Pardes Year Program: Fall + Spring Semester

Program Description

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.

In addition, there are a number of optional international travel opportunities throughout the year; recent service and learning trips included Turkey, Germany and Poland. Click here for more info and a taste of Pardes life.

powered by masa-150

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.

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.

Applications are now open for the 2020-21 Academic Year, beginning September 2020.

We have decided to extend our Year/Semester Program application deadline until May 21st, in order to alleviate any potential undue stress at this uncertain time. We have also waived the $50 application fee. We will continue to review and accept applications on a rolling basis. 

Apply for 2020-21

Taking the time to immerse myself fully in Jewish learning has helped me build a solid base for the kind of life I want to live and the person I want to be.
– Dan, 26, entrepreneur

David and Yael FINAL                  Riki and Jeremy FINAL                Itay and Tmima FINAL

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’:

  • Meetings with representatives of various graduate programs
  • Weekly social action placements in a wide range of organizations
  • Opportunities for peer leadership and support for grassroots community initiatives
  • Pre-Rabbinic Forum for those enrolled in or considering rabbinical school
  • Access to a passionate network of over 6,000 Pardes alumni, including high-level professionals in a wide range of fields, such as: law, business, arts, medicine, government, education, Jewish communal innovation and leadership

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 2019/2020 Fall Semester schedule
Click here for the 2019/2020 Spring Semester schedule
Click here for 2019-2020 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.

Among the rich afternoon electives are specialty tracks in Social Justice (Fall) and Conflict Resolution (Spring), which feature supplemental trips and guest speakers.

Part-time (20-29 hours/week) as well as hourly options are available.

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)

Taking the time to immerse myself fully in Jewish learning has helped me build a solid base for the kind of life I want to live and the person I want to be. This will serve me for the rest of my life. Click here to read more.

– Dan Pelberg (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.


  • Full year: $5,900*
  • Single semester: $3,900

*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.

Contact for more information.

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 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.

Research Fellowships
The Hasidism Research Fellow will work together with Levi Cooper on the editing and production of his forthcoming book: Hasidic Relics. This book will complement Levi’s first two books Relics for the Present on Talmud and will be a further volume in the growing Pardes faculty library that has successfully showcased the Torah of our thriving Beit Midrash. 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.

Pardes Social Justice 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 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.

Pardes Communications Fellowship
Up to $1,500 scholarship/stipend for one creative individual with excellent social media and technical skills. We are looking for someone to be our student voice on social media and help showcase what’s going on in and out the classroom through our blog, social media, photography and video. The awardee will also be involved in recording and editing lectures. Candidates must submit a short supplemental Communications Fellowship application in addition to the Year Program application.

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.

Pardes is a qualified institution for the deferment of most U.S. Government student loans. Request a loan deferment form from your loan providerpowered by masa-150.

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 $5250 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:

  • Israeli Citizens Permanently Residing in Israel

$2,000 off Year Program tuition:

  • Current members of Limmud steering committees/leadership teams
  • Current Moishe House residents, professional staff and active MHWOW hosts
  • Students at recognized rabbinical schools, and/or their spouses

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.

In light of the current Covid-19 situation, we have decided to extend our application deadline to May 21st. We will continue to accept applications on a rolling basis. For more information about the program and about our cancellation policy, please contact Carm or Haley.

In Israel:
+972 2 673 5210

In North America: