Pardes Learning Seminar

The Pardes Learning Seminar provides participants with Jewish learning opportunities throughout the year to engage with ancient texts and explore current issues, visit historical sites, and learn from Israel’s top educators.

Whether you prefer online study or immersing yourself in the vibrant landscape of Israel, the Pardes Learning Seminar caters to your preferences.

The Pardes Learning Seminar hosts three transformative learning programs throughout the year. Choose the one that fits your learning needs best, or join us for a year of Jewish text study with all three:

Delve Into Classical Texts: Transformative Learning for All

The Winter Online Seminar

January 14-16, 2024
A 3-day intergenerational learning experience from the comfort of your home.

The Summer In-Person Seminar

June 30-July 4, 2024
A 5-day intensive at Pardes in Jerusalem featuring renowned guest speakers and the world class Pardes faculty.

20% Early Bird Discount Deadline: 11/30!

Texts for Today Learning Series

Year-Round
A new and exclusive ongoing series throughout the year available to Pardes Learning Seminar alumni.

2024 | 5784 Learning Seminar Details

Learn more about the various Pardes Learning Seminar offerings available this year. 

Join us for a captivating three-day intergenerational Online Winter Pardes Learning Seminar as we embark on a thought-provoking exploration of what it truly means to be human. Drawing from the deep well of Jewish teachings, ethics, and the evolving landscape of artificial intelligence, we will delve into the profound questions that arise in this era of technological advancement.

According to Jewish tradition, humanity is created in the image of the Divine, B’tzelem Elokim, endowed with extraordinary gifts and capabilities that set us apart from all other beings. However, as artificial intelligence rapidly advances, it challenges the very essence of our uniqueness, surpassing human thinking, learning, and production. In light of this pivotal moment, we are compelled to seek Jewish wisdom and guidance to help us navigate the complexities of this new era and what it means to be uniquely human.

Together, we will embark on a captivating journey through the rich tapestry of our Biblical, Rabbinic, and Modern Jewish texts. From captivating narrative stories to profound insights within halakha (Jewish law) and beyond, we will tackle fundamental questions about human nature, emotion, spirituality, growth, relationships, commitment, and more. By delving into our tradition’s understanding of the human spirit and condition, purpose, and position, we aim to gain fresh perspectives on how to embrace our unique individuality as we navigate the future.

Join renowned scholars, experts, and fellow seekers of wisdom as we engage in lively discussions, interactive workshops, and inspiring presentations. This virtual seminar will create a space for deep introspection and meaningful dialogue, fostering connections between Jewish tradition and the challenges of our contemporary world.

Additional Information for the Winter Online Seminar

The Pardes Experience
Passionate Educators

The Pardes faculty’s depth of knowledge is rivaled only by their engaging teaching style and their ability to bring Judaism to life. They aim not only to teach compelling ideas, but also to give you the tools to enter personally into a conversation with your heritage.

Meaningful Jewish Study

Our renowned faculty bring together students from diverse learning backgrounds and create an educational environment that is accessible and empowering. Participants study in havruta pairs, partnering to help one another explore and gain ownership of the text. Sources are provided in their original language and in English translation.

Warm Community

Participants from around the world come together to create a cohort of passionate learners exploring Jewish themes that are challenging and inspiring. Through classes, touring and social events, participants have the opportunity to connect with peers and expand their personal networks.

Inspired Israel Experience

The combination of studying Jewish texts and ideas, together with exploring Israel, brings the classroom learning to life and allows you to see Israel in a whole new way.

Diverse and Welcoming

The Seminar is open to individuals of all Jewish educational backgrounds, from novice to expert.

Jews of all backgrounds who want to deepen their knowledge and appreciation of Jewish tradition and texts are invited to apply. We welcome participants who have studied Jewish texts before, as well as those who have not previously encountered text study.

COVID-19: Pardes complies fully with Israel Healthy Ministry regulations.

Pricing

To encourage learners of all ages and  backgrounds, we are offering a variable pricing model for the Online Winter Seminar for the very first time. Please choose the level that feels most appropriate for you.

  • Student – $150
  • Jewish Professional  – $250 
  • Young Professional – $275 
  • Standard Rate – $350
  • Benefactor (Includes sponsorship of a student) – $500

Are you interested in bringing a group to the 2024 Summer In-Person Seminar (e.g. friends, colleagues, Jewish Professional Development, synagogue members, etc.)? Contact Michael Emerson at michaele@pardes.org.il to discuss a group package.

Deposit

A minimum tuition payment of $50 is due alongside the application in order to secure your spot.
Tuition must be paid in full 30 days prior to the start of the Seminar.

Making a Payment

To make a payment in US dollars, please choose from one of the following three options:

  • Online – Click here and enter the amount you would like to pay.
  • Phone – Call (212) 447-4333 and ask to speak with Simon Dick.
  • Mail – Send a check addressed and payable to:
    Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, 228 Park Ave S, Suite 35858, New York, NY 10003-1502.
    Please include “Seminar tuition” in the memo.
Guest Policy

Participants are welcome to invite a guest to experience the Winter Online Seminar. 

Guests can join one class at no charge. For those who wish to participate in more than one class, a full day’s tuition will be charged. 
Participants must check with Pardes staff before inviting guests to ensure that space is available. All efforts will be made to accommodate the friends and family of Seminar participants.

Cancellation Policy

We understand that plans can change, and we want to make the cancellation process as convenient as possible for our participants. Registrants are eligible for a full refund, including the $50 deposit, if they cancel their participation up to one month prior to the scheduled start date of the seminar. Cancellations made after that point will be eligible for a refund of the Seminar tuition minus the $50 deposit. Participants can choose to either receive a refund or convert their paid deposit/tuition into a tax-deductible donation. 

For more information, contact Michael Emerson at michaele@pardes.org.il.

“Moses insists on three things. First we are free. The choice is ours. Blessing or curse? Good or evil? Faithfulness or faithlessness? You decide, says Moses. Never has freedom been so starkly defined, not just for an individual but for a nation as a whole. We do not find it hard to understand that as individuals we are confronted by moral choices. Adam and Eve were. So was Cain. Choice is written into the human condition.” – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks z”l

In a world abundant with individual choices, we find ourselves empowered yet bewildered, grappling with the fear of missing out and the uncertainties that arise from endless options.

Join us in-person at Pardes in Jerusalem for the Summer 2024 Pardes Learning Seminar as we explore the profound concepts of freedom versus commitment and obligation as a form of surrender.

In this seminar, we will explore the essence of genuine meaning in life. While the pursuit of freedom and leisure is often appealing, we frequently discover a sense of emptiness when unburdened by our obligations and commitments. These obligations may manifest through family, children, cultural identities, or even chosen commitments like marriage, military service, entrepreneurship, or religious faith. It is through these defining obligations that our true selves are revealed.

In a recent article written by Pardes President Rabbi Leon Morris about religious commitment for contemporary liberal Jews, he argues that commandment and freedom are not polarities. Rather, freedom expresses itself most fully through the opportunity to hear and live commandments. He makes the case for the experience of obligation and a sense of surrender, as opposed to submission, in order to “accept with our whole being, in joyous spirit.”

The Bible, throughout all 24 books, brims with narratives that illuminate the act of submitting oneself to a higher authority—a parent, spouse, child, direct command from God, or a legal system that necessitates obedience. We will delve into these stories and the halakhic texts, which offer a framework for understanding commitment and its relationship to freedom, questioning whether meticulous attention to all aspects of life reflects oppression or liberation. Finally, we will examine the perennial debate on free will versus determinism and contemplate the true extent of our ability to choose.

Additional Information for the Summer In-Person Seminar

The Pardes Experience
Passionate Educators

The Pardes faculty’s depth of knowledge is rivaled only by their engaging teaching style and their ability to bring Judaism to life. They aim not only to teach compelling ideas, but also to give you the tools to enter personally into a conversation with your heritage.

Meaningful Jewish Study

Our renowned faculty bring together students from diverse learning backgrounds and create an educational environment that is accessible and empowering. Participants study in havruta pairs, partnering to help one another explore and gain ownership of the text. Sources are provided in their original language and in English translation.

Warm Community

Participants from around the world come together to create a cohort of passionate learners exploring Jewish themes that are challenging and inspiring. Through classes, touring and social events, participants have the opportunity to connect with peers and expand their personal networks.

Inspired Israel Experience

The combination of studying Jewish texts and ideas, together with exploring Israel, brings the classroom learning to life and allows you to see Israel in a whole new way.

Diverse and Welcoming

The Seminar is open to individuals of all Jewish educational backgrounds, from novice to expert.

Please return to this page at a later date to see the full schedule for our Summer In-Person Seminar.

Interested in a sample of what Pardes Learning Seminar looks like? Download the schedule from Summer 2023.

Jews of all backgrounds who want to deepen their knowledge and appreciation of Jewish tradition and texts are invited to apply. We welcome participants who have studied Jewish texts before, as well as those who have not previously encountered text study.

COVID-19: Pardes complies fully with Israel Healthy Ministry regulations.

Tuition covers the cost of all sessions, materials, touring expenses, and meals during sessions. It does not cover airfare, hotel accommodations, and other meals.

Pricing

Standard In-Person Tuition: $1,500

Register early to receive a discount:

  • 20% discount ($1200) – Register by November 30, 2023
  • 15% discount ($1,275) – Register by January 31, 2024
  • 10% discount ($1,350) – Register by March 31, 2024

Are you a member of the Bonim Society? Bonim Society members receive a 20% discount year round.

Are you interested in bringing a group to the 2024 Summer In-Person Seminar (e.g. friends, colleagues, Jewish Professional Development, synagogue members, etc.)? Contact Michael Emerson at michaele@pardes.org.il to discuss a group package.

Deposit

A minimum tuition payment of $180 is due alongside the application in order to secure your spot.
Tuition must be paid in full 30 days prior to the start of the Seminar.

Making a Payment

To make a payment in US dollars, please choose from one of the following three options:

  • Online – Click here and enter the amount you would like to pay.
  • Phone – Call (212) 447-4333 and ask to speak with Simon Dick.
  • Mail – Send a check addressed and payable to:
    Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, 228 Park Ave S, Suite 35858, New York, NY 10003-1502.
    Please include “Seminar tuition” in the memo.
Guest Policy

Participants are welcome to invite a guest to experience the Seminar. Guests can join one class at no charge. For those who wish to participate in more than one class, a full day’s tuition will be charged. Guests can also join off-site excursions or evening meals for a fee.

Participants must check with Pardes staff before inviting guests to ensure that space is available. All efforts will be made to accommodate the friends and family of Seminar participants.

Cancellation Policy

We understand that plans can change, and we want to make the cancellation process as convenient as possible for our participants. Registrants are eligible for a full refund, including the $180 deposit, if they cancel their participation up to one month prior to the scheduled start date of the seminar. Cancellations made after that point will be eligible for a refund of the Seminar tuition minus the $180 deposit. Participants can choose to either receive a refund or convert their paid deposit/tuition into a tax-deductible donation.

Please note that this cancellation policy applies only to the registration fee for the Pardes Learning Seminar and does not cover any additional expenses incurred by the participants, such as travel or accommodation costs.

Tuition covers the cost of all sessions, materials, touring expenses, and meals during sessions. It does not cover airfare, hotel accommodations, and other meals.

Accommodations

Participants are expected to arrange for their own accommodations.

The neighborhoods closest to Pardes are Baka, German Colony, Katamon, Talpiot (possible walking distance). A bit further away from Pardes, and closer to downtown, are Rehavia, Talbiyeh, Nahlaot.

Below are suggestions to suit all budgets.

Bed & Breakfasts

An inexpensive resource is the wide array of bed & breakfast rooms; Baka Rentals and The Home Accommodation Association of Jerusalem are both good sources.

We often recommend Tami’s B&B:
7 Hananyah St., German Colony.
Tel: +972 2 5634657,
Cell: +972 547393592,
Fax: +972 2 5635348
Email: stone@shani.net.

You can also find apartments to rent short-term via Flathunting.

Little House

Many Seminar participants stay at one of the three inns of A Little House chain. They are situated in Baka, the German Colony and Rehavia.

Email melonit@o-niv.com, call +972-2-673-7944, or visit the website.

Luxury Apartment Rentals

Sweet Inn, a luxury apartment rental service, is happy to partner with Pardes.

You can find luxury rental options on their website. You can use the coupon code ‘PARDES’ to receive 10% off on all of their apartments in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

For any questions, contact Simon Ohnona.

Hotels

Special promotional rates for Pardes Learning Seminar participants are available at Jerusalem Prima Hotels (10% off) for Summer In-Person Seminar. To receive this offer, please contact Pardes’s Director of Special Projects Rabbi Michael Emerson at michaele@pardes.org.il.

Jerusalem Prima Hotels (Multiple Locations)
Prima Kings, Prima Royale, Prima Palace, and Prima Park
Tel: +972-3-9533400

Ramada Jerusalem
Ze’ev Vilnay 6 Street Jerusalem, 91033, Israel
Tel: +972-2-6599950
Email: reservations@herzlhotel.com

Dan Boutique Hotel Jerusalem on Hebron Road (Talpiot)
Tel: +972-2-568-9999

Dan Panorama Hotel (Talbiyeh)
39 Keren Hayesod Street
Tel: +972-2-569-5695

Inbal Jerusalem Hotel (Talbiyeh/German Colony)
Liberty Bell Park
3 Jabotinsky Street
Tel. +972-2-675-6666

David Citadel Hotel (Downtown)
7 King David Street
Tel: +972-2-621-1111

Orient
Emek Refaim Street 3
Tel: +972-2-569-9090

Travel Insurance

Pardes Learning Seminar participants are strongly encouraged to contact their health insurance company before traveling to Israel to learn about coverage while traveling abroad. For those interested in purchasing travel insurance, Pardes has a working relationship with a local insurance agent called Egert and Cohen, who offer “Harel” tourist insurance. Pardes students are not required to buy insurance from this company. There are many good travel insurance options available in your home country which you can contact before you travel.

If you do choose to use Egert & Cohen, please read the following details:

For participants up to age 49 

There is a special Egert & Cohen link for Pardes participants under the age of 49. Also note that there is an extra policy for coverage for worsening of pre-existing conditions for those under 49. Please contact Egert & Cohen to learn more. The cost of this Pardes student policy is not fixed, but is subject to change according to the Consumer Price Index. It is currently approximately NIS 7/day. The price is fixed on the date of purchase.

For participants above the age of 49

Participants above the age of 49 have the option to sign up for standard Tourist Insurance via Egert & Cohen. The cost and maximum number of days for the policy is based on your age and is fully explained on the website. Also to note that there is an extra policy for coverage for worsening of pre-existing conditions for those over 49 called the Gold Plan. The cost and maximum number of days for the policy is also according to age. The cost of this policy is not fixed, but is subject to change according to the Consumer Price Index. The price is fixed on the date of purchase.

Medication

Pardes suggests that participants bring an ample supply of any particular medication (prescriptions and over-the-counter items, which may be prescription in Israel) that are needed, as exact equivalents may not be available in Israel. To get US prescriptions filled in Israel one needs to get a replacement prescription from an Israeli doctor, which Pardes can help arrange. An extra pair of glasses or contact lenses may also a good idea to bring with you.

For more information, contact Michael Emerson at michaele@pardes.org.il.

Seminar alumni are invited to continue their Pardes Learning Seminar journey throughout the year by joining us for the exclusive invitation-only Texts for Today online series, featuring shiurim with our core Pardes faculty.

These 60-minute Zoom classes include havruta break-out rooms in study pairs and group discussion in an intimate learning environment.

Prospective Pardes Learning Seminar participants who would like a “taste” of the Seminar experience should reach out to Michael Emerson (michaele@pardes.org.il) to receive further information on upcoming Texts for Today sessions.

Meet the Director of PLS:  Rabbanit Nechama Goldman Barash

Nechama made aliyah from Philadelphia over 20 years ago after graduating from Stern College. She has studied at the Matan Institute’s Advanced Talmud and halakha programs, Bar-Ilan University and Nishmat’s Yoetzet Halacha program. Nechama is a certified bridal teacher and a sex educator through Yahel and the Eden Center.

Nechama teaches contemporary halakha and Talmud at Matan and Pardes, as well as Talmud and women and halakha in Torah V’Avodah (TVA). She is an active member of Beit Hillel and participates in interfaith dialogue through Roots, based in Gush Etzion, close to where she lives with her family.

Meet the Director of PLS: Rabbanit Nechama Goldman Barash

Nechama made aliyah from Philadelphia over 20 years ago after graduating from Stern College. She has studied at the Matan Institute’s Advanced Talmud and halakha programs, Bar-Ilan University and Nishmat’s Yoetzet Halacha program. Nechama is a certified bridal teacher and a sex educator through Yahel and the Eden Center.

Nechama teaches contemporary halakha and Talmud at Matan and Pardes, as well as Talmud and women and halakha in Torah V’Avodah (TVA). She is an active member of Beit Hillel and participates in interfaith dialogue through Roots, based in Gush Etzion, close to where she lives with her family.

Media and Testimonials

Donshik-cropped

“…it is a luxury to learn in an atmosphere that empowers participants to seek knowledge and information that will enable them to make their own decisions about their spiritual and religious lives.”
– Dr. Stephen Donshik

Read more about Dr. Stephen Donshik’s PLS experience at eJP.

About the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies

The Pardes Learning Seminar is a program of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies (www.pardes.org.il). 

The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies is an open, inclusive, diverse and intellectually challenging Jewish learning community based in Jerusalem with programs worldwide. Pardes cultivates a life-long love of Jewish learning, the Jewish people and Israel. Pardes inspires engagement in Jewish life — as communal and spiritual leaders, educators and active participants.