After you're done being an Everett…

Or if you’re not free until next year, and would like to spend the year learning is Jerusalem, check this out:
Yakar seeks creatively maladjusted, non-conformist students to be Yakar Scholars
The Yakar Scholars Program: deep inquiry into traditional texts coupled with an approach that treasures personal authenticity, the arts and a commitment to justice.
* Learn in Beit Midrash 3 mornings a week + 2 evenings a week.
* Receive free tuition and a Stipend of $300 per month for living expenses
* Scholars can learn at either Advanced or Introductory levels, women and men
* Scholars are asked to contribute their talents to the community
We seek people dedicated to looking deeper within tradition and themselves for truth, who are equally dedicated to responding to the cry in the street, and serving the community.
The Yakar Scholars Program: In the service of God there are no rules, and this itself is not a rule.
Apply Through Interview. Contact: Tel: 972-2-561-2310 /1 Or: [email protected]

The Learning Community at Yakar is animated by three fundamental values:
* The belief that Jewish literacy – a control of traditional source material enables a person to refute, teach, dialogue and develop a more authentic relationship with Judaism.
* A commitment to learning Torah that is relevant to our deepest being, enriching our inner world while upholding our intellectual integrity. Personal integration of Torah, by definition defies abstraction and compartmentalization.
* A passion for translating one’s learning into significant social action. Our learning should be relevant to ourselves and the world around us.
What is different about Yakar’s Learning Community?
1. Yakar’s Learning Community asks you to bring your life experience to Jewish texts. It does not want you to leave yourself at the door of the Beit Midrash.
2. Yakar’s Learning Community relates to the inner world or a human being. It believes that Torah has to provide food for the soul.
3. Ultimately the question to be answered by any learning community is this: does the Torah I’m learning respond to the deepest parts of my life or is it unable to relate to the reality around me?
The above is Yakar’s educational agenda. We invite you to participate in this conversation of learning. It is that conversation which makes Yakar so very different.
Introductory Level:
I. Basic Mishna & Gemara
II. Parashat HaShavua
III. Hassidut: The Quest for Authenticity
IV. Modern Jewish Thought
V. Jewish Sources & Social Action
VI. Spiritual Reflection & Accompaniment
I. Basic Mishna & Gemara (Introductory Level)
This course designed to give students the opportunity to experience the challenge, excitement, and frustrations of hands-on learning Mishna & Gemara. We will study Mishna, Gemara and its commentators. The syllabus will be chosen from these tractates: Berachot, Bava-Metzia, and tractates dealing with the Chagim (festivals).
II. Parashat HaShavua
This course provides an in depth study of the parasha (the weekly portion read from the Torah on Shabbat). The first stage of our learning will be to grapple with peshat: the literal meaning of the text – free of the crutches of “the commentators.” In stage two, we will encounter the world of Midrash, wherein frequently, Hazal (the Rabbis of the Mishna and Talmud) not only deviated from the literal meaning of the text, but introduced new and radical interpretations to the traditional stories of the Torah. Modern and Classical commentators will also be studied. Finally, students will be encouraged to write their own ‘midrash’ (creative interpretations to the parasha).
This course aims to provide a rigorous framework in which an individual can develop technical skills (such as language and textual analysis), while challenging and encouraging the participants to seek out personal meaning and relevance.
Skills provided in this course:
* Familiarization with classical Biblical commentators.
* Understanding the central concepts and ideas of Hazal.
* Historical awareness of the concerns of Hazal and their outlook.
* Familiarization and control of the language style in both the Torah and Midrash.
III. The Quest for Authenticity – The Thought of R. Simhah Bunim of Przysucha
Przysucha (pronounced Pe-shis-cha) is a form of Hasidism unlike any other. In 19th Poland, Przysucha stressed the use of both analysis and intuition, the heart and the mind, whether one is learning torah or engaged in prayer – one cannot fly without “the two wings of a bird.” Because there is no Kabbalah or mysticism in Przysucha, no attempt is made to understand God in terms of theological structure or the influences of the ‘absolute,’ rather the focus is placed squarely on the human being.
Przysucha sees Torah as a process whereby a person purifies their inner motivations, whether in the service of God or in regard to one’s fellow human being – one cannot approach another ‘being’ without first becoming aware of who one really is. Przysucha asks, is it possible to be both passionate and analytical? What is the value of a religious/emotional experience when the individual has not sufficiently ‘prepared’ oneself? And how can a person learn to integrate religious experiences into one’s everyday personality? Przysucha is Torah for the human being rooted in the study of the Talmud-Torah.
The individual, who developed Przysucha into a movement, which contended for dominance in the Hasidic world of 19th century Poland, was R.Simah Bunim. This course will focus on the teachings R. Simhah Bunim, but will also include the Torah of his teacher “the Yehudi – Yaakov Yitzhak of Przysucha” and his pupil Menachem Mendel of Kotzk.
The focus of the course will be the theme of balancing conflicting value structures.
* The intellect and the experiential.
* Discovering one’s individual path within a Halachic community.
* The critique of Przysucha within the ‘Hasidic Family’.
* Preparation and Spontaneity.
* The demand for introspection along with the dangers of depression.
* Meritocracy and Humility.
* Spirituality without Kabbalah.
IV. Modern Jewish Thought
This course deals with the issues that any intelligent sensitive man or woman living in the 20/21st century would probably ask. The goal of the course is not necessarily to give answers but to be aware of the range of opinions.
The course provides the student with a précis of the main philosophical views of the middle ages as well as those of Kabbalah and Hassidut leading to the main Jewish thinkers of the 20th century.
Is an idea Jewish only if it stems from a Jewish source? Or is it Jewish because it is being discussed by someone profoundly Jewish- or does it matter? Find out.
V. Jewish Sources on Social Action
Maimonaidies says the following:
…the throne of Israel will not be established
nor the religion of truth endure
except by justice. As it says
“via justice you will be established
keep far from oppression”
nor will Israel be redeemed (without justice).
A just society is therefore a prerequisite for a religious society. Without it there can be no redemption; nor would Judaism be seen as the religion of truth; nor is there any messianic vision without justice. We will learn texts from the Bible to the modern period showing the Jewish aspiration to create Tikun Olam.
VI. Spiritual Reflection and Accompaniment
Course Description: Reading ourselves as we read sacred texts.
Spiritual Reflection, Integration and Accompaniment is a practice of reading people and our significant life moments as rigorously and openly as we would read a sacred text. Through the exploration of Life-Cycle themes: death, birth, suffering, theodicy, divine absence and presence, love, conflict and transformation – we will bring our concerns and life situations – to “echo” alongside the Jewish tradition like a prayer.
The syllabus will be based on traditional Jewish sources and individual student contributions. Just as the Rabbis, who believed the Torah contains not one extra letter – a person practicing Spiritual Accompaniment is attached to each moment in life with attention and investigation – aware that each action we make can be not only meaningful, but even sacred.
Goals and Skills in this course:
* Developing confidence in creatively analyzing Jewish sources and allowing them to speak to our personal experiences and challenges.
* Feeling comfortable in reflecting on and exploring major life experiences – in particular those involving conflict, fear, transformation and joy.
* Enabling individuals to take appropriate emotional risks in a group setting as a process of claiming one’s own voice.
* Discover a Judaism that is deeply relevant to the concerns of the present moment.
In addition, students will be paired with community members for guided learning through a Yakar staff member – twice a week at our evening Beit Midrash. (The Kloyze).‘The Kloyze,’ – Open two evenings a week (Mondays and Wednesdays, 7:30-10:30pm) is a Hebrew speaking atmosphere of Jewish learning open to the general public regardless of background or affiliation. Yakar believes that Jewish learning should be a natural way to make contact with one’s community beyond the insular Anglo-Saxon environment of Jerusalem. In addition to courses within the Learning Community, there are also ongoing evening lectures on Jewish Philosophy, Chassidic Thought, Literature and Human Rights as well as, lively panel discussions on burning issues facing Israel and Jewish world hosted by the Center for Social Concern. The program also combines hikes and outdoor activities alongside textual learning.

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