The Drisha Summer Middle School Program

Torah. Community. Exploration. Empowerment.

Summer's Best Opportunity Starts Here and Now:

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July 3-14, 2022

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Program Overview

The Program

For over thirty years, Drisha has offered young Jewish women an opportunity for immersive and intensive textual study over the summer. This year, for the very first time, our programming will expand to include middle school students in their very own track. Students in the Middle School Program will be part of 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 chevruta and practice reading, listening and analytic skills as they study classical Jewish texts in their original languages. Mornings will be full of classical Talmud study in our supportive and energetic beit midrash. The afternoons and evenings will feature classes in Tanakh and Halakha emphasizing hands-on and creative opportunities for learning, mixed in with good old campy fun like bonfires, swimming, ropes course and field trips.

Our Students

During the year, our participants study in Yeshiva day schools, Jewish community schools, public schools, private schools and homeschooling. Some have studied Talmud before and are looking for an immersive environment that will push their learning and skills forward. Other students enter our beit midrash excited to learn Talmud for the very first time.

Tuition

All of our students receive a substantial subsidy covering most of their tuition. We ask families to contribute $1,800 towards program costs. Scholarship is available upon request.

Application Process

To apply to the Drisha Summer Middle School Program, students submit applications as well as two reference forms from teachers. Qualified applicants will be invited to interview with the program director. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until March 15, 2022, and after that time applications will be considered only if space remains.

Venue

The Drisha Summer Middle School Program is located at the Hands In 4 Youth campus in West Milford, NJ. Our main space at Labadorf boasts a spacious Beit Midrash, two classrooms, our own commercial sized kitchen, housing for staff and the high school program as well as a loft and porch for relaxing. Middle School Program participants will sleep in bunks staffed by madrichot.

Schedule, Activities, and More

At Drisha, we view Tefillah as a core feature of every learning environment. Over the course of the program, our students will experiment with different ways of connecting to the siddur, through communal Tefillah in our beit midrash, individual Tefillah in nature, song, meditation, journaling, text study and more.

Two and a half hours each morning are divided up into havruta 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 high 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.

In these fast-paced courses, students will complete either a tractate of Mishnah or a book of Nakh over the course of our program. Bekiut style learning prizes breadth over depth, so students are exposed to a wide array of concepts and ideas. This style of learning gives students a rewarding sense of accomplishment in their learning and is also a skillset useful for gaining a wide perspective on the Jewish library.

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.

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.

Following our night time educational programming, students have free time until curfew. The Madrichot organize fun optional activities at these times like improv activities, flashlight tag, bonfires, talent shows, paint nights and more. Students also use this time for continued independent learning in the Beit Midrash.

Prepare to add unmatched to your summer.

Shabbat preparations begin Thursday night with challah baking, Mishmar and a late night tisch. On Friday, in addition to regular classes, we prepare our space for Shabbat: constructing our eruv, decorating our space, setting the tables and writing shabbat-o-grams. 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, affinity group meetings and more learning opportunities before and after Seudah Shlishit.

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, labelled containers in the kitchenette. No food or drinks other than water can be stored in student bunks.

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