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.
Brother Can You Spare a Dime?
Jewish tradition implores us not to turn a beggar away empty handed. But every beggar is not equally worthy. What is the extent of our obligation? Under what circumstances are we entitled to say “no?” Good for days when there is a social action project
The Diameter of the Bomb
This class compares Maimonides’ directive to pray facing Jerusalem with Yehuda Amichai’s poem about a bomb exploding and destroying more than physical lives. It looks at the role of non-fundamentalist religion to create healing. Good for days when the Old City and/or Har Herzl is visited.
Negotiating with Terrorists: A Jewish Approach
Redeeming captives has always been considering the highest of commandments. But negotiating with terrorists poses strategic danger. How does the Talmudic debate on the topic apply to the modern dilemmas of the State of Israel? Good for a day when there is a political speaker as well.
Song is one of the most common and widespread spiritual practices in Judaism – from the Song of Sea to Hasidic niggunim and current liturgical melodies. But what is the power of song and how can we utilize it to deepen our spiritual lives? Good for days when there is a concert.
The Valiant Never Taste of Death But Once
This class looks at different Jewish models of bravery and uses these as a way for students to discover what ways they are brave in their own lives. Good for days when there is a Yad Vashem or Har Herzl visit.
Visualizing Your Life
There are ancient techniques of visualization in Judaism which aim to help practitioners understand more deeply who they are and who they can become. Through visualizing the divine, Torah stories, mitzvoth and our own best selves we can open our hearts, minds and souls to our true divine nature. Through texts and practices see how visualization can be a valuable technique in our own spiritual and psychological lives. Excellent as Shabbat preparation.