HaMidrasha HaYisraelit (literally, “The Israeli Seminary”) is the first program to enable secular and religious young women to study ancient and modern
Jewish texts and philosophy together in before enlisting in the IDF.
Launched in the 2023/24 academic year, the Midrasha is a crucial response to the fractures in Israeli society, focusing on building a stronger Jewish community based on respect and dialogue, with Torah and our shared values at its core.
The seminary encourages full freedom of opinion for different views in the Jewish world with the understanding that the encounter with the “other” and with differences will serve to enrich each student’s Jewish identity.
The Midrasha is located in the heart of Pardes Hanna, a unique town which is home to a wide variety of people from the entire spectrum of Israeli society, and respects every individual, allowing everyone to act according to their faith.
The Midrasha HaYisraelit exposes the young women to all types of Jewish-Israeli texts. Studies are based on respectful discourse, consideration, and inclusion of different opinions. The educational concept is to introduce the young women to current values and Jewish dilemmas, such as spiritual issues, Israeli identity, religion and state, social theories, Zionism, Jewish philosophy, art, and more.
Stemming from a desire to educate towards social responsibility – and based on the belief that giving is a basis of our Jewish identity – time is also devoted to investing in the community. Weekly activities are carried out in several locations in response to the community’s specific needs. Our aim is to foster a strong and meaningful connection with the environment in which we live.
Enlisting in the IDF
The Midrasha considers enlistment of female students an important value and encourages its students to volunteer for meaningful service. Preparation for the army is part of the annual curriculum.
Midrasha HaYisraelit students have a study tour once a month that includes a trip, meetings with local people, and community activities. These tours strengthen our students’ connection to the regions they visit and expose them to different sectors of Israeli society.
Once a month there is a guest lecture on a variety of topics such as: leadership, social responsibility, coping with challenges, and personal growth. Parents are also invited to these lectures, to deepen the students and their families’ connection to the Midrasha.
The Midrasha’s teaching staff includes religious and secular teachers, both women and men, espousing different views, who expose the students to a broad and rich world of content.
* Avital Wilner Shalev – Rosh Midrasha; aims to make the treasures of the Jewish texts a welcome sphere for each and every student at the Midrasha. Avital lives in Mitzpe Ilan with her husband and three children.
* Ester Meir Horvitz – Rosh Midrasha; strives to strengthen the various identities within the Midrasha, to give expression to a plurality of voices, and to foster the development of a powerful and unique female voice. Ester lives in Zichron Yaakov with her husband and three children.
* Rabbi Ohad Teharlev – founder of the Midrasha HaYisraelit, Rabbi Teharlev is the director of Israeli programs at OTS’s Midreshet Lindenbaum in Jerusalem, and responsible for Midreshet Lindenbaum’s branches in Lod and Carmiel.
The Midrasha strives to foster students who are connected to the Jewish spiritual world and to Israeli society and who will be motivated by a strong sense of social responsibility and action. We believe that the students will be able to make the value of human dignity central to their daily lives and so they will be able to live and study together throughout the year.