The Pardes Year Program

Find Yourself in the Text

Immerse yourself in Jewish texts, traditions, and contemporary issues within a dynamic, welcoming learning community.

Embed yourself within the heart of Jerusalem, where past and present intertwine, infusing daily life with Jewish rhythm and relevance.

Emerge with Jewish literacy skills and a lasting network of passionate peers, renowned teachers, and caring mentors.

The Pardes Year/Semester Program invites you to explore Jewish ideas and ancient texts, providing tools and inspiration for an intentional and meaningful Jewish life. We celebrate multiple voices and expressions of Jewish practice. In and beyond the Beit Midrash, Pardes cultivates a culture of curiosity, reflection, constructive debate, and growth.

Admissions are rolling, with financial aid priority given to earlier applicants.

Program Details

Studying in the Pardes Beit Midrash

Join us for seminar-style classes and havruta learning (traditional paired study.) With a wide variety of courses to choose from, you’ll be able to create a program tailored to your personal interests.

Class topics include:

Talmud

Tanakh

Jewish Philosophy

Spirituality

Ethics

Check out our sample weekly schedule and course descriptions

Program Dates

2023-2024 Academic year
  • Fall: September 3 – January 12
  • Spring: January 22 – May 30
2024-2025 Academic year
  • Fall: September 3 – January 16
  • Spring: January 27 – May 29

Eligibility

  • Pardes is an inclusive environment open to applicants of all Jewish backgrounds.
  • Candidates must be motivated to deepen their Jewish knowledge and strengthen their text skills whether beginner or advanced learners.
  • Students must have English language proficiency (speaking, reading, and comprehension.)
  • We welcome students current enrolled in, or having recently completed, a recognized Jewish conversion program. (If this is you, please reach out to Carmella Rose.)

Tuition

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

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 provider.

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 below 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
  • Base professionals and active Base community members
  • Students at recognized rabbinical schools who are taking a sabbatical from their studies, and/or their spouses
  • Masa alumni from the past 5 years

The Werthan/Blum Scholarship (amounts vary)

Offered to graduating seniors, graduate students and recent alumni of Vanderbilt and Emory Universities. Includes fully subsidized tuition and a monthly living stipend. Students contribute a $500 activity fee only.

Eunice Denenberg Scholarship Fund

Awarded to a student from Omaha, Nebraska or other nearby communities. Includes fully subsidized tuition, a monthly living stipend, and a travel subsidy.

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.

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.

Explore Our Fellowships

Fellowships provide an opportunity for exceptional full-time students to explore the intersection of their passions with Jewish texts and ideas, while helping to enrich the Pardes community in meaningful 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.

Some fellowships are open to single semester students, and some are only open to year long students. Relevant candidates will be contacted for a fellowship interview.

Fellowship Application Deadline: Admissions are rolling, with financial aid priority given to earlier applicants.

From Our Students

I Have Some Questions

Who is this program for?

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Have Questions?

The Year Program is geared toward curious Jews of all ages, backgrounds and affiliations who are serious about studying Jewish texts and exploring the many diverse aspects of Jewish life and culture.

No, students of all ages are welcome. While the majority of our students are in their 20’s and 30s, there are others in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and beyond – a true celebration of lifelong learning. Pardes takes pride in the intergenerational nature of our community, and everyone benefits from the sharing of perspectives, life experiences and outlooks that comes from studying together and building meaningful relationships.

Anyone who is currently considered Jewish according to any of the major denominations of Judaism, or is already engaged in a formal conversion process, is eligible to apply to Pardes.

Yes, however on rare occasions, we are able to make exceptions.

Israelis with strong English are warmly invited to join the Pardes Year Program, and both gain from and enrich our international student community. Our Israeli students bring a variety of life stories, from secular kibbutz to Haredi upbringings and everything in between. Israeli students have often served as a bridge for their peers to better understand and encounter contemporary Israeli society, while they gain deeper insights in global Jewry. Israeli citizen residents receive 50% off tuition.

At Pardes, you will exercise critical thinking and deepen your communication and interpersonal skills, which are highly sought after in the workplace. Dedicating time for personal growth gives you a perspective that can help advance your professional goals and enrich your interactions.

You will also expand your network through the close personal relationships you build with your peers and your teachers. You benefit from joining the strong and influential Pardes alumni network, which represents the next generation of leadership in an array of professions.

Students have invested time to study at Pardes before, during, and after pursuing advanced studies in numerous fields (law, arts, medicine, business, etc.) and reflect on how meaningful and growth-filled the experience is, both personally and professionally.

If you work, or plan to work, in Jewish communal service, either as a lay leader or as a professional, Jewish literacy is an invaluable part of your job. The Jewish studies skills you acquire at Pardes give you an advantage in your field. You will leave Pardes more confident in the texts and traditions that serve as the foundation for the work you do. Thanks to our 50+ year track record of inspiring knowledgeable, open-minded and passionate Jewish leadership, Jewish organizations are typically quite excited about hiring Pardes alumni.

Students come to Pardes from many different backgrounds and go on to pursue many different paths. Many students come to Pardes between undergraduate and graduate programs, and therefore go to graduate school after Pardes. Many come to Pardes between university and starting their careers, and some come to Pardes during a break or transition in their career. While some pursue Jewish communal roles, students’ majors and fields of graduate study also range from anthropology to zoology, and their careers range from classical musicians to applied mathematicians.

Pardes offers classes for beginners in Jewish text, and electives in how to navigate Jewish rituals including the structure of the siddur, the laws of Shabbat and kosher, familiarization with blessings and celebrating festivals.

Pardes students come from a variety of backgrounds including yeshivot, midrashot and rabbinical schools. Advanced students have challenging and thought-provoking study options, including a Kollel level which offers a unique framework and methodological approaches to Talmud, Halakha and philosophy.

Pardes is non-denominational and co-ed. Our teachers and students come from a variety of different backgrounds and perspectives. This diversity creates opportunities that facilitate personal and communal growth. We encourage our students to think critically, identify nuance and appreciate the importance of debate and differing opinions in Jewish tradition and contemporary Jewish dialogue.

No, there are no tests or grades. Students who choose to study at Pardes do it for their personal enrichment. 

Students must be comfortable speaking and understanding English, which is the primary language used in conversation at Pardes. Classes are taught in English, and discussions are held in English. The texts we study are primarily in Hebrew and/or Aramaic. No matter what your previous experience is with Hebrew, our teachers will help you improve your skills. Translations are often available; however, you will also be challenged to understand the nuances of the original text.

Students with all levels of Hebrew come to Pardes, including beginners. We require students to attend at least one month of Hebrew language classes (ulpan) before starting classes at Pardes. Some suggestions of places our students recommend are here: 

Hebrew Study Information

If you are a fluent Hebrew speaker, you may ask for an exemption from the requirement to do a one month ulpan.

Currently, Pardes does not officially offer credit. However, a number of institutions recognize study at Pardes and may provide you with credits. Pardes does provide a transcript of your classes upon request, and students have found that this can be quite helpful when applying for jobs or to institutions of higher education.

A year of study in the Pardes Year Program serves as excellent preparation for rabbinical school. Pardes offers special support for students enrolled in our pre-rabbinic track. Participants in this track have a faculty mentor and enjoy special lectures from a range of guest speakers representing a variety of perspectives. Participants also meet representatives from various rabbinical schools. Pardes alumni have gone on to attend rabbinical schools from all of the major denominations.

We have shorter length programs for you to consider! Check out the Summer program, Elul, or SoHem. Coming for a shorter time might be possible if joining at the start of a semester.

Yes! Part-time students study between 20-30 hours per week. 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.

Pardes is a non-denominational institution that believes that the Torah is the inheritance of each and every Jewish person, and seeks to offer everyone access to the texts of our tradition. Our commitment to a shared Beit Midrash (house of study) filled with a multiplicity of voices stems from the idea that “Who is Wise? The one who learns from everyone.” (Pirkei Avot ch.4)

Prayer services are a student-led initiative. Typically there are multiple options, including a mechitza minyan, an egalitarian minyan and a creative minyan (with varying “flavors” and degrees of frequency depending on the year and community). There is a daily minyan for mincha. Some students also take advantage of the numerous neighborhood synagogue options that reflect different traditions and practices.

All prayer services at Pardes are optional.

One of the most powerful aspects of living in Israel for a significant amount of time is fully experiencing the rhythm of the Jewish calendar, including the weekly build-up to and celebration of Shabbat in all of its varied expressions. Jewish holidays in Israel bring with them distinct sights, sounds and smells, often a full month before the holiday begins. Orienting yourself to the Jewish rhythm of life and seasons is part of the challenge and reward of being in Israel for an extended period of time. Shared Shabbat meals are a treasured aspect of students’ Pardes experience. Students regularly host each other, and are also invited by staff, faculty or board members.

While opportunities for participation in Jewish ritual life are readily available at Pardes, students are not required to adhere to any specific type of observance or lifestyle to attend Pardes; we are a non-denominational and non-coercive institution. All official Pardes activities are certified kosher and Shabbat is observed in public and shared spaces when we are together as a community.

The only dress requirement is that shoes must be worn in the Beit Midrash; otherwise, students should come to class in what they feel comfortable wearing.

Students live independently in Jerusalem, giving them the opportunity to live like a local in the culturally diverse city. Many choose to live with other Pardes students while others opt to live with roommates from outside the Pardes network.  Additional information about housing can be found here. In addition, upon acceptance, Pardes  offers access to  a housing information  listserv, which is regularly updated with information about available housing. 

Students are encouraged to immerse in full-time study and supplemental communal activities in order to get the most out of their time at Pardes. In addition to the daily schedule, there are classes and events in the evenings and over the weekend, making outside work challenging for students. As such, we strongly recommend that students dedicate their full focus to their learning goals wherever possible.

Pardes students are free to enjoy many pursuits outside of school. Many enjoy volunteering, exploring, hiking, joining local sports teams, singing or playing music in local spaces, and checking out the arts and culture scene. Students regularly organize social gatherings, including game nights, poetry and writing workshops and open mic nights.

Yes, the program includes many opportunities for travel and exploration of key sites and natural gems – both popular and lesser-known – and a variety of communities around Israel. These trips focus on both history and contemporary issues. We believe that exploring the spaces that we read and learn about in the text deeply enriches our students’ learning experiences.

In addition, many students use their vacation periods to travel within Israel.

At Pardes, we feel that volunteering in the broader community is a natural extension of our learning, and reflects a commitment to Torah values. We build volunteering time into our schedule on Thursday afternoons, when students contribute to a variety of initiatives. Some of these are: singing in a nursing home, helping run community gardens, playing sport / social activities with kids with special needs, and teaching English at a refugee center, among many others.

We understand and share the safety concerns of students and their families. We take precautions to maximize safety while at Pardes and on organized trips, in ongoing consultation with external guidelines and professional security services. Pardes has robust emergency protocols in place and students report feeling both well-informed and supported.

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

The actual cost of the Year Program, per student, is well over $25,000/year. Pardes’s tuition structure reflects generous donation-based subsidies for all students studying 20 or more hours per week. 

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.

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 provider.

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 below 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
  • Base professionals and active Base community members
  • Students at recognized rabbinical schools who are taking a sabbatical from their studies, and/or their spouses

The Werthan/Blum Scholarship (amounts vary)

Offered to graduating seniors, graduate students and recent alumni of Vanderbilt and Emory Universities. Includes fully subsidized tuition and a monthly living stipend. Students contribute a $500 activity fee only.

Eunice Denenberg Scholarship Fund

Awarded to a student from Omaha, Nebraska or other nearby communities. Includes fully subsidized tuition, a monthly living stipend, and a travel subsidy.

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.

Tuition at Pardes covers classes as well as extracurricular activities such as Shabbat programs, tours and special seminars. It does not cover housing, medical insurance, books, Hebrew ulpan fees or other living expenses such as food and utilities. As a guideline, students should budget approximately $500 – $650 (1,800 – 2,500 NIS, approximately) per month for rent, not including bills. Living expenses vary depending on students’ lifestyles.

Projected expenses for a 10-month period in Israel are estimated at $12,000 – $15,000 in addition to tuition. This figure is based on estimates for a round-trip flight from North America, rent, Hebrew ulpan, medical insurance, books, utilities, food and miscellaneous expenses.