This past year alone, Pardes ran hundreds of programs, touching students around the world. In early 2019, our first-ever Winter Learning Intensive in Jerusalem brought together college students and young professionals to explore Power, Privilege and Responsibility. In December 2018 and July 2019, our Executive Learning Seminars, geared towards more established adults, explored the themes of War and Peace: The Challenges of Sovereignty and Shaping Meaningful Relationships in a Lonely World. And, in July and August 2019, our sold-out Summer Program drew more than 120 students, ranging in age from 18 to 81, from 14 different countries. These are just a few examples of the vitality of our beit midrash in Jerusalem, above and beyond our long-term Semester, Year and Educators learning programs.
Meanwhile, in North America, Pardes provided important retreats as well as professional development opportunities for Jewish educators, such as our Tefilah Education Conference for Day School Administrators and the Pardes-Kevah Teaching Fellowship, which is designed to help Jewish educators more effectively teach Jewish texts to adults. We also saw 50 communities sign up
for Mahloket Matters: How to Disagree Constructively.
Elmad, our online learning platform, was accessed thousands of times this year, bringing Pardes faculty members to learners globally through podcasts, recorded lectures, holiday companions, articles and much more. And, early this coming January, we will post the 800th episode of our signature podcast, Pardes from Jerusalem! Be sure to subscribe and visit Elmad to listen at elmad.pardes.org/podcasts.
Our two biggest projects are both a result, and an extension, of our successes: first, the imminent construction of our new home in Jerusalem, Beit Karen, fueled by an exciting $36 million endowment and capital campaign, and, second, our ambitious and budding program expansion in North America.
We – Pardes students, alumni, and supporters – are builders. And, as Rabbi Elazar said in Berakhot 64a, when we build through a love of Torah, we increase peace in our homes, in our communities and in the world.
In the following pages of this year’s Havruta magazine, I invite you to be inspired by the stories featuring our alumni and how their paths have been shaped by their experiences at Pardes. I invite you to be engaged in a stimulating back and forth discussion between two faculty members on the meaning and complexity of identity. Last but not least, I invite you to join us in thanking the hundreds of supporters whose generosity and partnership make the Pardes experience possible. Thank you.
Rabbi Leon A. Morris