The JTS Beit Midrash Summer Program

Nishma is for anyone interested in developing the language and textual skills that are necessary to access and gain fluency in classical Jewish sources. The program gives students a taste of the depth and breadth of the JTS learning experience and exposes them to the richness of Jewish life in NYC.

During Nishma, you can expect to:

  • Immerse in the Jewish traditional practice of text study
  • Improve your Hebrew language skills and gain independence in reading classical Jewish texts
  • Learn from JTS scholars about their current research interests
  • Prepare yourself for a career in Jewish education, communal service, academia, the rabbinate, or the cantorate. 

Course Offerings 2024

The program will run for five weeks, Monday to Thursday, July 8–August 8, 2024.

Sample Daily Schedule

7:30–8:30 a.m.Shaharit (morning prayer)
9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. (4x/week)Two options (according to Hebrew language skill): Mishnah and Other Major Tannaitic Texts or Taking Hold of Talmud
12:30–1:45 p.m.Lunch
1:45–2:00 p.m.Minhah (afternoon prayer)
2:00–4:45 p.m. (4x/week or 3x/week, depending on the class)Hebrew or Parshanut (Introduction to Medieval Jewish Biblical Commentary)
Evening (once a week)Shiur Klali (master class by a JTS Scholar) and / or explore New York City

Morning Classes (according to Hebrew language skills)

RLC 6113 Mishnah, Tosefta, and Midrash Halakhah (6 credits)
Rabbi Luciana Pajecki Lederman
MTWR 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

This course will focus primarily on close reading and comparison of these three major tannaitic texts in the original Hebrew. Attention will be given to opportunities for interpretation and expansion, preparing students for the Talmud Bavli approach to reading these sources. 

RLC 6620 Talmud Text Level A: Taking Hold of Talmud I (6 credits)
Dr. Sarah Wolf
MTWR 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

With a focus on building fundamental skills for reading the Talmud Bavli (developing student understanding of structure, technical terminology, basic concepts from rabbinic culture, and rabbinic languages), we will explore a range of sequential passages drawn from the second chapter of Tractate Bava Metzia. The religious dimension of these texts will also be discussed. 

Afternoon Classes

HEB 5103 Hebrew Alef 3 (6 credits)
Instructor: TBA
TWR 2:00 p.m.–4:45 p.m.

This course runs from June 3 to August 8. Students may not join the course in the middle. 

This course takes students from the last part of Hebrew from Scratch I (Ivrit min ha-hatchala alef) through the first part of Hebrew from Scratch II (Ivrit min ha-hatchala bet). Students in this course will further develop their conversation, reading and writing skills. Readings include selected texts related to Jewish history, tradition and culture, as well as short stories, dialogues, selected poems, adapted articles and Israeli songs. Grammar topics include verbs in all active binyanim in the past tense, the future tense and imperative in binyan kal, basic sentence structures, and the inflection of various prepositions.

HEB 5203 Hebrew Bet 2 (3 credits)
Instructor: TBA
MTWR 2:00 p.m.–4:45 p.m.

This intermediate-level course will bring students to the end of Hebrew from Scratch II (Ivrit min ha-hatchala bet), supplementing the textbook with materials from level gimel books and other readings in Hebrew from various periods (e.g., adapted stories, poems, selections from parashat hashavua, midrash, and Biblical commentary). Students will learn new grammar topics, develop strategies for reading comprehension and word recognition, and practice conveying ideas and opinions in both speech and writing. 

HEB 5300 Hebrew Gimel (3 credits) 
Instructor: TBA
MTWR 2:00 p.m.–4:45 p.m.

A high-intermediate to advanced-level Hebrew language course aiming to further develop Hebrew comprehension, conversation, and reading and writing skills. Particular emphasis is placed on reading Hebrew texts of diverse genres, registers, and periods, including classical texts; vocabulary development; and dictionary usage skills. Grammatical topics include phonology, a systematic integrated study of the binyanim system, and a variety of advanced topics in syntax. 

BIB 5013 Parshanut (3 credits)
Malka Edinger
TWR 2:00 p.m.–4:45 p.m.

Advanced Hebrew language skills are required.

This course is methodologically oriented, designed to help students acquire and refine skills of close reading of the biblical text by integrating a modern literary approach with the study of Rashi and other medieval Jewish commentaries. Students will learn to identify the questions that have been asked for centuries, creating an ongoing dialogue with ancient, medieval, and contemporary close readers.

Tuition

A tiered tuition structure allows students flexibility in the subjects they wish to take and the credit they wish to earn.

Non-academic Credit

Full-Time (Talmud + Parshanut)Full-Time with Hebrew (Mishnah/Talmud + Hebrew)Part-Time
  $1,290$1,805Mishnah or Talmud: $800
Parshanut: $800
Hebrew: $900

For-Credit Option

You can earn up to six academic credits in Nishma through the JTS Summer School. Information about tuition for three and six credit summer courses can be found here

Scholarships

Scholarships are available for candidates preparing to apply to JTS graduate programs. Scholarships are limited, so apply early.  

Apply to Nishma 

All applications are considered on a rolling basis starting on December 15, 2023.

Questions?

Feel free to contact us at nishma@jtsa.edu