel, which has sparked debate among Jewish leaders. Some applaud the approach for effectively engaging a demographic that is typically hard to reach through traditional educational methods. Others express concern that it might send the wrong message about the intrinsic value of religious education.

Furthermore, Aish Cafe's outreach and its successful engagement strategies, such as its use of catchy course titles and interactive online formats, have been positively noted in discussions about innovative educational methods in the Jewish community. The platform's role in fostering Jewish identity among young adults, through both its online courses and physical events, has also been a focal point in press coverage, reinforcing its significance in the broader landscape of Jewish education.

These perspectives from the press highlight Aish Cafe's role in shaping modern Jewish education and its continued relevance in engaging younger audiences with their heritage and faith.



Aish Cafe primarily targets Jewish college students between the ages of 18 and 26, focusing on those who may not have had extensive previous education in Judaism. This audience typically includes young adults at universities who are interested in exploring their Jewish heritage and understanding more about their faith in a modern, engaging manner.

The platform is designed to appeal to this demographic by offering flexible, online courses that fit into busy student schedules and include elements of interactive and multimedia learning. This approach is particularly attractive to young adults who are accustomed to digital environments and prefer self-paced learning.

Aish Cafe also caters to those who are looking for both educational and tangible rewards, offering stipends and subsidies for trips to Israel as incentives for course completion. This dual focus on education and incentives helps to draw in students who might be interested in the financial benefits as well as the educational opportunities.

By focusing on this specific audience, Aish Cafe aims to strengthen Jewish identity among young adults, providing them with a foundation in Jewish knowledge that can influence their personal development and community engagement.


Known For

Aish Cafe is primarily known for several key aspects:

  1. First Online Jewish University: Aish Cafe distinguished itself as one of the first platforms to offer an online Jewish educational experience, branding itself as the world's first online Jewish university. This innovative approach to religious education helped it stand out early in the digital education space.

  2. Interactive and Multimedia Learning: The platform is renowned for its use of interactive animations, videos, and other multimedia tools to engage students. This modern approach caters to the digital preferences of younger audiences, making Jewish education more accessible and appealing.

  3. Incentivized Learning: Aish Cafe is particularly noted for its model of incentivizing students through financial rewards and subsidies for trips to Israel upon successful completion of their courses. This approach has sparked discussion and debate about the effectiveness and ethics of such incentives in educational contexts.

  4. Flexibility and Accessibility: With courses designed to be flexible and self-paced, Aish Cafe appeals to busy university students who might not otherwise have the time or opportunity to engage in traditional learning settings. This flexibility has been a key factor in its popularity among young adults.

  5. Focus on Jewish Identity: The platform's courses and content are geared towards strengthening Jewish identity among its participants, offering deep dives into Jewish philosophy, history, and contemporary issues. This focus is aimed at fostering a greater appreciation and understanding of Jewish heritage among the younger generation.

These elements combine to make Aish Cafe a notable and influential platform in the realm of Jewish education, especially among young adults and university students.



Aish Cafe's history is closely tied to its parent organization, Aish HaTorah, an Orthodox Jewish educational network based in Israel. Here's a summarized history of Aish Cafe and its evolution:

Foundation and Purpose:

  • Aish Cafe was launched around 2007 as part of Aish HaTorah’s initiative to engage younger Jewish audiences, particularly college students, in learning about their heritage in an interactive and modern format.
  • The platform was branded as the world's first online Jewish university, aiming to make Jewish education accessible globally through digital means.

Development and Educational Approach:

  • The initiative focused on providing a flexible learning environment that included interactive media such as animations and mp3 recordings. This approach was designed to attract students who were accustomed to digital environments and preferred engaging, multimedia-based learning experiences.

Incentivization and Outreach:

  • Unique to Aish Cafe was its use of financial incentives to encourage participation. Students could earn stipends or receive subsidies for trips to Israel upon successful completion of their courses. This model was inspired by successful programs like Birthright Israel, which similarly aims to strengthen Jewish identity through experiential learning.

Transition and Expansion:

  • In 2009, Aish Cafe's domain and core operations were absorbed into the larger framework of This move was part of a strategic realignment to consolidate various educational initiatives under a single, more expansive platform that continued to focus on online Jewish education.
  • Despite this transition, the spirit and educational goals of Aish Cafe were preserved and expanded upon within the new structure, which continued to offer and develop courses aimed at deepening understanding and appreciation of Jewish culture and religion.

Legacy and Impact:

  • Over its active years, Aish Cafe made a significant impact by reaching out to thousands of students worldwide, offering them an innovative and engaging way to connect with their Jewish roots.
  • The platform’s methodology and success provided a model for other educational initiatives and highlighted the potential of online learning in religious and cultural education.

The evolution of Aish Cafe into broader initiatives underscores its foundational goal of making Jewish education accessible and engaging for young adults globally, leveraging modern technology to bridge traditional content with contemporary learning styles.


Cultural & Social Significance

Aish Cafe has had considerable cultural and social significance, particularly within the Jewish community, by leveraging digital education to promote Jewish learning and identity among young adults. Here are some key aspects of its cultural and social impact:

1. Modernizing Jewish Education:

Aish Cafe played a pioneering role in adapting Jewish education to the digital age, making it accessible to a global audience. By utilizing an online platform, it addressed the changing consumption patterns and learning preferences of younger generations, thereby helping to keep Jewish education relevant and appealing.

2. Strengthening Jewish Identity:

Through its courses and content, Aish Cafe has helped strengthen Jewish identity among young adults. By offering courses on a variety of topics—from Jewish philosophy and history to contemporary issues—it has provided learners with a deeper understanding of their heritage. This educational approach aims to foster a strong sense of community and belonging, which is crucial in maintaining cultural continuity.

3. Engagement through Incentivization:

The use of financial incentives and subsidies for educational achievements (like trips to Israel) was a novel approach that drew attention to the potential of incentivized learning. This strategy not only increased participation rates but also sparked discussions about the ways in which educational institutions can engage with students in meaningful and effective manners.

4. Community Building:

Aish Cafe's offerings often extended beyond individual learning, aiming to build community among its participants. By encouraging students to engage with one another and with Jewish communities, it played a role in creating networks of young Jews who are informed about their culture and motivated to sustain their religious and cultural practices.

5. Dialogue and Open Inquiry:

Aish Cafe promoted a spirit of open inquiry and dialogue about Jewish beliefs, values, and practices. This approach is significant in a cultural context where questions and debates can lead to a richer, more nuanced understanding of faith and identity. It also helps in engaging individuals who may be skeptical or curious about their heritage in a non-confrontational manner.

6. Global Reach:

Given its online nature, Aish Cafe was able to reach a global audience, thereby having an impact on Jewish education worldwide. This global reach is particularly important in areas where access to Jewish educational resources is limited or non-existent, making Aish Cafe a valuable tool for spreading knowledge and fostering unity across diverse Jewish communities.

In sum, Aish Cafe's approach to Jewish education via an online platform has had a broad and lasting impact on how Jewish cultural and religious education is perceived and delivered in the modern world. Its contributions continue to influence educational strategies within the Jewish community and beyond.




Jerusalem U was founded by Rabbi Raphael Shore in 2009 to address the prevalent and growing need to educate and inspire the new generation about Judaism and Israel so that they gain a stronger Jewish identity and an appreciation of their heritage.

Our mission at is to educate and inspire our students, broaden their knowledge of Judaism and Israel, and cultivate Jewish identity and pride through engaging and interactive online content. Committed to educational excellence through innovation, we strive to develop future leaders and advocates for Israel.

Their website: