Midreshet Tehillah—S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program
Goal of Program
For students to develop a sophisticated understanding of Torah, themselves, and the connection between the two. For students to recognize their unique place in the Jewish people, the strength which this gives them and the responsibility it places upon them. For students to appreciate the impact of our return to the Land of Israel and the unique opportunity which this creates. For students to understand the world around them, the challenges which specifically define our generation, and how this effects our connection to Torah and one another. For students to internalize their commitment to Torah in a deep and genuine manner so that they can live in the world with integrity as a genuinely religious and growing person. For students to understand what it means to be a Torah observant Jewish woman in this generation and to truly identify and define themselves around this concept.
Attitude Towards Israel and Medinat Yisrael
We deeply appreciate that we have the opportunity to live in Eretz Yisrael and in Medinat Yisrael. We recognize that this gift was given to enable us to create a community based on Torah values in our Land. We recognize that staggering personal sacrifices were made to make this possible, often by people with very different ideas of what Eretz Yisrael should be. We encourage our students to understand with depth and sensitivity the varying approaches held by different communities to the religious relevance of Medinat Yisrael, so that their personal hashkafic choices are made thoughtfully rather than simply through cultural association. In practical terms, Midreshet Tehillah celebrates Yom Ha’atzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim and appropriately observes Yom HaShoah and Yom HaZikaron.
Attitude Towards University Studies
After completing their year at Midreshet Tehillah students scatter to the full gamut of college and university options. Many attend Stern or Touro, some go to local colleges and universities, some stay in Israel for a second year, some attend fast track college degree granting programs, a few attend more prestigious secular universities.
Attitude Towards Extracurricular Activities
The academic program at Midreshet Tehillah is intense and focused so there is little time for major projects outside the structure of the program. That being said students with strong interest in particular activities have found avenues through which to pursue those interests while in school such as setting up art lessons with local artists—the neighborhood in which the school is located is endowed with a number of richly talented people in diverse areas. Our curriculum includes one evening a week of Chugim – informal educational activities such as Jewish Music, Jewish Art, Israel Advocacy, Meditation and Mindfullness etc. Students often organize other chugim amongst themselves (Karate etc). Many of our students are careful about exercise and either jog or join a nearby gym or pool. There is also excellent gym equipment on campus next to the laundry room, allowing students to go around in circles along with their laundry.
Preparation for Post Israel
We end the year with a “Re-Entry Seminar” devoted to meeting the challenges of continuing growth upon return from seminary. In addition, students are counseled individually and offered guidance for their particular circumstances.
The "Successful" Student
In this increasingly complex, amoral, and intrusive world a student has been successful at Midreshet Tehillah if she internalizes her love, understanding, and commitment to Torah, Mitzvot, and the Jewish People to the point where she can hold solidly to her ideals through life and make good, healthy choices reflective of her true values. Our goal is for students to become deeper versions of themselves.
Our dress code is typical for a strong seminary. Most of our students have one neck two elbows and two knees. Relatively loose-fitting clothing must cover these areas and everything in between with no slits in skirts and closed-toed footwear. Generally the dress at Midreshet Tehillah is casual — though some students dress more formally, depending upon background, cultural differences, taste. The diversity of our student body is reflected in a diversity of dress styles.
Midreshet Tehillah is renowned for the close and lasting relationships built up between students and faculty members over the course of the year. There are many levels of mentoring available within the school. We try to give students plenty of space to choose the level of closeness or privacy they desire, but a 20 minute one on one with a designated faculty member either for learning or schmoozing is built into every student's schedule. Teachers are trained to bring sophistication to their understanding and interaction with students, but also to know their limits. We have staff with professional training and experience to recognize when a student needs something more and to facilitate her getting it.
Attendance at all classes and school activities is required. On-campus curfew at 11:30 pm is strictly enforced. Several families reside on the grounds and, to maintain security, an armed guard is on duty at the main entrance to the gated campus.
The curriculum centers around deep learning of Machshava, Hashkafa, Tanach, Halacha, and Jewish History, with a textual source as the centerpiece of each class. The program is weighed more heavily toward deep understanding than breadth of knowledge. We concentrate our efforts on stretching students intellectually. For those looking for more of a text and skills focus and to be stretched academically, we have a parallel Beit Midrash Track with ample guided chavruta learning complimenting class discussion.
Machshava: Ramchal, Pirkei Machshava, Bayit Yehudi, Bein Adam, Ta’amei Hamitzvot, Ma’agal Hashana, Torah MiSinai,Tefillah, Musar, Pirkei Avot, Parsha Bekiut and Iyun, and much more
Tanach: Bereishit, Parsha, Chumash Be’Iyun, Beit Midrash, Mishlei, Tehillim, Shevatim B'Tanach, Melachim, Overview of Nach, Topics in Sefer Devarim, and much more.
Halacha: Hilchot Shabbat, Hilchot Tefillah/Kashrut, Hilchot Bein Adam l'Chavero, Hilchot Nashim, Torah SheBa’al Peh.
History: Modern Jewish History, Historical Development of Torah
Classes run from Sunday through Thursday, 9:00 – 12:50 for everyone, 2:00 – 5:30 with flexibility of scheduling depending upon the course selection of the student, and 7:00 – 8:45 for everyone.
Language of Instruction
Classes are taught in English, as our primary goal is deep comprehension and the material we present is subtle, requiring one to work with her mother tongue for precise understanding. We offer an optional ulpan for those seeking to improve their conversational Hebrew.
Ulpan or Hebrew Class
Ulpan is offered.
Assessment and Grading
Grades are based on tests, papers, projects, attendance, and class participation. The school is generally experienced as a lishma experience – serious but not stressful. But there are midterms and finals, as grades are needed for college credit.
Midreshet Tehilla has a Shana Bet program. Mornings and evenings are kodesh. Afternoons are dedicated to college work, with an option to complete a US BA during the second year or to take classes that will advance the process of attaining a BA upon return to the US.
College accreditations by: YU/Stern, Touro, Teacher’s Institute of Chicago, NCCR
• Rabbi Dr. Dovid Refson, Dean
• Jeremy Kagan, Minahel
• Rabbi Anthony Manning, Co-Director
• Mrs. Susan Kagan – Co-Director
• Mrs. Michal Levy – Extra Curricular Coordinator
• Mrs. Ariella Cohen, Housemother
• Rabbi Zev Leff
• Rabbi Yehoshua Schwab
• Rabbi Shlomo Cohen
• Rabbi Shalom Apelbaum
• Mrs. Arielle Arieli
• Ms. Miriam Brunner
• Mrs Nechama Carter
• Mrs Ilana Cowland
• Rabbi Jamie Cowland
• Mrs. Brocha David
• Mrs Ayelet Encave
• Mrs Rena Gershenfeld
• Ms. Ayelet Gordon
• Mrs. Leah Hasten
• Mrs. Raquel Kirszenbaum
• Rabbi Gabi Kruskal
• Rabbi Samuel Landau
• Rabbi Dov Lev
• Mrs. Chana Levitan
• Rabbi Yaakov Marcus
• Mrs. Nadia Morris
• Mrs. Shalva Muschel
• Rabbi Menachem Nissel
• Mrs. Rivki Norman
• Mrs. Tova Orenbuch
• Rabbi Simcha Poupko
• Rabbi Y.A. Refson
• Rabbi Menachem Salasnick
• Rabbi Baruch Schechter
• Mrs Bracha Sendic
• Mrs, Rochel Silber
• Mrs. Miriam Tannenbaum
• Rabbi Moshe Yehudah Turner
Interaction with Israelis
Students spend Shabbatot throughout the country and do chesed both with families and in institutions in Jerusalem.
Special Informal Programs
Chagigot and the inter-seminary choir competition open artistic outlets to students. Yamei Iyun allow for concentrated focus on specific topics and guest lectures introduce some of the outstanding personalities of the Jewish World to our students.
There is gym equipment on campus. There are also dance and exercise classes on the campus (for a small fee). In the surrounding area there are several professional gyms and a swimming pool.
Programming for Shabbat and Yom Tov
Approximately once a month, we have Shabbatonim. Several of these are held off campus to allow students to experience different communities around the country – for example Tzfat, the Old City, Bnei Brak, a Yishuv and others - broadening their understanding of what it is or can be like to live in Israel. On Shabbatot and Yamim Tovim when Midreshet Tehillah does not have a group program organized most students make their own arrangements with family and friends. We assist all those who want help setting up meals with families and faculty members.
The Midreshet Tehillah program includes a full compliment of day and over night tiyulim traveling around the country. Emphasis is put on seeing the places where the events of Tanach occurred and hiking to give students a chance to form a personal connection with Eretz Yisrael. Accommodations are made for those who have difficulty hiking.
Level of Learning Offered
Classes are on a sophisticated level for students with a serious interest in learning, thinking, and growing. Classes are presented in a fashion which accommodates Hebrew skill levels ranging from beginner to complete fluency.
Hebrew Knowledge Required
Student Hebrew levels range from beginners to complete fluency. All classes which work directly with text have beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.
Religious Observance Required
Full commitment to shemirat Torah and mitzvot.
Type of American Student
Students typically come from Yeshiva High Schools such as Bruriah and Yeshiva of Greater Washington, or out of town Beit Yaakovs like Valley Torah or BY of Baltimore. Of the American girls, typically about 1/4 come from NY, and about 3/4 come from outside NY.
Overall Number of Students (Kollel, Israeli, Foreign)
60 - 70 students.
Foreign Student Percentage
About 1/4 of our students are foreign, with the majority from England and South Africa.
Number of 1st Year American Students
50 - 60 students.
Number of 2nd Year American Students
Typically 10 -15 students stay on for our shana bet program.
England, South Africa, Brazil, Switzerland, Holland, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Mexico, and Australia.
Number of Students per Class
Varies by class with the smallest having six to eight students. A few classes per week are given to the whole school together.
The school is housed on the spacious Neve Yerushalayim campus, with plenty of open, green spaces contained within this gated facility. Residence buildings are divided into apartments, with each apartment having four or six bedrooms and washroom facilities with showers. Three - four students live in each bedroom. The large dining hall serves three meals a day. Washing machines and dryers for laundry are available in the main school building. There is a gym facility.
Availability of Private Kitchen Facilities
Three meals a day are provided in the campus dining room. Meals are also served during vacations. Our building has a small kitchen with a fridge, sink, counter space, cupboards, and a microwave. Students generally develop extraordinary creativity and skill in supplementing their diet with these minimal facilities.
Facility use during Shabbat and Yom Tov
The dorm is always open, with meals either provided on campus or with families in the neighborhood.
On-campus curfew at 11:30 any night when there are classes the next day, and 12:00 on nights that do not have classes the next day, such as Thursday night.
Armed guard 24 hours at the campus gate. Students have Student ID cards which are required to enter the campus late at night. Students are updated on the country-wide security situation when relevant and when it is deemed necessary we restrict students’ movement.
Midreshet Tehillah first began in 2002, and has rapidly risen to prominence, becoming a program of choice for motivated students looking for a genuine growth experience.
YU/Stern, Touro, Teacher’s Institute of Chicago
Tuition is $25,000
1 Beit Yitzchak Street, Hakablan
(mailing address) P.O. Box 43016
Har Nof, Jerusalem 91430
Phone: (02) 654-4578
Rabbi Jeremy Kagan
Rabbi Anthony Manning