The Pardes Year Program offers you the opportunity to delve deeply into Jewish ideas, texts and personal questions – empowering you to make Judaism your own. You’ll come away with skills, knowledge and inspiration under your belt, a lifelong community of passionate peers and mentors, and the life-changing experience of living and learning in vibrant, fascinating Jerusalem.
Open primarily to university graduates and attracting a diverse international cohort with a wide range of backgrounds and interests, the Year Program combines classic Jewish text study with the exploration of ethical, spiritual, philosophical, legal and societal issues facing the Jewish people today. The result is a dynamic community engaged in honest and constructive debate, leading to serious personal reflection and growth.
Beyond the classroom and beit midrash, students enjoy opportunities to explore Israel. Through special programming and tours, we discover the connection between the story of the Land of Israel and the Jewish people. We also grapple with the complexities of the modern State of Israel and how that can influence our Jewish identity.
Are you deeply immersed in the arts? In social justice? In dialogue across lines of difference? In media and communications? Are you an emerging Jewish communal leader or educator in Europe? If so, check out our unique Year Program Fellowship opportunities – see tab below.
There are many paths to Pardes. Here are a few of our incredible alumni sharing the journeys that led them to Pardes and the paths they have since taken.
The Pardes Year / Semester Program (full-time option) is powered by Masa Israel Journey, which offers generous grants, educational enrichment and leadership development to eligible participants.
With a variety of long-term programs in Israel, Masa is able to provide meaningful, enriching experiences to young Jews from many different countries, backgrounds, levels of education, and fields.
Since its founding in 2004, Masa has helped over 150,000 young adults from 60+ countries to strengthen their connection with Israel, empowering a new generation of connected, committed, and inspired young Jewish adults. These young adults are changing the face of the Jewish world and Israel, as professionals, community leaders, and advocates.
Students leave Pardes with refined critical thinking, improved communication and interpersonal skills, and more nuanced and sensitive perspectives on Judaism, Israel and their own role in the world.
In addition to building the foundations for a lifetime of informed, passionate and self-directed Jewish involvement, Pardes provides opportunities to prepare for your professional ‘next steps’:
Click here to read about how Pardes helped alumnus Derek Kwait (Year ’11-12, Fellow ’12-’13) land his dream job.
Click here for more reflections on the personal and professional value of the Pardes experience.
Two semesters of study are offered, with the vast majority of students invested in the full 9-month (Sept-May) experience. In addition, students are required to attend an Ulpan (intensive Hebrew course) in July or August. An exemption may be granted to students with a strong Hebrew background.
Students participate in seminar-style classes and havruta (partner study), and create a tailored program to reflect their interests. Classes include Talmud, Bible, Jewish Philosophy, Modern Jewish History, Spirituality, and much more.
Click here for the 2020/2021 Fall Semester schedule
Click here for the 2021 Spring Semester schedule
Click here for the Fall 2020-2021 course descriptions
Click here for the Spring 2021 course descriptions
For the morning skill-building text intensives in Humash (Bible) and Mishna/Talmud (Rabbinics), multiple levels are offered in parallel, from introductory to advanced.
Alongside the rich afternoon electives, there is a specialty track in Social Justice (Fall) and also in spirituality, which features supplemental trips and guest speakers.
Spirituality Track: The spirituality track aims to cultivate consciousness and depth of communication through a deep engagement of text, self and other. Our learning will focus on the opening chapters of Genesis, engaged through the lenses of close reading, midrash and classical commentary and will incorporate diverse writings from Martin Buber, R’ Kook, the holy Aish Kodesh and others. Our interpersonal work will center on communication, self-awareness and growth – flowing naturally from the texts we learn and fueled by exercises and daily interactions. If you are looking for a genuine encounter with some foundational spiritual frameworks in Torah, and an opportunity to explore practice which can help build this wisdom into your life, then join the Spirituality track. Track members are also strongly encouraged to cultivate another aspect of spiritual practice by participating in Dr. Mira Niculescu’s evening course Experiencing Jewish Meditation: texts and practices. It is offered on Wednesday evenings 5:15-6:30.
Part-time (20-29 hours/week) as well as hourly options are available.
How hasn’t Pardes influenced my life? I’ve been able to swim in the sea of Gemara, burrow into the pages of my Tanach, and revisit and rethink my relationship with Halacha and Jewish practice. Pardes is my spiritual, physical home (it counts because I’m in the building over 10 hours a day sometimes), and the walls of the Beit Midrash have protected me in both my most lost and uplifted moments. Entering the Pardes has been a life changing experience. I haven’t chopped down any trees, although sometimes I do feel like I’m going mad, and I hope to leave like Rabbi Akiva. But would that I could stay in this orchard, forever.
– Amalia Leah Mark (Year ’18-’19)
I am so grateful that I made the decision to come study at Pardes. Each day provides me with new perspectives, challenging discussions, and meaningful friendships. The extremely passionate teachers provide the students with a variety of tools to explore Jewish text, thought, and practice. Click here to read more.
– David Stern (Year ’15-’16)
At Pardes I found a space – and amazing people to share it with – where I was able to find out both ‘what Judaism is’ and ‘what Judaism can be. Click here to read more.
– Andrew Lustig (Year ’11-’12)
During my time at Pardes, I expanded my Jewish knowledge and literacy in a supportive and warm environment. I built a network of friends and colleagues who continue to be among my most treasured relationships. I explored my personal connection to Judaism, engaged in spiritual practice, and lived the rhythm of the Jewish holidays for the first time. I developed relationships with teachers who pushed and challenged me, and modeled for me what it means to be a patient and passionate educator. Click here to read more.
– Lauren Schuchart (Year ’11-’12)
The more I learn, the more I realize how much more there is to know… my pursuit of Jewish literacy got a huge boost from the time I have spent at Pardes. Learning from my teachers, my peers and from the sources has been an invaluable way to spend my year – and one whose treasures I look forward to discovering as my Jewish journey continues. As an adult who first seriously encountered [Gemara] one-on-one only a few months ago, building skills in Jewish text study was one of my major goals when I came to learn at Pardes. Click here to read more.
– Avigail Hurvitz-Prinz (Year ’10-’11)
The Pardes Year Program is open to Jews of all backgrounds and ages (post-college and beyond, with limited exceptions) who want to deepen their knowledge and appreciation of Jewish tradition and texts. A B.A. from an accredited college or university is required, along with references from two individuals familiar with the applicant’s study skills and/or Jewish commitment as well as personal character (click here for the Recommendation Form).
In some cases, an interview may be required.
The Pardes Year Program tuition structure (for those studying 20 hours/week or more) reflects subsidies by generous donors.
*The actual cost of the Year Program, per student, is $25,000/year. Pardes’s tuition structure reflects generous donation-based subsidies for all full-time students. Additional financial aid is available to students for whom the subsidized tuition cost presents a barrier – see tab below. To contribute to Pardes to make such subsidies possible, click here.
Tuition covers classes as well as extracurricular activities such as Shabbat programs, extended trips (tiyulim), tours and special seminars. It does not cover housing, medical insurance, books, Hebrew ulpan fees or other living expenses.
For more information on student life, including estimated living costs, click here.
Those studying fewer than 20 hours/week are considered ‘hourly students’ and tuition is determined by the number of class hours per week. Acceptance to classes on this basis is subject to space and the approval of the teacher. Note that hourly fees cover classes only; hourly students are warmly invited to join tiyulim (trips) at an additional cost.
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Pardes offers several subsidized fellowships, which provide an opportunity for Year Program students with relevant experience to further develop skills in a particular area of interest, while working closely with staff to help to enrich the Pardes community in various ways.
To apply for a fellowship, candidates must submit both the Year Program application and the short supplemental fellowship application. Candidates who meet Masa Israel Journey eligibility requirements must apply to Masa for a grant as well. Priority will be given to full-time students.
Pardes Social Justice and Fellowship
Reserved for outstanding Year Program applicants who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in the field of social justice, either as a student, professional or volunteer lay leader. Applicants should be passionate about the field and interested in infusing their work with a deep level of Jewish knowledge relating to social justice issues. Click here for more info.
Pardes European Leadership Fellows
Reserved for a select number of European Jewish students and young Jewish communal leaders (ages 20-36) who are passionate about building community and eager to enrich their personal identities and leadership roles through the in-depth study of classic Jewish texts and core Jewish ideas. Click here for more info.
Research Fellowships (2 Options): Talmud Skills | Sexuality and Gender | Hasidism
Pardes Mahloket Matters (Constructive Disagreement) Fellowship
Open to emerging leaders who have demonstrated a firm commitment to furthering constructive dialogue within their campus or local communities, across political, denominational and/or religious lines. Click here for more info. Submissions for this fellowship are now closed.
Pardes Arts & Culture Fellowship
Reserved for outstanding Year Program applicants with rich backgrounds in a variety of creative media, and/or in arts education. The Arts & Culture Fellows will submit a proposal for a year-long creative project that will be informed by their intensive Jewish text study, will create arts programming for the community, and be connected with a mentor from within the Pardes network. Click here for more information. Submissions for this fellowship are now closed.
Pardes offers financial assistance to students based on need and/or merit and tries to ensure that no qualified student is turned away for financial reasons. Grants and interest-free loans for tuition (students studying 20+ hrs/wk) and for living expenses (students studying 30+ hrs/wk only) are available to eligible applicants. Funds awarded for living expenses are disbursed to the students in the form of monthly stipends during the program.
Financial aid applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, with priority given to earlier applications.
To apply, submit the Financial Aid Form. Candidates can apply for a specific grant or scholarship (see below) or for general financial aid. All applicants who are eligible for Masa funding (see below) must apply to Masa before submitting a financial aid application to Pardes.
Masa Israel Journey Funding to Study at Pardes
Masa Israel Journey was established by the government of Israel and the Jewish Agency to enable Jewish young adults to participate in immersive programs in Israel. Masa offers either automatic grants or needs-based scholarships to eligible applicants. Click here for Masa’s current eligibility requirements.
Up to $5400 of the Masa award will be applied to Pardes tuition (leaving a tuition balance as low as $500 for the full year). Any remaining funds are paid out to the student in monthly installments during the program to assist with living expenses.
Applicants from outside North America should check the Masa website to determine the amount of the award for their country. Awards are limited in number and students are encouraged to apply early.
Pardes Tuition Grants
The following Pardes tuition grants are available to assist those in the categories below who are NOT eligible for funding through Masa Israel Journey or through the above fellowships:
50% off Year Program tuition:
$2,000 off Year Program tuition:
The Werthan/Blum Scholarship (amounts vary)
Offered to graduating seniors and graduate students at Vanderbilt and Emory Universities.
The Russell Memorial Foundation Scholarship (amounts vary)
Offered to a student or graduate of the University of Florida (Gainesville) or the University of Miami.
Other Sources of Financial Aid
As Pardes’ financial resources are limited, Pardes students in need of financial assistance are encouraged to explore other sources of financial aid as well. Download a list of grants and scholarships available to North Americans for study in Israel, or click here to view them.
Pardes students usually rent apartments in Jerusalem. Pardes provides helpful housing resources to accepted students, including a listserve. Click here for help with housing in Jerusalem.