Pardes is an open, non-denominational and non-coercive institution. While opportunities for participation in Jewish ritual are readily available, Pardes does not require any particular type of observance. Pardes provides a safe space to encounter and grapple with the classic texts and traditions of Judaism, including the halakhic (Jewish law) system, while maintaining one’s individual autonomy.
No. You do not have to adhere to any specific type of observance to attend Pardes. We give you the educational tools to make your own choices at your own pace. All official Pardes activities are certified kosher. Shabbat is observed in public/communal spaces on Shabbatonim (Shabbat retreats).
Prayer services at Pardes depend on the interests of each year’s student body. Students have initiated shacharit (morning prayers), minha (afternoon prayers) and ma’ariv (evening prayers) services. Options often include traditional/mechitza (separate seating for men and women), egalitarian, community/partnership, women’s services, alternative/creative prayer and meditation. All prayer services at Pardes are optional. Each prayer community has its own policy with regard to who will be counted towards a minyan (quorum) and who will receive honors.
Click here to read one student’s experience participating in the prayer services at Pardes.
At Pardes there are students from all denominations, as well as those who consider themselves “post-denominational,” those who are unaffiliated, and those who do not wish to be defined at all. Pardes offers an open and welcoming environment for all kinds of Jews.
The vast majority of Pardes faculty members live their lives in accordance with halakha (Jewish law). They affiliate with a range of communities and worldviews, and often differ from one another in their philosophical, spiritual, historical and pragmatic approaches to Judaism.
Click here to learn more about Pardes faculty members.