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Community Beit Midrash


  • 6:15 pm – 6:45 pm
  • 6:45 pm – 8:00 pm
Havruta and Haburah learning
  • 8:00 pm


This program is open to the public. Come with a chavruta to learn in the beit midrash or join a chaburah to learn in a small group! Register here: Community Beit Midrash

Chaburot Descriptions

Pammy Brenner – “Reading Aggadeta: The Case of the Carpenter’s Apprentice … and more” 

We will be exploring the narrative portion of the Talmud, focusing each session on a different story. Our discussion will rely on textual and literary analysis, with an emphasis on situating the Aggadot within their broader Talmudic frameworks.

Pamela Brenner is a 2017-2018 alumna of the Drisha Summer Kollel. She studied at the Migdal Oz Beit Midrash for Women for two years. A Manhattan native, Pamela is a Yiddish Studies major at Barnard College.   

Shani Gross – “The Sexual & The Sacred”

By examining Biblical and Talmudic texts, we will explore the degree to which our tradition enables us to tap into the spiritual through the sexual. Can human sexuality be a tool to access the divine? We will investigate this question as we study the relationship between ritual, sacred objects, and sexuality – how are these categories kept distinct, when tradition blurs the lines, and possible implications for our own lives.

Shani Gross is the  Assistant Director of Education, N.A., Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. 

Jessica Belasco – Dirshuni: Pushing Boundaries with Feminist Midrash

In this chaburah, we’ll explore texts from the second volume of Dirshuni, an incredible collection of midrashim by contemporary Israeli women that are written in the classical midrashic style. We’ll analyze and respond to these texts, asking what questions and insights they bring up for us, as well as what possibilities they open for expanding the boundaries of the traditional Jewish conversation.

Past Events:

Co-Sponsored by Drisha, Mechon Hadar, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, Yeshivat Maharat, and The Jewish Theological Seminary with support of the Wexner Foundation Graduate Alumni Collaboration Grant.

Tuesday, March 6 at 7:30pm
at Hadar (190 Amsterdam Avenue, between 68th and 69th Streets)

Choice of Sessions:

~Miriam Gedwiser (Drisha) – A Rabbinic History of the Moon
In Bereshit 1:16, God creates the two “great lights” but then immediately dubs the moon the “lesser light.”  We will explore a family of Rabbinic readings that understand the moon to have been diminished from its initial state, as well as the metaphorical life those midrashim took on in the middle ages and today.

~Will Friedman (Pardes) – The Nearest vs. the Neediest: Setting Communal and Individual Priorities in Social Justice
At the end of every year, Americans are bombarded by charitable solicitations from multiple worthy organizations, and it can be hard to figure out whether to give to the local homeless shelter or the international distribution of malaria nets. Classic Jewish texts have long struggled with the dilemma of proximity and need, and we’ll try to bring their wisdom to bear on a sometimes fraught conversation.

~Walter Herzberg (JTS) – Theologies of Mitzvot in Parashat Hahodesh (Exodus 12 and 13)
Dr. Herzberg will lead us in a close reading of Exodus 12 and 13, along with many traditional commentaries, focusing on the verses related to the observance of mitzvot.  Through an interactive discussion, we will explore some of the various approaches to why we observe mitzvot, and reflect on their implications for how we observe mitzvot today.

~Jon Kelsen (YCT) – Talmudio-Drama: An Experiential Workshop
In this interactive workshop, we will experiment with applying bibliodrama techniques to study of rabbinic aggadic and halakhic texts. Open to those with or without experience with bibliodrama.

~Ethan Tucker (Hadar) – Tainted Mitzvot: When You Sin in Order to Serve God
We will explore the rabbinic discussion of commandments that are performed with the aid of a sin—mitzvah haba’ah ba’aveirah.  Are good deeds negated by evil means?  Must we look at the full genealogy of an action in order to determine its worthiness?  We will endeavor to answer these questions from classical texts and to apply our insights to contemporary questions.

Click here to register.