“Teach me”: Inaugural Summer Torah Program for High School Girls

“Teach me”: Midreshet Lindenbaum’s Inaugural Summer Torah Program for High School Girls

the group at the kotelTen young women returned to their homes across the USA last week after spending four fun-filled weeks in Israel. Summer “fun” for this particular group of girls was different than one might expect from high school sophomores, juniors and seniors. Their program focused on high-level, intensive Torah and Talmud studies in the famed Midreshet Lindenbaum beit midrash – alongside touring the country and “giving back” through volunteer chesed opportunities such as baking desserts to deliver to soldiers and packaging food for needy families.

“I had a fabulous time at Lamdeini – Midreshet Lindenbaum’s summer learning program for high school students, ” enthuses Rena Kaplan of Bala Cynwyd, PA, who will be entering 11th grade at The Baldwin School in the fall. “I really appreciated the program’s unique commitment to providing engaging, high-level shiurim. The faculty not only taught us meaningful material, but were also interested in speaking with us outside the classroom and even welcomed us into their homes for Shabbat. It was a bracha to spend my time in the Lindenbaum beit midrash with a remarkable group of peers and mentors,” she affirms.

(L to R) Rena Kaplan, Hadar Samkovich, Eliana Waghalter, Naomi Rosenbluth, Shira Kaplan
(L to R) Rena Kaplan, Hadar Samkovich, Eliana Waghalter, Naomi Rosenbluth, Shira Kaplan

“There was such a diversity of classes that we all got to learn what we love,” adds Naomi Rosenbluth, a sophomore at Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in New Jersey. “I especially loved the classes where we learned life lessons, and I loved gaining tools to learn in chavruta, as well as navigating the texts on my own.”

Moreover, continues Naomi, “It was wonderful to be with a group of girls who all feel as passionately about learning and who see it as so much more than something to do in school.”

Craving Torah study even during the summer

The word “lamdeini” means “teach me,” and reflects the motivation behind the program’s establishment. “After running a Zoom summer program for high schoolers when the Covid pandemic began, a number of high schools throughout the USA suggested we open an in-person program this year, specifically for students who crave a continuation of their Torah learning over the summer in a thriving beit midrash,” reveals Rosh Midreshet Lindenbaum Rabbanit Sally Mayer.

Group shot pre Shabbat at Lindenbaum“This is the only summer program in Israel for high school girls that includes serious study of Gemara,” elaborates Rabbanit Rivky Kresst, senior Tanakh teacher at Midreshet Lindenbaum and coordinator of the Lamdeini Program. “In addition, the girls also studied myriad other subjects; they explored leadership, the development of Jewish customs, the textual basis of Jewish laws, and characters in Tanakh.”

“It was inspiring for these bright, impressive, inquisitive young women to see our beautiful beit midrash, filled with women learning Torah,” says Krestt. “They were truly empowered by the midrasha’s amazing teachers to take ownership of their Jewish journeys.”

A Group Committed to Learning Torah

“The teachers really were outstanding,” affirmed Eliana Waghalter, an incoming 11th grader at YULA Girls High School in Los Angeles. “I’ve gained a real appreciation for the textual sources behind so many of the things I do every day,” she says.

Reyut Wasserstein (L) and Eliana Waghalter
Reyut Wasserstein (L) and Eliana Waghalter

On the group’s tours of Israel, their teachers integrated what they learned into their trips – for example, a visit to the location where the Jewish People crossed into Israel followed by a water hike in the area.

One of Eliana’s favorite outings was to site of the mishkan (tabernacle) in Shilo. “It’s just amazing to learn something in Tanakh and then see where it happened,” she shares.

“Participating in Lamdeini has helped me grow in so many ways,” summarizes Shira Kaplan of Teaneck, New Jersey, who will soon be starting her senior year at Maayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls. “I have gained new Torah learning skills and new perspectives on the texts, and I made wonderful friends. I really hope to come back to learn at Midreshet Lindenbaum again after I graduate high school!”

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