A Summer of Torah Study in the JTS Beit Midrash

Nishma is a summer program where students immerse themselves in Torah learning, cultivating the skills to  access classical Jewish sources: Talmud, Midrash, halakhah, Hebrew, and parshanut (Torah and its commentaries). The program is split into two four-week sessions. Students can elect to participate in either session or both.

See course listings below, including optional Hebrew courses. Questions? Feel free to contact us at nishma@jtsa.edu.

Who It’s For 

Nishma is for anyone interested in gaining fluency in classical Jewish texts. You will gain the text skills and knowledge you need to speak authentically from the Jewish tradition. The program also includes intermediate and advanced Talmud courses for those with more background studying Jewish texts.

During Nishma, you can expect to:  

  • Learn the basic texts of the Jewish tradition: Torah, Mishnah, Talmud, Midrash, and halakhah. 
  • Improve your Hebrew language abilities and gain independence in your study of Jewish texts. 
  • Prepare yourself for a career in Jewish education, communal service, academia, the rabbinate, or the cantorate. 
  • Explore the academic and social community at JTS, North America’s preeminent institution of Jewish higher education.


A limited number of fellowships including waived Nishma tuition are available for candidates preparing to apply to JTS graduate programs. Fellowships are limited, so apply early.  

Course Offerings 2023

Session A: May 30–June 29 

RLC 5022 Introduction to Rabbinic Narrative (3 credits)
TWR 2:00 p.m.–4:45 p.m.
A survey of the basic forms and methods of Midrash through close reading of various primary sources and secondary literature.

RLC 6620 Talmud Text Level A: Taking Hold of Talmud I (6 credits)
Dr. Rachel Rosenthal
MTWR 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
With a focus on building fundamental skills for reading the 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 Talmud Bavli. The religious dimension of these texts will also be discussed. 

RLC 6630 Talmud Text Level B: Mastery in the Making I (6 credits)
Eliezer Diamond
MTWR 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Aiming to develop independent competence in their reading of the Talmud Bavli, students will encounter a significant number of sequential Talmudic passages. The instructor will guide them toward mastery of their fundamental reading skills, while introducing some of the classical commentators on the Talmud, and also exposing them to some critical methods of study. Time will also be devoted to religious meaning.

Session B: July 5–August 3

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

TAL 6621 Talmud Text Level A: Taking Hold of Talmud II (6 credits)
MTWR 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
With the same skill focused goals of TAL 6111, students will explore a new range of sequential passages drawn from Bavli Berakhot or Seder Moed or Nashim. The religious dimension of these texts will again be discussed. 

TAL 6631 Talmud Text Level B: Mastery in the Making II (6 credits)
Rachel Rosenthal
MTWR 9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
With the identical emphasis on competence and mastery as in TAL 6453, students will encounter a substantial number of different sequential passages drawn from Bavli Avodah Zarah. Time will once more be devoted to religious meaning. 


At Nishma, your teachers will be senior JTS faculty, emerging young scholars, and advanced rabbinical students.


A tiered tuition structure allows students flexibility in the subjects they wish to take and the credit they wish to earn. Part-time rates are also available. Students may take morning or afternoon courses for $775 per session, or $875 per session for those taking Hebrew. There are a limited number of fellowships available for those who plan to enroll in JTS degree programs.

Nishma (Lishmah) Nishma with Hebrew (Lishmah)
No academic credit No academic credit
Talmud, Rabbinic Literature, and/or Parshanut: $2,500 (both sessions); $1,250 (single session) Talmud and Hebrew: $3,500 (both sessions); $1,750 (single session)

For-Credit Option

You can earn up to six graduate academic credits in Nishma. These credits are earned through the JTS Summer School. See tuition and fees

Apply to Nishma 

All applications are considered on a rolling basis from December 15 on.


For more information about Nishma, please contact us at nishma@jtsa.edu.