shayna rhodes, left, and allan lehmann, co-directors of the beit midrash

Educational Foundations

A Pluralistic Vision: Fostering Personal Exploration and Shared Inquiry

Our students come from diverse Jewish communities across North America, as well as from Israel, England, South Africa and South America. They are actively encouraged to explore their own and each other’s beliefs and practices in an atmosphere of open inquiry and honest conversation.

Our Bet Midrash (“House of Study”) is a place where all questions are welcome. Our daily communal prayer services reflect a wide range of approaches to religious expression. Our classrooms are enlivened by the exchange of ideas among students and faculty from richly varied Jewish backgrounds. Our students graduate with an appreciation for the diversity of contemporary Jewish life and models for shared learning and friendship among Jews with different backgrounds and beliefs.

An Innovative Curriculum: Combining Academic Rigor and Spiritual Depth

Our innovative thematic curriculum combines the best elements of the university and the yeshiva, enabling students to examine the sources of Judaism both in historical context and from a personal religious perspective. Students are expected to engage questions of critical scholarship as well as questions of meaning and relevance. Academic courses are supplemented by intensive daily preparation in the Bet Midrash, where students spend time in intensive study with a partner (a “hevruta”) and with faculty supervision. Our students graduate with the ability to study Jewish sources in the original text and to think creatively about their contemporary relevance, so that, as rabbis, they can invite others into the rich interpretive tradition that we have inherited.

A Vibrant Community: Infusing Jewish Life with Creativity and Joy

Our students and faculty see themselves as a community, both within and beyond the walls of the classroom and the Bet Midrash. We study together, engage in communal prayer and celebration and share the rhythms of the Jewish year and of each other’s lives. In the ongoing life of the school, student leadership and initiative is actively encouraged, and we seek ways to draw forth the distinctive contributions of each member of our community. We strive to treat each other well, and the school is infused with an atmosphere of creativity and joy. Having experienced our approach to community-building within the school, graduates are both inspired and prepared to create vibrant and inclusive communities wherever they serve as rabbis.

Social Responsibility: Bringing Jewish Values to a World in Need of Repair

We believe that Judaism teaches us to engage with — rather than retreat from — the world around us. Through study, prayer, education, activism, organization, community service and interfaith leadership, we seek to address the pressing human issues of our time and bring healing to a world torn apart by violence, distrust of difference, devastating social inequities and environmental degradation.With our neighbors at Andover Newton Theological School, we have developed a thriving interfaith program that promotes mutual understanding, respect, and responsibility for the world we inhabit together. Our graduates understand that rabbinic leadership in the 21st century must transcend parochial concerns and must take responsibility not only for the Jewish future but for the future of our planet.