Pardes North America

Torah Belongs to Us All

Pardes North America creates Torah learning experiences with the goal of helping participants to improve their lives, strengthen relationships and build a better society.

Pardes North America seeks to fill a critical gap in North American Jewish life. In North America, there are a number of opportunities for deep Jewish learning experiences calibrated to meet the needs of advanced learners. In addition, low barrier social and cultural programming is available for creating relationship-based engagement. However, this leaves a gap in which those who seek deeper understanding of Judaism and the Jewish people are unable to find their place.  Pardes North America is poised to be the first organization that will blend text-based, rich-content Jewish learning with relationship-based engagement to reach those segments of the North American population seeking a deeper connection.

Pardes North America sees the hybrid mix of deep Jewish learning and relationship-based engagement as the keys to building a brighter Jewish future in North American based on five core beliefs:

PARDES: A DEEPER ORCHARD

In Hebrew, Pardes means “orchard”, but it is also an acronym for the 4 different levels of understanding sacred text: Pshat (plain meaning), Remez (hint), Drash (interpretation), Sod (secret). Pardes is an expansive and open orchard, through which Jews of all backgrounds can enter and taste from the many fruits of Torah.

  • Knowledge is power and the antidote to the pervasive sense of Jewish insecurity, guilt, and apathy that prevents so many Jews from living more active Jewish lives.
  • Jewish learning that is rigorous and relevant and that takes place in small groups is one of the most effective tools for reaching and inspiring Jews in the periphery.
  • Jewish learning is the best way to help good leaders become great leaders fostering increased levels of passion, reliance, and creativity.
  • Relationship-based engagement is the missing delivery system in the Jewish education sector.  By using both its expertise in Jewish learning and in relationship-based engagement, Pardes North America will be able to reach tens of thousands of Jews who are not already engaged in Jewish learning.
  • When it comes to partnerships, Pardes North America strives to meet partners where they are and collaborate to design customized Jewish learning opportunities that fit their needs and goals.

Our Work

Pardes North America is a movement of educators, students, alumni and leaders that work to connect Jews in North America to transformative Torah learning experiences. In order to do this, Pardes North America is building a series of initiatives, curricular tools, North American faculty, and field-building research that will help engage thousands of new learners in high-impact Torah study.  There are three distinct ways that Pardes North America is working to reach these populations:

  • Investing in Pardes Alumni Pardes North America will invest in the 7,000+ alumni in North America in ways that will both feed their hunger for Jewish learning and that will deputize them to become creators and conveners of new Jewish learning experiences that will reach Jews not already connected to existing Jewish learning opportunities.
  • Investing in Leaders and Influencers – Pardes North America will work with a select group of leaders, influencers, and existing organizations to create high-impact Torah learning experiences that will expand their educational and relationship-based engagement capacity so that they can, in turn, identify and engage new populations of Jews with Pardes content and teachers.
  • Fostering a Stronger Ecosystem for Jewish Learning – Pardes North America will host large-scale public events, build out Pardes Online, and engage in thought leadership and field-building work that will foster an ecosystem that makes Jewish learning more accessible and attractive to Jews throughout North America.

The Pardes North America Team:

Rabbi Mike Uram
mike@pardes.org
Chief Vision and Education Officer of Pardes North America

Rabba Shani Gross
shani@pardes.org
Director of North American Programs

David Gutbezahl
davidg@pardes.org
Technology and Communications Associate

Darielle Shandler
darielle@pardes.org
Programs Associate