Program details

Our program offers three weeks of immersive and intensive textual study centered around classical Talmud study combined with fun camp activities like bonfires, swimming, arts and field trips. Whether students come in with prior Talmud experience or not—everyone will be pushed to new heights and to be their best selves—all under the guidance of an expert faculty!


Middle school-aged girls from across the world (those who are currently in 6-8th grade during the academic year).


The Labadorf center in West Milford, NJ.


July 2nd - July 21st, 2024

Program Summary

Students in the Middle School Program join our buzzing Beit Midrash, growing their skills in Talmud study and building community with a diversity of Torah-loving peers. 

Students will have the opportunity to engage in serious study of Jewish texts beyond the scope of a middle school classroom. They work in chavruta and practice reading, listening and analytic skills as they study classical Jewish texts in their original languages. The classes will be full of dynamic conversations, where students can get in the mind of the Rabbis of the text and discuss their relevance to today.

Mornings will be full of classical Talmud study in our supportive and energetic Beit Midrash.

The afternoons and evenings will feature classes in Aggadah (stories in the Talmud) and Halakha, emphasizing hands-on and creative opportunities for learning, mixed in with good old camp fun like bonfires, swimming, arts and field trips.

Meet the faculty

Rabbanit Leah Sarna is the Director of High School Programs at Drisha. She previously served as Director of Religious Engagement at Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in Chicago, a leading urban Orthodox congregation.

She was ordained at Yeshivat Maharat in 2018, holds a BA from Yale University in Philosophy & Psychology, and also trained at the SKA Beit Midrash for Women at Migdal Oz, Drisha and the Center for Modern Torah Leadership. Rabbanit Sarna’s published works have appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Lehrhaus and MyJewishLearning.

She has lectured in Orthodox synagogues and Jewish communal settings around the world and loves spreading her warm, energetic love for Torah and Mitzvot with Jews in all stages of life.

Tzophia Stepansky
Tzophia Stepansky

Tzophia is currently Eim Bayit at Yeshivat Drisha and the Director of the Drisha Summer Middle School Program for Girls. She completed her B.A. in psychology and Judaic Studies at Yeshiva University, where she continued learning there in their advanced Gemara and Halacha program (GPATS) for three years. Over the course of her time in GPATS, she served as a community scholar in multiple synagogues and taught college courses at Yeshiva University. She recently made aliyah with her husband from the tri-state area and came straight to learn in Drisha’s Beit Medrash. You can always find Tzophia learning, doing Zumba, or playing clue. She is passionate about Torah and camp which is why she loves Drisha’s summer programs.

Deborah Klapper
Deborah Klapper

Mrs. Deborah Klapper is a graduate of Drisha’s Scholars’ Circle and holds a degree from Harvard. She lives, learns, and teaches in Sharon, MA.



At Drisha, we view Tefillah as a core feature of every learning environment. Our students will experience tefillah in a meaningful and empowering environment. They will have opportunities to lead davening, partake in the communal beit medrash tefillah, pray in the beautiful nature that camp has to offer and more. There is also daily study about prayer immediately before prayer, to deepen students’ understanding of the siddur.

Morning Seder

Two and a half hours each morning are divided up into chavruta time and class time as students study yeshiva-style Talmud and commentators under the guidance of master educators. These classes are divided up by level and learning style, ensuring that all students are in environments where they will grow. Morning seder is the heart of our program, offering middle school students unparalleled yeshiva-style Talmud immersion. Morning seder will be a very new experience for all of our middle school students, and our faculty and Beit Midrash staff will structure the time to make sure they have a great experience suited to their capabilities.


Hands-on Halacha

Text study can sometimes feel so removed from any practical application and therefore difficult to envision or connect with– that is what the afternoon course comes to address. Students spend an hour in chavruta and shiur learning about Halakhic concepts and then spend an hour getting their hands dirty in real life. For example, learning about making textiles from the Mishkan and then learning how to make dye and weave themselves!


Stories from the Talmud

Students will learn riveting stories from the Talmud, get into heated discussions, and catch a glimpse into the worldview of the people of the Gemara – all while trying to decipher what messages it might contain for us today! 


Camp Activities

In the early afternoon, after a leisurely lunch and break, we take advantage of our camp environment, go outside and get active. Afternoon activities include options like gaga, swimming, archery, kickball, a water fight or ropes course.


Arts and Texts

Judaism has a long tradition of interpreting texts visually. In this course, guided by a master educator, students will use visual media to elaborate on texts and concepts in the Jewish library. Our program uses arts to tap into student creativity, interest, and skills and connect them to our Torah learning.


Night Activities

Following our night time educational programming, students have fun night activities! The Madrichot organize things like improv, flashlight tag, bonfires, talent shows, paint nights and more. 



Shabbat begins with students reading Song of Songs and a gorgeous student-led Kabbalat Shabbat. Dinner is accompanied by a Dvar Torah and followed by a student-led tisch. Shabbat morning features communal Tefillah, a shiur at Kiddush, and free time before lunch. The long summer afternoon has plenty of time for rest, bonding in the bunk, learning with a high school peer, and singing! There are endless opportunities to take part in the Shabbat experience: whether a dvar Torah, through davening, or even having a special opportunity to build an eruv!



Three delicious and healthy meals as well as snacks are served each day out of our private on-site kosher kitchen. Our kitchen staff accommodate all the food needs of our students and faculty, accounting for allergies, gluten intolerance, veganism, etc. Students may bring hechshered snacks with them, but they must be kept in closed, labeled containers in the kitchenette. No food or drinks other than water can be stored in student rooms.


Program application

To apply to the Drisha Summer Middle School Program, students submit applications as well as one recommendation from a teacher. Applicants will then have an interview with Ms. Tzophia Stepansky, the program director. Applications are due March 15th, 2024 and reviewed on a rolling basis. Applications received after March 15th will be considered as space allows.

Contact us

Reach out to our Program Director, Tzophia, at with any questions or contact us through our general contact page.

What’s next?

If you are looking for more learning opportunities beyond the middle school program, check out our year-round courses tailored to middle school girls.