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NISHMAT The Alisa Flatow Program For College Women And Beyond

The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women

What Makes Nishmat Special? Nishmat was founded in 1990 to open the world of text-based Torah learning to women and enable women to set out on the road to becoming leaders and Torah scholars. Beginners to advanced scholars, college students to grandmothers, English speakers and Israelis – all sit side-by-side in Nishmat’s beit midrash, developing ownership of the texts and of their spiritual heritage.

Skills For Independent Text Study At Nishmat, all students engage in guided independent learning with chevrutot (study partners). Teachers are committed to excellence in women’s Torah learning, and encourage students at all levels to develop new skills and push the limits of their abilities.

A Unique Spiritual Journey The personal development and spiritual growth of each student is a priority for teachers. Nishmat’s warm and intellectual environment encourages students to make their own decisions about their religious paths.

“Learning at Nishmat has given me the opportunity to think about spiritual issues that I wouldn’t have had if I were back home, like how I relate to G-d, and to other people, ethically and morally.” Anne, Attorney, New York City, USA

A Spirit of Open Inquiry At Nishmat, students experience authentic Torah study in a setting that is open to different approaches within halachic Judaism. Faculty is of diverse backgrounds and outlooks. Students are valued as individuals and are encouraged to explore, tackle significant issues and find answers to their questions for themselves with the help and guidance of teachers.

Women A diverse and exceptional group of women of all ages and backgrounds make up the Nishmat community. Nishmat takes women seriously and believes in maximizing women’s contribution to Jewish life.

Live the Israeli Experience Nishmat is unique among women’s programs catering to English speakers in that our students sit in the beit midrash alongside Israelis with whom they make lasting friendships. All members of the Nishmat community experience a profound connection with the contemporary State of Israel. As a Zionist institution we deeply believe in the religious significance of the State of Israel, combining strong Torah observance with openness to the modern world.

PROGRAMS AT NISHMAT Whether you’re taking a year off, planning a semester abroad, thinking of a career break or want to have Torah learning as a regular part of your schedule in Israel, Nishmat’s flexible programs can accommodate you.

A Year of Torah Each September, a new cycle of learning begins at Nishmat, continuing until June. Students choose either the full-time program and completely immerse themselves in a year of study or join individual classes as part-time students while continuing to work or study in university. Shabbatot, tiyulim (hikes) to discover the Land of Israel and special events for the chagim (holidays) embrace both full and part-time students, creating a warm family environment in which to learn Torah.

Semester Abroad For college women looking to spend an enriching semester abroad, Nishmat offers the opportunity to join the full time program, either in September or January.

Special Programs Nishmat offers short, concentrated programs for women who have limited time off from work or school: Preparing for the Chagim (High Holidays): Elul Program This month-long program focuses on preparing for the approaching High Holidays. Classes emphasize texts that deal with the spiritual challenges of the coming year. Learning in the Sun: Summer Program This intensive three-week program in July opens a window for beginners to the world of Jewish learning, while allowing advanced students the opportunity to immerse themselves in text-based Torah study. This special summer experience is enhanced through tiyulim (hikes) and Shabbat with faculty; the Summer Program builds a community of the spirit with longlasting ties. Keeping Warm in the Beit Midrash: Winter Program Students spend time in a warm beit midrash atmosphere during their winter break – an opportunity to catch up on Torah study and spiritual inspiration. (For the Southern Hemisphere students, this serves as the Summer Program.)

“Nishmat was the only place I found in Jerusalem where I could engage in sophisticated traditional learning, as a woman in my thirties starting without any Hebrew skills.� Karen, Manager of Financial Planning, Vancouver, Canada

Nishmat Offers Programs At Three Different Levels Starting Out: Beginners Program Guided by expert teachers and tutors. Beginners explore the worlds of Tanach (Bible), Talmud, Halacha (Jewish Law), Prayer and Jewish Philosophy. Students experience the thrill of reading and understanding classic sources in the original. The program includes a Hebrew language Ulpan. Moving Up: Intermediate Program This program enables students who have mastered basic skills to begin grounding themselves in advanced study. The schedule includes classes in easy Hebrew. Becoming a Fluent Learner: Advanced Program Geared towards those with a very strong text study background, this program enables students to join advanced Israeli shiurm while remaining within the warm, nurturing atmosphere of the English-speakers program. Special arrangements can be made for mentored research on specialized topics. In all programs schedules can be customized; students may choose classes from either the advanced or beginning level programs, in accordance with their own needs.

“The teachers at Nishmat encourage me to think on my own. I have a wonderful personal connection with them that I haven’t experienced anywhere else.” Rachel, Harvard Alumna, Florida, USA

Courses At Nishmat Classes at Nishmat are interactive and engaging, and include intensive chavruta preparation. A Sample of the Courses: Tanach (Bible) Grapple with the Biblical text first-hand. Participants study with the classical commentaries while dealing with issues of faith and meaning in the Torah and their lives. Gemara (Talmud) Acquire independent study skills for beginners to advanced students, analyze issues in Jewish law and ethics and let your spirits soar as you encounter the greatest minds in Jewish history. Hilchot Shabbat (Laws of Shabbat) Develop the tools to learn halacha independently, gain an understanding of the halachic process and be familiar with Jewish law as it is practiced in communities today. Chassidut Study selections from Tanya, Bet Yaacov and writings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov together with corresponding texts from Maimonides’ Guide to the Perplexed, Maharal and other classical works of Jewish thought. Women in Jewish Law Examine contemporary issues pertaining to women and halacha directly from the sources. Each student is empowered to create a unique place for herself as an observant Jewish woman in the contemporary world.

The Faculty Nishmat’s rabbis and women scholars represent a range of halachically authentic religious philosophies and share a passion for Torah. Their scholarship, diverse perspectives and openness are sources of inspiration. Among our Faculty: Rabbanit Chana Henkin, Dean and founder of Nishmat, is one of today’s most acclaimed Jewish educators and a source of inspiration to students. Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, of Yeshiva University, conferring an honorary doctorate upon her said, “You peered through the glass ceiling and observed the heavens smiling and beckoning above. Without confrontation or acrimony, you gently lifted a window in the ceiling and taught the rest of us that the sky is the limit if your heart is with Heaven”. Rabbi Menachem Schrader, Director of Nishmat’s Alisa Flatow Program, lives with his family in Efrat, where he is the Rabbi of the Congregation Tiferet Avot. A graduate of Yeshiva University and New York University, Rabbi Schrader teaches Halacha, Mishna and Tanach. He is a beloved veteran Jewish educator and is the founding director of the Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC). Simi Peters, well-known scholar of Tanach and Midrash, has an M.A. in Linguistics from the City University of New York. She is the author of the book “Learning to Read Midrash”. A graduate of the Jerusalem Fellows of the Mandell School of Leadership, Simi has served as an educational consultant for a number of prominent Jewish education initiatives. She lives with her family in Har Nof, Jerusalem. Rabbi Da’vid Sperling, was born in Sydney Australia. He studied at Machon Meir and for many years at Yeshivat Ateret Kohanim. Rabbi Sperling received advanced rabbinic ordination from the chief rabbinate of Israel, as well as from Rabbi Yehuda Henkin. Rabbi Sperling has taught Halacha at Nishmat for many years and published a wide range of halachic articles in journals and on the internet. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife Riva and their five children.

“Intellectual Jewish women need a strong learning institution that takes them seriously. At Nishmat, I was given the tools to learn Torah in a meaningful way, and supported in my individual search towards truth and understanding.� Ilana, Graduate Student in Jewish Philosophy, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

Nishmat 26a Berel Locker Street Pat, Jerusalem 93282 Phone: 972.2.640.4333 Fax: 972.2.640.4353 Email:

American Friends of Nishmat 271 Madison Avenue, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10016 Phone: 212.983.6975 Fax: 212.983.9454 Email:

Canadian Friends of Nishmat 6 Stormont Avenue Toronto, Ontario M5N 2B8 Phone: 416.880.7417 Email:


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