Women from all walks of life learn at Midreshet B’erot Bat Ayin. Some women have little or no Jewish background, whereas other women come from observant homes and seek to spiritually enrich their Torah knowledge and strengthen their commitment to mitzvah observance. In many cases, without their encounter with Judaism through Midreshet B’erot Bat Ayin, alumnae now living vibrant Jewish lives might have continued in their former path of assimilation and intermarriage.
While many students are originally from the United States, we also boast many other participants from a variety of countries, including but not limited to; Canada, South Africa, Australia, England, Ireland, Czechoslovakia, Holland, Germany, Sweden, Finland and many more! Among our students are also new immigrants to Israel, who find not only a place to learn, but also emotional support from community members who are currently or have previously been in a similar situation. The ages of our students range from 18-68 (the average being mid-twenties to thirties). Our students usually have an academic or professional degree, or the equivalent life experience.
Students who initially came for a short period often return, as their experiences here provide them with the incentive to make aliyah and live in Israel. Most of our alumnae immigrated to Israel and are raising Jewish families in Eretz Yisrael. Other Alumnae are raising Torah observant families in USA, Europe and elsewhere across the globe. Students have successfully integrated their Torah learning and observance with motherhood and have continued their work as musicians, artists, therapists, teachers and business professions.
We have educated approximately 600 students since 1994.
I wanted to take a break in the middle of my studies & learn more Torah. I left Jewish school when I was 15 years old and went to Med school (in France) for four years. So, I felt like I needed to learn more Torah. No one talked to me about Bat Ayin, I just google searched to find a midrasha in Israel. I didn’t want a French one; I wanted something in Hebrew or in English. I went on the MASA website and found Bat Ayin, and I thought wow, that sounds cool. I was interested to have intensive Torah learning, and on the other hand, to have yoga and herbal workshop. I like the combination.
No one told me about Bat Ayin and I didn’t know anyone here before I came. I just came here with my suitcase and thought this will be fun. I had a feeling that people here live in harmony with what they think and what they do. They put into practice what they learn. That’s why I chose Bat Ayin. I’ve been here for a month and it is everything I expected it would be. I am sometimes too rational, so the emphasis on spirituality in the learning is good for me. It’s a good balance and I’m very happy to be here. I’m also getting to meet lots of different people from all over the world. I’m getting married in 6 months, so this is good preparation for me. I do some hours of my work study cooking at the Rebbetzin’s house before Shabbat, which is good preparation for me to learn how to cook great food.Shira
I went on Birthright with Santa Barbara Hillel, while attending UCSB (University of California at Santa Barbra). I just fell in love with Israel and 10 days was not enough for me. I knew that I had to come back somehow. Shortly after, I found about another opportunity to go to Israel through JAM (Jewish Awareness Movement). I went to a midrasha in Jerusalem on what was supposed to be a 3 week trip. I wasn’t so sure about the learning at first, I just really wanted to get back to Israel, but once I was in the class, I found that I really enjoyed it. Once I started seeing what Torah had to offer, I thought it was really interesting. I ended up staying on a few more weeks and continuing my learning. At that point, I wasn’t ready to commit a year of my life to learning at a seminary. Then, 6 months later (December 2013), I came back to Israel again to try to find a place where I felt like I fit in.
I visited B’erot Bat Ayin for a day because I knew someone who was learning here, and I really loved it. All the creative stuff, like the art class, really spoke to me. The creative aspect offered here wasn’t something I found anywhere else, so that’s really why I came to B’erot Bat Ayin. Also, the location is amazing. It’s quiet and filled with nature. I’ve been here for 7 months and I can say with certainty that there is something special here. The families on the yeshuv are really welcoming, as are the other women learning here. I love reading the week’s parsha and then doing a play about it, or singing a song. That’s really great for me because I learn through creative expression.
When I first arrived, my goal was to learn and try to find a way to integrate Judaism into my life in a way that’s meaningful and also practical. I feel I’ve been able to do that, and I’ve also gotten a balanced view of Israeli life both here in Bat Ayin and having the ability to spend Shabbatot elsewhere, whether it’s in Yerushalayim or other places in Israel. I can see how I could make a life for myself here in Israel.Rachel