Pardes offers custom-made programs from two hours to several days for groups visiting Israel.
The classes help students frame, reinforce or process their trip and see Jewish text learning as relevant to their lives. The many Birthright, Hillel, Federation and synagogue groups that have visited Pardes will attest to feeling empowered by the sudden realization that they can study Jewish text themselves. What they especially value is the opportunity for havruta (paired) study in the beit midrash (study-hall) and being stimulated by the ideas of others.
Study for groups can be tailored to the itinerary, needs and agenda of your party. Lunch and/or meeting Pardes students can also be part of your time here. Meeting students, whose life stories are often not that different from the visitors, is a powerful experience for both sides and increases participants’ connection to the Jewish people.
Navigating Leadership in the 21 st century: Lessons from the Blessings on Torah Learning
In this session, we will examine what the rabbis thought would be the best way to prepare our minds and hearts before learning Torah. How much of these words can apply to us today? What can we learn from their wisdom about leadership today?
Jewish Living as the Cultivation of a Spiritual Practice
This session explores excerpts from Rabbi Kalonymous Kalman Shapira, the Piaseczna Rebbe (d.1943). These teachings describe
Jewish living and tradition as the cultivation of a spiritual practice. The Piaseczna Rebbe’s inspiring and progressive ideas discuss our inherent spiritual nature, how we awaken to the Divine presence within us and how we can integrate this awareness into a fuller mind, body and soul experience in our lives.
Jewish History and Jewish Memory
In this session, we will examine the differences between History and Memory, how Jewish tradition relates to each, and what it might mean for us today.
The “Ever-Dying” People: What’s the Problem? What’s the Solution?
Theodor Herzl and Achad ha’Am were two of the most influential leaders in the history of modern Zionism. Yet they had radically different understandings of which crisis (anti-Semitism or Assimilation) the Jewish people faced about a century ago. We will compare and contrast their approaches, and see how the State of Israel reflects – and does not reflect – their views.
Decision Making: Sinai As Case Study
The Midrash offers us differing understandings of how the Jewish people received the Torah. Was it divine coercion? Blind Faith? Something else? We will examine some of the sources and apply them to our own decision-making.
Family Feud: What Might the Relationship of Avraham and Lot Say to a Divided Community?
This once-close Biblical relationship is torn apart by fighting over property and ideology, and they can no longer speak to each other. Can they find a way to reconcile? And what can our divided communities learn from their story?
Forty Years in the Wilderness: My Journey to Authentic Living
In this session, Yiscah Smith will recount her personal life story, based on her memoir, Forty Years in the Wilderness: My Journey to Authentic Living. Yiscah’s 40-year memoir details her joys and struggles with her own spirituality, gender identity, and commitment to living true to herself. The story she tells is one of a man, facing his truth, embracing the woman she was always meant to be, and returning to her faith with wholeness and authenticity. Yiscah will discuss as well sources of inspiration in the Jewish tradition for authentic living.
Punishment or Prevention: How Best to Deal with Crime
People tend to agree that leaders have a duty to protect their citizens. But to whom and how should that protection be extended? What is the appropriate leadership response when some citizens are a threat to the safety of others? We will explore different ways that our texts relate to crime prevention and violence and how these positions are reflected in explosive contemporary debates. This session is part of Pardes’s Mahloket Matters: How to Disagree