Midreshet Eshel an evening of support and inspiration
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The Rich History of Sephardic Jewry


Everything you could want from
a seminary and more . . .


Learning, growing, touring, Chessed, meeting new people, and interacting with well respected
leaders from the Jewish world.


Tanakh, Halacha, Sephardic studies, Chassidut, yoga, psychology, touring Israel and making friends for life!






Course Descriptions

 

Jewish Philosophy

The purpose of this course is to examine in depth the foundation of beliefs upon which Judaism rests. We will explore some of the classic concepts discussed by Medieval Jewish philosophers including the relationship between man and G-d, free choice vs. G-d’s foreknowledge, Divine providence, reward & punishment, sadik V’ra Lo, Chosen People, Olam Haba (the world to come), and the end of days.

 

Group Dynamics

Group Dynamics covers the process of getting to know oneself within a group. Students will gain effective communication skills to help in reaching their identity, gaining trust, and learning how to give and receive advice and criticism, all in a non-threatening and respectful way. Skills learned in this course will help students build healthy relationships throughout life.

 

Lifecycles – From Birth to Death

Ever wonder why people put all their jewelry around the baby at a pidyon haben? Do you say “Baruch Shepatrani” on a Bat Mitzvah? Wonder why a Kallah walks around the Chatan 7 times? In this class we will explore the reasons, halachot and minhagim of all the major lifecycle events so that when they happen to you – you know what and why we Jews do what we do! In each unit we will discuss the source and philosophy of the Mitzvah, some of the major Halachic questions that come up as well as the minhagim that surround the Mitzvah. The shiur will use the basic source material as a jumping off point for discussing the topics in depth.

 

Shmuel Bet On Site – The Prophets

In this course we will travel back in time to the era of the Prophet Shmuel, King Saul and King David. With the Tanakh in our hands and the City of David at our feet, we will follow in their footsteps and learn aboutour rich history and the heritage they bequeathed.

 

Daily Prophets From Navi

In this class we aim to learn about the events and experiences that have occurred to the Jewish people in Israel during the time period of our prophets and kings. In the light of this history, we can learn and make comparisons to our own times and current governments. Thus, past and present share an insightful destiny through the eyes, ears and imagination of our students. The emphasis in class will be on pshat (the simple meaning of the text) with the intention of acquiring skill based learning without losing the fervor of the text content.

 

Kohelet (Ecclesiastes)

In Megillah Kohelet we are going to examine various topics that are discussed throughout the Megillah such as:

  1. The power of wisdom: who is wise, what are the benefits the wise has over the Ckesil (Fool).
  2. Simcha (happiness), its benefits and challenges.
  3. The value of time and its limitations.
  4. The meaning of life. Life is short – focus on what to concentrate on and what to ignore.
  5. The value of hard work /the farmer’s great value.
  6. Wealth and its meaning.
  7. The power of a woman: comparing the Perek of Eshet Chayil from Mishlai.
  8. Good advice that everyone should embrace.
  9. Human development (comparing youth and old age).
  10. Final summary and Epilogue.

 

Yoga

Many people think that yoga is just stretching. While stretching is certainly involved, yoga is really about creating inner balance and centering the mind. Through deep breathing and postures both challenging and restorative, students will gain a deeper sense of their inner selves, learn how to effectively handle daily stress and come to a place of harmony between body and soul. The benefits of yoga extend to both the body and the mind.

 

HumashHumash Bereshit/Shemot (Books of Genesis/Exodus)

This course is an in – depth examination of the first two books of the Torah: Bereshit and Shemot. In order to explore and understand the deeper meaning of the text, Midrash, Talmud, and major commentaries will be studied. To strengthen the necessary skills needed in understanding the Hebrew text, students will be given guided independent study.

 

Ahavat HaAretz (Love of the Land)

In this course we will explore the development and establishment of our beautiful, magical and miraculous land of Israel. Beginning with the תנ”ך we will explore the centrality of א”י with special emphasis on the last 100 years of Zionist history, discussion of the wars, emmigrations, and personalities who contributed to the states’ founding and formation, such as Theodor Herzl,David Ben Gurion, and Rav Kook, . The course will include multi- media presentations and select trips. Prepare to be inspired!

 

Hilchot De’ot

An in depth study of Maimonides Hilchot Deot comparing his
teachings to other commentaries. The class will involve textual study as well as discussion.

 

R. LevyHalacha (Law)

Complete overview of the practicalities of Jewish law throughout the yearly cycle, based on the teachings of Rav Yosef Karo. Topics to be covered include prayer, blessings, Shabbat,Holidays, Kashrut, and Kibbud Av V’Em.

 

Tikun Hamidot – Character Development

 

In this Tikun HaMidot class, student discovered a practical approach and guide to working on one’s inner self. During the year, we discuss a wide range of the fundamental Midot (character traits) which guide our thoughts, actions, speech and avodat  Hashem in every aspect of our lives. The midot we delved into include: Rahamim, Menuhat HaNefesh, Simha, Redifat HaCavod, Gevura, Anger, Bitachon and Kinah (Envy). A wide range of classical Torah, Mussar and Chassidic sources are studied in depth with emphasis placed on drawing out a relevant and very practical working guide to personal spiritual growth for the purpose of revealing the G-dly light within each of us.

Nashim B’Tanakh – Women in Tanakh

In this course we will learn about some of the prominent women role models found in Neviim and Ketuvim. We will explore their role and impact during the time in which they lived as well as what we can learn from them today. Personalities include both well-known and not -so-well-known Women in Tanakh studied through the primary text as well as relevant commentaries.

 

Ben Ish ChaiSephardic Communities and Sages

This class emphasizes the positive impact of Sephardic Jewry on the world. It will examine the lives of great Torah scholars and other Sephardic personalities and the various communities pre and post the expulsion of 1492, including the Chida, Ben Ish Chai and the Baba Sali. We will also study major events that affected the Sephardic world. For the Sephardic student especially, this course helps to solidify their Sephardic identity with the knowledge of their glorious past.

 

Sephardic Cooking

CookingFood says a lot about who we are as individuals and as a people. In this class students will have an opportunity to prepare different dishes from various Sephardic communities around the world. Through warm weekly meetings, students will become more familiar and appreciate the significant role they play in creating these ethnic delights.

Parsha Hashavua – Weekly Torah Portion

On a weekly basis, the students will delve into the lessons gleaned from the Torah portion for the coming Shabbat. The class will explore themes of the Parsha and relate them to contemporary issues, allowing the students to integrate the lessons learned into daily life.

 

Neviim Rishonim Ve-Ahronim – The Early and Later Prophets

This class is designed to learn the Prophets in – depth. Students will be given independent study time to analyze the text. Classes will utilize Midrash and commentaries to gain a deeper understanding of the text.

 

Taamei HaMizvot – Why do we do what we do?

In this course is an in depth analysis of various Mitzvot through classic and contemporary commentaries. The course will explore the significance of each Mitzvah its philosophical significance and relevance to modern life.

 

Ulpan – Learning Hebrew

This intensive language course focuses on Hebrew comprehension and spoken language skills. It will involve an applied approach to learning Hebrew through class trips to the mall, the religious neighborhood of Jerusalem, the marketplace, and more. The course material will also include the study of Israeli films in order to better understand the Israeli culture and mentality.

 

 

The Jewish Woman

This course offers the philosophical underpinnings and halachic sources for many of the areas of Jewish law pertaining to women. Especially emphasized are topics regarding relationships between men and women in Judaism, love, dating and marriage, gender differences, the Jewish view of sexuality and the laws of tzniut. Engaging discussion is a crucial element of the class, and questioning is encouraged.

 

Matriarchs and Marriage

This course examines the marriages of the 4 matriarchs (to the 3 patriarchs:) and attempts to use these examples in the Torah as a springboard for  learning relevant, contemporary lessons for dating and marriage in today’s society . Topics vary from personality differences and dynamic between the spouses, shared goals and values, communication, middot, respect, trust, healthy interaction and conflict management, and even touch upon parenting techniques and the importance of prayer and emunah in family life.

“Da Ma Lehashiv”  Know What to Answer

What would you say to a person issuing anti-Israel or anti-Jewish statements? How would you respond to charges of Biblical criticism and proponents of a cult? How can you help your atheist or agnostic friend back to Judaism? These and other critical topics will be discussed and analyzed to help students cope with today’s college campus challenges.

Leadership Course – Learn and Tour Course at Matan

On a weekly basis we will study at Matan with today’s best educators including Shani Taragin and Dr. Yael Ziegler. On a monthly basis we will go on a tour with reknown tour guide Shulie Miskin to see our learning come alive!

Belief and Trust in Hashem

An in depth study of all facets of trust in Hashem through classic and contemporary sources such as Hovot Halevavot, Orhot Tzadikim, Michtav MeEliyahu, Netivot Shalom and others. Topics under study include the human capacity for trust, knowledge of G-d that enables us to trust G-d, how our life- scripts impact our ability to trust, and using our imagination as a tool to build a relationship with G-d.

 

Shemirat Halashon

A comprehensive study of the laws regarding lashon hara, motzi shem ra, and rechilut using Rav Pliskin’s Guard Your Tongue as a guide.

 

Emunat Hachamim

The belief in the authority of the Rabbis is a foundation of Judaism. In this course we will explore the development of ‘Torah Shebe’al Pe’ (Oral Law) throughout the ages, beginning with why it was put down in written form as well as how the system of Halacha actually works. Issues such as Faith and Doubt as well as the difference between Orthodox and non- orthodox approaches to Halacha will be discussed as well.

 

 

Prayer

Where does the concept of prayer come from? What’s the purpose of prayer if G-d knows what we need and want? What does it really mean to have ‘Kavana?’ In this course students will explore the meaning, laws, and development of prayer. Students will gain a deeper understanding of why we pray, while at the same time deepen their knowledge of the laws of prayer. Sources will encompass prayer as it developed from the Bible, the Mishna and Talmud, Maimonides, up until the present day.