Beginner Program

Are you ready?

Do you have a love of learning?

An openness to grow spiritually?

Willing to accommodate to the life-style of an Orthodox community?

No prior Jewish education or commitment required

Regardless of where your knowledge base is at the moment, join Midreshet B’erot Bat Ayin’s beginner program and notice what changes you will experience over the course of your year of learning.

  • Develop and/or deepen your personal connection to Torah in a time frame that is authentic for you.
  • Become proficient in reading & translating passages from the Tanach.
  • Increase your confidence in order to share a piece of Torah at the Shabbat table.
  • Gain a basis of halacha to enable you to depart at the end of the year secure in your knowledge and ability to live a Torah life.
  • Experience a Torah community where you can nurture your mind, body and soul!

Course Descriptions

Textual Tanach Studies

Courses include a chevruta period (studying with a partner) and guided class session, learning the texts directly from Hebrew sources. Students will be trained to gain the skills necessary for reading and comprehension of a basic Torah text.

Chumash (The Five Books of Moses)
The purpose of this course is to give the student tools for gaining a clearer and deeper understanding of Chumash (The five books of Moses). Textual analysis using Rashi, Midrash, and modern commentaries will raise moral and religious issues involving our ancestors, the relationship between them, and the dilemmas they face.

Navi (Early Prophets)
The student will get acquainted with the period of Jewish history described in the books of the early prophets, with emphasis on the difference between secular history and the way history is portrayed in the Bible. The student will practice reading original Hebrew sources, and develop her comprehension skills.

Tehillim (Psalms)
Moshe gave us the five Books of Law, the Torah. David offered us the five Books of Emotion, the Tehillim. Few of us ever receive the opportunity to grasp the inner aspect of this poetry from Heaven. In addition to analyzing the fundamentals of syntax, our class methodology includes meditation, writing, and group discussion, which will encourage new intellectual and emotional insights. The student will gain the tools to continue this study towards a deeper appreciation of the Tehillim.

Megillat Ruth – The Scroll of Ruth
Why was Ruth, a convert from the lowest of people, selected to become the mother of royalty? This question, together with topics such as: “The True Nature of Kindness”, “Love of the Land of Israel”, and “How to bring about Redemption” will be elucidated as we tune into the characters’ lives through drama and art.

Megillat Esther – The Scroll of Esther
This scroll sensitizes us to seeing G-d behind the mask of His hiding place. While reading the text, we will touch upon topics such as “Divine Providence”, “The Relationship between Good and Evil in the World”, and “Women and Redemption”. Creative expression such as drama, dance and art will be incorporated when appropriate.

Women Studies

Women in the Bible
This course provides an in-depth analysis of significant female Biblical personalities, such as Chava, Sarah, Rivka, Rachel, and Leah. Texts will include selections from the Torah, accompanied by readings from Midrash and the Zohar, as well as classical commentaries in Hebrew and English. The media of drama, creative writing, dance and song will be incorporated when appropriate.

Feminine Workshop (Women and Judaism)
Through textual study and by reflecting upon our own lives, we will explore the role of women in traditional Judaism. This highly interactive class includes thorough and thoughtful discussions of topics such as education, prayer, modesty, dating, marriage and family life.

Jewish Thought

Students will become familiar with basic principles of Jewish thought from classical sources, as well as primary Chassidic concepts. Students are strongly encouraged to apply these principles to help clarify and resolve life’s challenges.

Rabbinic Profiles
This course offers an intellectual journey through Jewish history as seen through the eyes of key figures of the period, including Rashi, Ramban, and Rabbi Akiva.

Chassidic Insights on the Weekly Torah Portion
Basic principles in Chassidisim will be connected with the weekly parasha. Expanding on Rashi, and on the Baal Shem Tov and his students, each session will focus on and develop key concepts based on the weekly Torah portion.

Talmud (The Oral Law)
The Oral Law is indispensable for accurate understanding of the Torah. In this course, we will explore what constitutes the written and oral components of the Torah, examining what characterizes each body of writing and their dynamic interrelationship.

Halacha
Since the beginning of the Exile, the laws connected with cultivating the land of Israel have been pushed into the background. With our return, we now have the responsibility to know and practice the laws of planting, tithes, orlah, and kelaim. By this merit, our sages promise, the ultimate redemption will be forthcoming. In addition to learning the “how” of these mitzvot, the student will come to appreciate the process of the development of halacha from the written Torah.

Derech Hashem: The Way of G-d
This classic work of the 18th century master Kabbalist and Talmudist, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (The Ramchal), enables the exploration of such topics as why Hashem created the world; the principles of Hashem’s Providence over human affairs; the suffering of the righteous vs. the success of the wicked; the relationship between the soul and the body; and the relationship between Israel and the nations. Emphasis is placed on resolving some of the most basic contradictions and dualities that we tend to encounter as Jews, thus giving the student the clarity to strengthen her faith.

Likutei Moharan: The Teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev
We will address the following questions relating to our spiritual journey: “What should we do to make our prayers acceptable?” “What is the way to come to perfect repentance?” “How can one accept that everything that happens is for good?” “How can one taste the Inner Light of the Torah?” and “What is the pathway to inner peace and Universal Peace?”

Rav Kook
Integrated into some classes

Hebrew Language Development

(Beginning and Advanced levels)
A variety of teaching materials will be used to practice reading, writing, listening comprehension
and conversation throughout chevruta (learning partners) and courses.

Creativity & Self-Discovery

(Joint program for Beginners and Advanced levels)

Jewish Meditation
Based on techniques rooted in our own Jewish tradition, this course may seem a more viable alternative for one who is already familiar with Eastern and Western meditative traditions. Guided by a well-qualified instructor, the student is encouraged to enter upon the path of the inner spiritual experience. The goal for both beginning and seasoned meditators alike is to be ever mindful of how all the teachings of Torah, mitzvot and prayers connect us directly to G-d.

Meditative Movement
We develop flexibility and strength, health and awareness through exercises focusing on the harmony and unity of body, breath, and mind. We learn about the sephirot to know ourselves made in G-d’s image as vessels for light and knowledge. We connect heaven and earth, the neshima (breath) and the neshama (soul). Through this connection we grow in tefila (prayer) and mitzvot, clinging to the Tree of Life, growing in peace and joy.

Spiritual Writing Workshop
Creative writing is a tool for connecting to one’s self, to one’s world and to our Creator. The workshop combines techniques such as mind maps, brainstorming, meditation, memory scanning and opening the heart in order to develop one’s creative, spiritual and perceptual abilities. Each class combines segments of theory, practice, and analysis of our works in a warm, encouraging and non-competitive atmosphere. The students are guided to explore and accept their inner thoughts and feelings and transform them into creative writing.

Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet (integrated into classes periodically)
The 22 sacred letters are the raw material of Creation. They are primal spiritual forces that combine endlessly just as the elements of chemistry. We study the form, name, numerical value, and dimensions hidden beneath the surface of the letters. As building blocks of holiness in the world, their study returns us to the roots of Torah.

Agricultural Workshop
Long ago, travelers to the Land of Israel willingly endangered their lives just to be able to step foot on the Holy Land. They would bow down and kiss its very ground. Through working the land, a Jew is able to connect with the Creator, and work as a partner with G-d in transforming thorns and thistles into a paradise of lush greenery, bountiful with flowers, fruits, vegetables and all kinds of herbs. A unique spiritual force enters one’s body and soul while out in the fields of the Judean Hills. Here our Patriarchs lived, traveled, experienced joys and hardships, and had visions and insights into the future. We, too, can attain higher awareness by simply reaching out to the earth.

Herbal Workshop
The purpose of this workshop is to integrate Eastern, Western and Native American herbology with the ancient wisdom of the Torah. The course includes textual learning of Jewish sources on herbs and healing, as well as general knowledge of the use of herbs. Moreover, the workshop includes practice in the growing and gathering of herbs, and in preparation of infusions, oils and tinctures.

We are happy to answer any questions...

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