Beit Midrash Har'el

Men & women committed to Halakha study Torah as equals at the first institution to formally grant Orthodox smikha to women, conferring upon them the title “Rabbi” alongside their male counterparts. We empower our students to impact upon their communities in both the rabbinic and educational spheres.
Location:
Year founded: 2013

Description

Beit Midrash Har’el was founded to provide a viable alternative model for modern Orthodox Jews and construct a vision of Torah life and thought that is a compelling option for all modern Jews regardless of their affiliation. The vision will be more God-conscious, compassionate and inclusive. It will honestly address the thorny issues rooted in the contemporary sensibilities of fairness and equality that challenge contemporary orthodoxy today.

Beit Midrash Har’el is the beit midrash of the future in which men and women committed to the Halakha, study Torah as equals and enjoy equally the stature which Torah learning bestows within the community. Our beit midrash is the only Orthodox framework whose students include seasoned pedagogues as well as promising educators and leaders, men and women, engaged in rabbinic studies in an open and supportive learning environment. In June 2015 we became the first and, to date, the only institution to formally grant smikha, Orthodox rabbinic ordination, to women, conferring upon them the unambiguous title of “Rabbi” alongside their male counterparts.

The equability between men and women in our Beit Midrash is a value which we hold deeply and as a beit midrash we model this by taking it for granted.

We are recruiting mature and seasoned individuals, men and women, in order to train rabbis and thought leaders in the Jewish community who are firmly committed to tradition and equipped to encounter, absorb and respond to contemporary challenges.

We will confer semikha and educate our students in order to further empower them to impact upon their communities in both the rabbinic and educational spheres.

Our curriculum is designed to provide our musmachim/ot with the requisite knowledge, understanding and means to engage in communal leadership and education. Since our fellows come to us with advanced knowledge in Torah and a sophisticated grasp of the world, we emphasize the attitude toward the material beyond the content meaning of the material itself.

  • Halakha - the study of halakha is designed to impart an understanding of the fundamental principles of the particular area of study through the central sugyot and important applications. Areas of study: Kashrut, Niddah, Aveilut, Shabbat, Marriage and Divorce, Conversion, Medical and Business Ethics.
  • Public Policy- issues facing the Jewish People today particularly but not exclusively in the state of Israel. Areas of study: Personal status (marriage, divorce, conversion), Democracy and Jewish law, minorities in the Jewish state, Gender (changing roles of men and women, homosexuality) the status of the state of Israel according to the halakha.
  • Philosophy of Halakha – meta-issues of the governing principles of how the halakha is determined. Are there moral principles which are independent of the halakha? What is the relationship between the halakha and divine will?
  • Spirituality – The Jewish mystical tradition both nurtures the individual soul as well as provides an authentic traditional framework to absorb the far reaching changes in human society over the last two hundred years.
  • Fundamentals of Comparative Religion - provide an invaluable lesson in humility as our students come to appreciate the striving for God in other religions and civilizations.
Leadership Institute

About

Beit Midrash Har’el will grant Rabbinic ordination to men and women who successfully complete the three year fellowship. The Beit Midrash will have three seven-hour sessions and one one and a half-hour evening session every week. Fellows will receive a stipend to ensure the feasibility of their participation.

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What is the mission and purpose of this program?

The mission of Beit Midrash Har’el is to provide a viable alternative-model for Modern Orthodox Jews and construct a vision of Torah life and thought that is a compelling option for all modern Jews regardless of their affiliation. The vision is more God-conscious, compassionate and inclusive. We will honestly address the thorny issues rooted in the contemporary sensibilities of fairness and equality that challenge contemporary Orthodoxy today. This will strengthen the commitment of Jews by rendering religious life more full, intelligent and honest and communities more open and compassionate. Our graduates will reinvigorate Modern Orthodoxy and propel it beyond its current denominational boundaries.

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Program Description

We will ordain rabbis, men and women, and educate thought leaders who will possess the knowledge, confidence and courage to teach a forward-looking Torah.

Beit Midrash Har’el was founded in October 2013. Here, men and women who are committed to the halakha, study Torah as equals and enjoy equally the stature that their learning bestows upon them within the community.

In June 2015, we became the first, and, to date, the only institution to formally grant smikha, Orthodox rabbinic ordination, to women, conferring upon them the unambiguous title of “Rabbi”, alongside their male counterparts.

In the short time that Har’el has been in existence, we have succeeded in our goal to change public discourse within the Orthodox community. Beit Midrash Har’el now seeks to maximize the impact of its vision with a fellowship program to train future rabbis and thought-leaders in the Jewish community.

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Demonstrated Need

Our prospective fellows straddle the divide between the spiritual intensity of the yeshiva and the freethinking and sophisticated world of academia. They will bring to the Beit Midrash a strong background in Torah, secular studies and contemporary culture. The open and equitable ethos of the Beit Midrash will draw students who embrace those values. Beit Misrash Har'el's leadership institute provides an atmosphere that is not found in any other Orthodox ordination program.

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Program Accomplishments

We have recruited a core group of serious students who will make up the first class of the fellowship. Beit Midrash Har’el is the only Orthodox framework whose students include seasoned pedagogues as well as promising educators and leaders of the future, men and women, engaged in rabbinic studies in an open and supportive learning environment.

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How do you measure the success of your program?

We have already ordained two men and two women in our part time program and we will now run a program to ordain between 8-12 rabbis in the next three years.

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