What exactly is a Beit Midrash?
A Beit Midrash (literally, “house of study”) is a place where Jews come together to learn. Like at school, there are students and teachers, and books to read. However, unlike most schools, a Beit Midrash is a highly collaborative space, based around a unique learning model: chavruta, a pair of learners. The teachers are learners too, and the students also teach. The idea is that people learn best together. By sitting with a friend and a text, we have the opportunity to explore what it means, ask our questions and hear new responses, laugh, and challenge each other. Being a good learning partner is a skill on it’s own.
What will we do there?
In the Teen Beit Midrash there will be three components of the program: community, chavruta and shiur. The community time is set aside so we can get to know each other and what is going on in our lives, because Torah study is most meaningful when it is connected to our real life experiences. Chavruta time is when partners work together on the text. Shiur is when we come together for discussion and teaching.
How do I know if this is for me?!
You identify with some or all of the following statements:
- You thought preparing for your bar/bat mitzvah was a fun. Seriously. By fun you mean: thought provoking, challenging, meaningful and exciting. Also, sometimes absurd.
- You are curious. You aren’t afraid of asking questions and you love challenges and new ideas
- Jewish learning helps you feel connections… to yourself, to your family, to your community, maybe even to God
- You want to be a part of a community, exploring Judaism together
- You’re a pioneer! You want to be part of starting something new!
That sounds like me… but I was planning to play soccer next year. Why should I continue my Jewish education?
Choosing to continue your Jewish education at a high school level is different than choosing to be on the soccer team.
When you learn in the Jewish tradition you are tapping into something that transcends time and space. You grapple with the essential questions of what it means to live rightly in the world, what it means to be human. You are building a sense of your own identity as a Jew within the broader Jewish and secular worlds.
As a high school student you are ready to engage more maturely than you ever did before. The questions you can ask and answer will shape your experience of Judaism, the broader Jewish world, and the world in general as a result of how you act in it.
What is the commitment?
- Students are expected to participate in each weekly session, and to communicate with the teachers if they will be missing a week.
- We strongly recommend year-long commitment, as the year-long experience allows for deeper learning and connection to others in the program. Continuity throughout the year is integral to our sense of community. At the same time, we recognize that students have other seasonal commitments, so please discuss with the Program Directors if a student is considering participation for specific semesters.