Nishmat's Shana Ba'aretz Program—S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program

Shana Ba'Aretz is Nishmat's post-high school program for students who want to immerse themselves in an environment that cultivates their intellectual growth, spiritual maturity, leadership potential and Hebrew-language skills.


Goal of Program
Shana Ba'Aretz provides students with an intellectually challenging and spiritually nurturing year of Torah study in a uniquely Israeli environment.

At Nishmat you will spend a year studying in chevruta, side-by side with Nishmat's advanced scholars, in our Bet Midrash. You will develop proficiency in Tanach, Gemara, Halacha, and Machshava.

You will be integrated into an Israel Bet Midrash sharing your chevrutot, classes and dormitory apartments with Israeli students – b'Ivrit.

At Nishmat, growth in Avodat Hashem comes through learning Torah and through sharing Shabbatot, tefillah, and chessed together with an exceptional community of students and faculty. With shiurim on Chassidut, Tefillah, Mussar and Machashava, we encourage each student to fulfill her spiritual potential, to embark on a lifelong journey of Torah study and worship of G-d.

Attitude Towards Israel and Medinat Yisrael
Nishmat is a Torani Tzioni school where Yom Ha'Atzmaut is celebrated by reciting Hallel (with a bracha). Zionism and love of the Jewish people permeate the Nishmat experience. Tanach in hand, Shana Ba'Aretz students explore Israel in-depth, getting to know intimately the land and its people. Students participate in regular chessed activities that enable them to contribute to building the State of Israel and helping people in need.

Attitude Towards University Studies
Virtually all Nishmat students, Israeli and overseas, enroll in college or university before or after studying at Israel, a practice encouraged by Nishmat's faculty and student advisors. Nishmat encourages its students to strive to reach their potential in Torah study, yirat Shamayim, and mitzvot ben adam l'chavero, and to strive for healthy participation in secular education and contemporary society.

Attitude Towards Extracurricular Activities
We are prepared to consider special requests from students with special interests: we have had students who also are musicians, athletes, volunteers at MDA, and even a volunteer firefighter. All students participate in chesed activities, volunteering with various organizations in Jerusalem, tutoring, and assisting needy families.

Preparation for Post Israel
We prepare the students with a series of seminars dealing with life on campus. Those students interested in staying in Israel we help with organizing national service.

The "Successful" Student
A young woman empowered to learn Torah independently, who sees her learning as an integral part of her religious life and who will integrate Torah learning on an on-going basis with her higher academic and professional pursuits. A young woman with the ambition and passion to become a leader, and to make a contribution to the Jewish people. A young woman who always will feel entirely at home in Israel, wherever she chooses to live.

We expect our students to study the sources relating to הלכות צניעות  and each to find her place within the range of halachic perspectives. At all times during your year at Nishmat we expect our students to behave in a way respectful of the Bet Midrash and befitting a student in our school.

Guidance Personnel
Nishmat faculty and staff meet with students on a regular basis both formally and informally to discuss their progress in the educational program and to encourage their personal and spiritual growth. These encounters take place not only in the school setting, but also in the homes of the teachers, staff, and madrichot on Shabbat, where the atmosphere is more relaxed and informal. Each Shana Ba'Aretz student has a chevruta bogeret with a madricha or older Israeli student once a week. Students have a dinner together once a week with their Rakezet, and meet once a week with the head of their program as a group to discuss issues that have come up in the midrasha or in the program. The rakezet works exclusively with the Shana Ba'Aretz program and arranges the group's chevra events. Each student is also assigned a personal mentor for the year from among the staff who meets with her on a regular basis to discuss questions of learning and personal growth.

When interviewing and processing applications we look for responsible, independent students who have a sense of responsibility to their learning program and arrive back at the dormitory at reasonable times. Due to the high ratio of staff to students, the madrichot, the director, and the staff are able to keep track of the activities of each student. All alcohol and drugs are strictly forbidden to students under any circumstances.


Our curriculum balances Torah Shebe'al Peh , Tanach and Machshava.

Courses Offered
Talmud, Halacha, Gemara, Machshava, Mussar, Tanach, courses in Faith and Culture, practical Halacha, Rav Kook, Rambam, Women and Halacha, the Kedusha and Spirit of Oral Law, Tefilla, and contemporary halachic issues.

Daily Schedule
At Nishmat Students begin their day at 8:30 am and end the day at 11pm with the completion of night seder (three times a week). There are breaks for lunch and dinner.

Mornings at Nishmat are devoted to Torah Shebe'al Peh -Talmud and Halacha. Each morning consists of a two hour seder with chevruta, and an hour shiur. We offer different levels of Gemara, for beginners, and advanced students. The hour long "Shiurei boker" before the main seder are devoted to machshava, and bekiut learning. Rabbanit Henkin and Rav Sperling give a weekly "sicha" on mussar or current issues that have come up in the Bet Midrash.

Afternoons are devoted primarily to Tanach with some classes in Machshava (philosophy, mussar and Chassidut) as well. Students are able to choose between different options in the afternoon. Most classes consist of seder (2 hours) and shiur.

Students also have courses in Faith and Culture, practical halacha, Rav Kook, Rambam, Women and Halacha, the Kedusha and Spirit of Oral Law, Tefilla, and contemporary halachic issues.

Night seder is devoted to learning either Gemara or Tanach. We complete a masechet together over the course of the year.

Language of Instruction
85% of Shana Ba'Aretz classes take place in Hebrew -chevruta and shiur. The other 15%, one a day (usually one hour) is in English and here students have an opportunity to debate, question and discuss their opinions on more contemporary issues -women's issues, modern halachic questions, and questions of faith.

Ulpan or Hebrew Class
Our students tell us that the best ulpan is preparing dinner together with their Israeli dorm mates, going to an Israeli family for Shabbat, and learning in Hebrew all day.

Assessment and Grading
We provide grades only if students request them for transcripts. Many classes encourage students to give a presentation on a subject related to the subject.

Shana Bet
Nishmat's "shiur bet" for our Israeli student is an attractive option for Shana Ba'aretz students who wish to continue learning for a second year.

Joint Program
Shana Ba'aretz is part of Yeshiva University's S. Daniel Abraham Joint Israel Program.


Nishmat's faculty encourages students to question and to debate the issues important to them. Inspiring role models, Nishmat rabbis and teachers help you along the challenging path to authentic Torah-observance in the modern world.

Rabbanit Chana Henkin, Dean
Rabbi Yehuda Henkin, Rabbinic Advisor
Rabbi Joshua Weisberg

Rabbanit Noa Lau

Rabbi Da'vid Sperling
Rabbi Mendel Blachman
Laurie Novick

Adi Bitter

Yehudit Goldberg

Simi Peters
Dr. Keren Kirschenbaum

Rabbi David Sabato

Rabbanit Chana Henkin, Nishmat's founder and dean, is one of today's most acclaimed Jewish educators. She has redrawn the landscape of women's Torah leadership by pioneering the role of Yoatzot Halacha. Rabbanit Henkin is a graduate of Yeshiva University's Stern College and Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. She received Honorary Doctorates from both Bar Ilan and Yeshiva University, and was awarded Israel's prestigious Agrest Prize for innovative religious education. The Henkins made Aliyah in 1972 and live in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Joshua Weisberg, director of the Shana Ba'Aretz program, moved to Israel in the late 80's after graduating from Wesleyan University. He spent the following years in intensive Talmud study in Israeli yeshivot, Or Etzion, and Bet Morasha. Rabbi Weisberg has a Masters degree in Jewish history, and wrote an award-winning thesis on the political thought of the Rosh. Rabbi Weisberg teaches his students to ask themselves foremost how what they are learning can change their spiritual and ethical lives.

Interaction with Israelis
Our students are part of everyday Israeli life since they are living and learning with their Israeli classmates.

Special Informal Programs
For all Jewish Holidays and Israeli celebrations, students receive special shiurim and actively participate in preparing the chagigot at Nishmat.

Sports Facilities
No information provided

Programming for Shabbat and Yom Tov
Shana Ba'Aretz students spend five Shabbatot a year on campus with the entire school and guest faculty families. Additional Shabbatot are organized and planned together with the students every two or three weeks at sites around the country and at faculty homes.

Students tremendously enjoy spending "free" Shabbatot with their Israeli chevrutot and friends. Shana Ba'Aretz madrichot speak with each student mid-week to make sure she has a place for Shabbat. No one is left behind. Nishmat dormitory-apartments are open throughout the school year, including on Shabbat and Yom Tov. Home hospitality is provided for any student who does not (yet) have friends or family in Israel. Shana Ba'Aretz students have an advantage that their Israeli classmates invite them home on a regular basis. The dormitory staff is available to any student who wishes to stay in the dormitory during the holiday periods.

Field Trips
Every month students leave Jerusalem at least once, with hiking boots and a Tanach, and explore the country. The other monthly tiyul is one in a series of "siyurim" in and around Jerusalem. Students learn about the neighborhoods of Old and New Jerusalem, the history, the synagogues and the personalities that have made Jerusalem what it is.


Level of Learning Offered
Advanced – Learning at Nishmat is textual, and involves several hours of chevruta learning on a daily basis.

Hebrew Knowledge Required
Advanced – most shiurim for Shana Ba'Aretz students are in Hebrew. Rabbis/teachers, and most of the other students are Israeli.

Religious Observance Required
Students must be committed to keeping halacha, and to growing religiously and spiritually.


Type of American Student
Shana Ba'Aretz students were graduates of yeshiva high school programs across North America. Every year we have several students who come from community schools or public schools.

Overall Number of Students (Israeli, Foreign)

Foreign Student Percentage

Number of Shana B'Aretz students

Number of 2nd Year American Students
No information provided

Other Nationalities
Students from all over the world come to study at Nishmat.

Number of Students per Class
Shana Ba'aretz classes consist of between 10 and 30 students.


Living Quarters
Nishmat students live in dormitory apartments on a closed campus that includes the Bet Midrash and classrooms.

Apartments accommodate 5-6 students. The typical bedroom is furnished with beds, closet space, chairs and desks for two students. The common area consists of a living area, a kitchen (supplied with stovetop, refrigerator, dairy and parve dishes and utensils), a bathroom. The campus maintains coin operated washing machines and dryers, as well as an elliptical machine and treadmill.

Nishmat provides students with a hot lunch each school day and occasional suppers, in connection with special evening programs. Most days, students are responsible for their own breakfast and supper. Meals are provided on Shabbatonim and tiyulim. Students may request apartment-mates and these requests are usually honored. Shana Ba'Aretz students are in a dormitory apartment with their Israeli classmates (a ratio of two to one overseas student). Guests can stay for one or two nights by making arrangements with the dormitory staff.

Availability of Private Kitchen Facilities
Each dormitory apartment has a kitchen - supplied with stovetop, refrigerator, dairy and parve dishes and utensils.

Facility use during Shabbat and Yom Tov
Nishmat's dormitory apartments serve as our students' home while they are in Israel. Therefore, the dormitory is never closed to them during their year in our program (Shabbat, Yamim Noraim or Chagim). Under the guidance of our dormitory staff, students are either placed for meals at the homes of families in the neighborhood or conduct meals together in the proper Shabbat and holiday atmosphere with these staff members.

Meals are provided on Shabbatonim and tiyulim.

We ask students to be back on campus by 12:30

Security Arrangements
Supervision, safety, and security are taken very seriously by Nishmat faculty and staff. Nishmat strictly adheres to security regulations mandated by the Ministry of Education and Internal Security Services of the Israeli Government. Nishmat abides by security limits determined by parents for their daughter.


In 1991 Nishmat was founded with a handful of overseas students meeting in Rabbanit Chana Henkin's home, who felt a need to learn Torah with the goal of developing higher textual learning skills. Since then, the Midrasha has grown to include six different programs for American and Israeli women of all ages, and expanded to a Beit Midrash complex in the Pat neighborhood of Jerusalem. In September 2004, we opened Nishmat's Shana Ba'Aretz Program for pre-college students.

Accrediting Universities

Nishmat's Shana Ba'aretz is a Yeshiva University S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program School.


Tuition & Dormitory: $26,500.00 (includes tuition, medical insurance, extra-curricular activities, accommodation, and hot lunch)

Additional Information

For twenty-five years, Nishmat has been synonymous with advanced Torah study for women. With Shana Ba'Aretz, Nishmat offers post-high school students an integrated learning experience in an environment devoted to Torah and personal growth. The learning is text-based and high-level; the atmosphere is warm and supportive. Shana Ba'Aretz students share a learning community with Nishmat's Israeli students and advanced scholars.

Uniquely in Shana Ba'Aretz, you will enjoy your own program as well as be fully integrated with your Israeli counterparts. Students take two-thirds of their classes together with Israeli students, and one third by themselves. Most classes are Ivrit b'Ivrit; you may also choose from a variety of English-language classes in Nishmat's Alisa Flatow Overseas Program.

Growth in Avodat HaShem comes from learning Torah. We want you to have the tools to study on your own your whole life. Shana Ba'Aretz seeks to enable you to pick up a sefer kodesh on any topic, from any historical period, and grapple with it independently or in chevruta.

Such skills take time to develop. At Nishmat, women spend up to 10 hours each day in Torah study, including chevrutot, shiurim, bekiut learning, and night seder. (There is a free evening each week.) You will learn Gemara, Tanach, Machshava, and Halacha.

Contact Information



American Friends of Nishmat
520 8th Avenue, 4th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10018

Phone: 646-378-5895


26a Berl Locker Street
Pat Neighborhood, Jerusalem
Jerusalem 9328249

Phone: +972-2-640-4339
Direct US Line to Israel office – 212-444-1988
Fax: +972-2-640-4353