Midreshet HaRova—S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program
Goal of Program
Midreshet HaRova focuses on students as individuals. We strive to provide an educational environment that enables each student to maximize her potential. This is accomplished through a program which, while dedicated to academic excellence, also believes that Torah study as an intellectual exercise which does not impact one's personality is incomplete.
The goal of the program is to teach our students not what to think but rather how to think, preparing them to make decisions throughout life through the prism of Torah and Mitzvot.
Attitude Towards Israel and Medinat Yisrael
Midreshet HaRova is a strongly Zionistic program. Students are exposed to an environment that stresses the centrality of Am Yisrael B'Eretz Yisrael. Both Yom HaAtmaut and Yom Yerushalayim are celebrated as holidays and important milestones toward the ultimate Geulah.
Attitude Towards University Studies
Students are in no way discouraged from continuing their university studies after they complete their studies at the Midrasha. While a number of students choose to continue their studies in Israeli universities, the great majority of students opt to return to their home countries to complete their education. While the Midrasha encourages students to continue in a religious framework such as Stern College, students in fact opt for a wide range of schools.
Attitude Towards Extracurricular Activities
Chesed is an integral element of the program at the Midrasha. Students participate in a wide range of volunteer activities on a regular basis. Students are also able to pursue their own outside interests in the (limited) free time that the weekly schedule provides. In this context, student organized activities such as art, choir and music are supported.
Preparation for Post Israel
Throughout the year, the Midrasha gives a year long Israel advocacy course. Students also have the option to participate in the Jerusalem U fellowship program.
The Midrasha organizes a two day seminar at the end of the year dedicated to preparing students for their return to Chutz LaAretz. Topics addressed include life on college campus, maintaining and strengthening family relationships, and applying values and educational messages in a less supportive environment.
The "Successful" Student
In the Midrasha we believe that all of our students are individuals, and therefore there is no single template that defines a 'successful' student. In the Midrasha we attempt to give our students the tools to live as a shomeret Mitzvot in modern society. We hope that our graduates will see Israel as the natural place to build their lives.
At the Midrasha, Tzniut is approached as an internalized value for both men and women. This value is reflected in a number of external behaviors, including but not limited to dress. In light of this, the Midrasha has no formal dress code but rather a series of guidelines. Students are expected to wear skirts which cover the knee at all time, shirts that meet the skirt and reach the elbow, have appropriate necklines and are not overly tight. Body piercings (other than ear) are not allowed.
At the Midrasha we are committed to maintaining a small school environment even as we have grown to our maximum size. This means that there is a wide range of faculty members available for guidance and consultation at any time. The formal guidance staff is led by our Head Mashgicha, who is assisted by five mashgichot, the Eim Bayit and a proactive group of seven madrichot.
Each Mashgicha is responsible for a group of roughly 20-25 students. The Mashgicha sits regularly with each student in her group on an individual basis, helping her to identify both her personal and educational goals and then helps guide the student towards achieving those goals. Each group spends informal time with their mashgichot as well, creating a warm and nurturing environment for the entire group.
Students are expected to participate in all aspects of the program. Although attendance is only taken during night seder, small sizes mean that students who are not participating fully in the program do not 'slip through the cracks', allowing us to work with them to ensure that the program is meeting their needs.
Students are expected to uphold Midrasha standards at all times. Drinking, smoking and going to pubs or other inappropriate places of entertainment are strictly forbidden. There is a strictly enforced curfew.
Studies are split between Torah She Beal Peh, Torah She B'chtav (Torah and Nach), Machshava, and Halacha. The varying backgrounds of students coming from all over the world necessitates multiple levels, especially in classes where chavruta study is an essential segment of the curriculum. In these areas there are generally three or four levels, with multiple options within levels. Students choose their own classes with direction from the guidance staff. A strong emphasis is placed on Gemara, allowing students who are interested to spend between four and thirteen hours a week in Gemara seder and classes. We recognize, however, that not all students are interested in learning Gemara, and those students have the option of intensive Machshava seder and classes given parallel to the Gemara seder. Flexible Beit Medrash time enables students to add independent study hours in these and other areas.
The educational philosophy of Midreshet HaRova puts an emphasis on offering a wide range of courses to meet the varied interests of the student body. There is generally a choice of five to seven courses in a given time slot. There is an equal emphasis placed on Chumash and Torah She Beal Peh/Machshava, with a lesser emphasis placed on courses in Nach, Halacha and History. There is an optional teachers training program as well, where the emphasis is divided equally between educational philosophy and use of creative techniques such as art and drama as educational tools.
The Midrasha sponsors a Creative Arts department catering to creative interests of our student body. The program is founded on the belief that students with particular sensitivities and skills will learn better by applying artistic modes of thinking to their Torah and create better by drawing from the rich and deep sources of Torah for inspiration. Programs are offered in Art, Drama, and Creative Writing. Further information regarding Creative Arts opportunities at the Midrasha can be found in our course catalog.
The day runs from 8:30 AM until 10:00 PM, with a two hour break for lunch and an hour break for dinner. Morning and night seder tend to be chavruta oriented, and afternoon classes tend to be frontal. The flexibility that students have in designing their schedules allows for students who are more interested in beit medrash study to devote as much as 75% of their time to chavruta, while students who are more interested in lectures can spend as little as 40% of their time in the beit medrash. There is no time set for group tefilla, enabling students to daven at the Kotel or in local shuls.
Language of Instruction
Between 10%-20% of the classes are taught in Hebrew, and the rest are given in English
Ulpan or Hebrew Class
There is a formal Hebrew language as part of the teachers training program as well as an intensive (7 weekly hour) Ulpan.
Assessment and Grading
Students receive Pass/Fail transcripts based on participation. Students who wish to earn a transcript with letter grades must either take exams or submit projects in order to receive grades.
There is a formal Shana Bet program when there is sufficient demand. Over the past number of years Shana Bet groups have ranged from four to thirteen students. Generally, a group of students choose to stay in Israel in order to volunteer for Sherut LeUmi (National Service).
Midreshet HaRova is a participant in the Yeshiva University Joint Program and the Israel Experience Program (IEP) of the Hebrew Theological College.
Rav David Milston, a musmach of the Chief Rabbinate and an alumnus of Yeshivat Har Etzion and Jews College in London heads the Overseas Program.
The Head Mashgicha is Mrs. Devorah Starr.
Rav Ari Shames and Rav Michael Susman are assistant directors.
The faculty reflects the entire spectrum of the Religious Zionist/Centrist Orthodox world, providing students with multiple perspectives on a range of philosophical and Halachik issues.
Interaction with Israelis
Students are encouraged to experience Israel to the fullest. Overseas students live with Israeli students, and participate with them in a variety of activities and Tiyulim. Programs focusing on current events and the political situation in Israel are a regular part of the informal education program.
Special Informal Programs
An extensive Guest Speaker program exposes students to a wide variety of topics and viewpoints beyond those presented as part of the regular timetable. Guest speakers are invited to the Midrasha on a weekly basis.
The Midrasha maintains a fully equipped workout room.
Programming for Shabbat and Yom Tov
There is an In-Shabbat, spent with a visiting faculty member, once every three Shabbatot. There are also other group Shabbatot outside the Midrasha. Rosh HaShana is spent in groups, with Madrichot, in various communities around Israel. Students enjoy home hospitality as well as special group activities arranged for them in order to enhance their Rosh HaShana. Yom Kippur is spent as a group in the Midrasha. Room and board, as well as a range of activities and programming, is provided during the Sukkot and Pessach vacation periods.
There is generally a tiyul once every three weeks, as well as a series of four or five overnight tiyulim during the year. There is a siyurim course, which is dedicated to hikes throughout Yerushalayim. The goals of the tiyulim are to see Tanach through hiking, to acquire a love of Ereetz Yisrael through hiking, and, most importantly, to have fun!
Poland Trip: The Midrasha conducts two yearly trips to Poland, one in the spring for Northern Hemisphere students and the second during the summer, in conjuction with the MTA program, for the Southern Hemisphere students. The trip focuses on both the beauty and legacy of the Jewish community of Eastern Europe, as well as on the destruction of that community at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. Trip participants are required to dedicate several hours to special preparatory lectures prior to their departure, as well as prepare ceremonies and presentations which are given in Poland. The cost of the trip is not included in tuition. (There is no charge for MTA participants).
Level of Learning Offered
There are several levels of courses offered at Midreshet HaRova
Beginner- familiar with basic Jewish texts
Intermediate - can independently learn Chumash text, and begin to learn Mefarshim
Advanced - able to independently learn Mefarshim on Chumash, Shulchan Arukh, etc.
Hebrew Knowledge Required
Beginner - shiurim are mainly in English
Intermediate and Advanced- shiurim in Hebrew and in English
While the majority of Midrasha students, especially those from North America, fall into the intermediate and advanced categories, the international character of the Midrasha's student body requires that we cater to students who have not always had the opportunity to devote several hours daily to limmudei kodesh in high school. As a result, motivated students with a more limited background can find a track which is uniquely suited for them, as well as the opportunity to advance to higher levels as their skills improve.
Religious Observance Required
All students are expected to be fully committed to a lifestyle of Torah and Mitzvot.
Type of American Student
American students hail from all over the country and a variety of backgrounds, from public school to the entire spectrum of Centrist Orthodox high schools. The Midrasha has a reputation of being a school with a highly diverse student body, and the percentage of students from the New York area tends to be relatively low (about 35% in the 5774 academic year).
Overall Number of Students (Kollel, Israeli, Foreign)
190 (first and second year foreign, first year Israeli)
Foreign Student Percentage
Number of 1st Year American Students
Number of 2nd Year American Students
The Midrasha is an international program, with a high percentage of students in the Overseas program hailing from countries other than the United States and Canada (35%-40% depending on the given academic year). The bulk of these students come from Australia, England, Europe, and South Africa
Number of Students per Class
Classes range from five students to fifty five, with the average size about 15-18 students.
Students live in the dormitory or in apartments in the Rova. There are generally house three to five students in a room. Bnot Chutz La'aretz are housed with Israeli students. Bathroom facilities and showers are located on each floor in the dormitory, and within each apartment unit. Email and Internet Access: Both the dormitory and the apartments have wi-fi access. There is a separate Torah research computer center which provides access for study and research purposes.
Availability of Private Kitchen Facilities
There are limited kitchen facilities available in the apartments
Facility use during Shabbat and Yom Tov
There is generally an in-Shabbat once every three weeks. Students may stay in the dormitories with full board on an out-Shabbat, provided that a minimum number (5) of students are staying in. Room and board are provided during all vacation times.
There is a strictly enforced curfew. Students must leave a landline phone number for where they are staying for Shabbat, as well as informing us when they anticipate returning after Shabbat.
All Midrasha buildings are kept locked at all times and may only be accessed by code. There are security guards present on campus. Depending on the security situation in Israel student travel to certain areas may require parental permission, and other areas may be placed entirely off limits.
Midreshet HaRova was established in 1991 in order to provide an educational framework for students from England, Europe, Australia and South Africa who were looking for a full year learning program. Four years later we opened our doors to North American students as well. Today, Midreshet HaRova continues to service a diverse international population seeking a demanding learning program in an intense but warm and open environment. The Midrasha's multi building Old City campus houses 120 first year students in the Overseas Program and another 60 first year students in the Israeli program.
Midreshet HaRova is a participant in the S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program of Yeshiva University and the Israel Experience Program (IEP) of the Hebrew Theological College.
New Israeli Shekel 98,000 (5778 Academic year)
The type of student who is generally attracted to the Midrasha is a highly motivated young woman who is looking for an intensive, high-level program in a strongly Zionist environment. The international character of the student body attracts young women who are interested in interacting with people from different backgrounds and are seeking a less homogeneous atmosphere. The open intellectual environment, combined with the wide variety of the faculty is particularly attractive to a more creative type of student who is interested in exploring a range of ideas and approaches. Since it was established Midreshet HaRova has been the home to well over a thousand young women seeking the tools to help them take their place in the Jewish community. The Midrasha maintains active contact with its Bogrot, through shiurim, (email and visiting), chat rooms and shabbatonim. Anyone who would like to be in contact with a bogeret of the Midrasha from their area can contact the Midrasha office at any time.
50 Rechov Chabad
Old City, Jerusalem 97500
Phone: (02) 626-5970
Fax: (02) 628-4690
Rabbi David Milston, Director
Phone: (02) 626-5971
Cell: (052) 357-1362
Rabbi Michael Susman, Associate Director Recruitment
Phone: (02) 626-5972
Cell: (054) 566-5139