Beginners' Program

Requirements for acceptance:

Love of learning
Openness to grow spiritually
Willingness to accommodate to the life-style of an Orthodox community
No prior Jewish education or commitment required

Courses Offered

Textual Tanach (Bible) 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.

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.

Song of Songs: In this class we will thoroughly analyze the poetical Hebrew description of Love and Nature with the aid of classical commentaries. In addition, the student is encouraged to connect to the text with renewed wellsprings of her own soul. The learning includes interactive singing, expressing the Song of Songs in our own melodies.

Megillat Ruth - The Scoll 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's 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.

Tanya: The Heart of Chabad: Tanya is unique among Chassidic writings in that it presents the worldview of Chassidism in a systematic way. Additionally, it offers extremely practical teachings about how to proceed through the difficulties and resistance one encounters on a spiritual path. The course will present the student with an in-depth interpretation of the text together with guidance in applying the concepts of Tanya to the challenges of one's life.

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: This course will give a glimpse of Rav Kook's all-encompassing universal approach. Themes explored will include: "The Inner Connection Between the Jewish People and the Land of Israel", The Vision of Vegetarianism", "Art & Aesthetics", "Relationship between Jew and Non-Jew", "Lower & Higher Teshuva". Readings will be selected mainly
from Orot, Orot Hatshuva, and Orot Hakodesh.


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 and courses.


Creativity and Self-Discovery
(Joint program for Beginning 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: 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. We also learn the technique of how to hold a calligraphy pen and form the letters properly, deepening our connection with the beauty of the art of writing Hebrew letters.

Inner Song Workshop: Music meditation is a technique based on ancient Jewish tradition. It promotes deep integration of sacred texts, inspires avodah (spiritual service), and generates a heightened sense of well-being and connection to G-d. Using sources from Chumash, Tehillim, Talmud, Chassidut and Kabbalah, students are encouraged to create their own melodies in a supportive setting.

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.


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