Learn with Hadar
Rabbinic Yeshiva Intensive

Rabbinic Yeshiva Intensive

March 12-15, 2023

190 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY

Couldn't make it this year? Save the date for next year’s Rabbinic Yeshiva Intensive on March 3-6, 2024.




Hadar’s Rabbinic Yeshiva Intensive (RYI) aims to refill the spiritual and intellectual wells of rabbis from across the denominational and geographical spectrum through text study and meaningful conversation. Facilitated by Hadar’s faculty, RYI offers a remarkable space for rabbis of all backgrounds to come together to learn resonant and relevant Torah in Hadar’s beit midrash.

Far from being a professional skills workshop, RYI enables Rabbis who love to learn Torah but have a thousand daily commitments and responsibilities to engage their passion for Jewish content and conversation.


Host Committee

Rabbi Jill Borodin
Rabbi Jonathan Blake
Rabbi Aaron Brusso
Rabbi Lyle Fishman
Rabbi Betsy Forester
Rabbi Joshua Kullock
Rabbi Jonathan Malamy
Rabbi Daniel Bar-Nahum
Rabbi Michael Satz
Rabbi David Vaisberg
Rabbi David Wise




Browse this year's shedule to get a sense of the learning options at Hadar:


Session Titles and Descriptions


Selection of Sessions from this year’s program:

Why Is the Prophet So Distraught? Five Readings of the Book of Jonah

R. Shai Held

We hear about Jonah's refusal of God's call in the first chapters of the book that bears his name, but we hear about his reasons for resisting only in the final chapter-- and even then the meaning of his words remains extremely controversial.  Through exploring midrashim, medieval parshanim, and modern academic scholars, we'll encounter five different ways of understanding the book of Jonah and its key message, and we'll ask about the ethical, spiritual, and theological implications of each view.   Crucially, we'll also attempt to understand Jonah through its connections and references to other biblical texts.

"Who Has Not Forgotten His Hesed": Doing Theology (and Ethics) with the Book of Ruth

R. Shai Held

The book of Ruth is extraordinarily rich-- and arguably also somewhat elusive.  Scholars tend to agree that the text has a powerful theological vision it wants to express, but they're divided about just what that vision is; they see the book as conveying crucial lessons about what it means to live with God, but again there is controversy over precisely what those lessons are.  In this session we'll do a deep dive into some of the most fundamental-- and controversial-- ethical and theological questions that this much-loved book lays before us.

Olam Hesed Yibaneh: Encountering the World of Rabbi Chaim Friedlander

Rabbi Shai Held

Some of the greatest and most influential thinkers of the Musar movement penned extended meditations on hesed and its place in Jewish ethics, theology, and spirituality.  Perhaps the two most famous, at least outside of Haredi circles, are those by Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler and Rav Yitzhak Hutner.  In this session, we'll engage the work of a third prominent Musar master, Rabbi Chaim Friedlander (1923-1986), who served as the mashgiah at the renowned Ponovezh yeshiva and was a prolific and beautiful writer about middot and avodat Hashem.  We'll read and discuss select passages from his great work, Siftei Hayyim.

Betrayal or Continuity?: The Role of Interpretation in Tradition

R. Avital Hochstein

The act of interpretation, of translating, clarifying, and conceptualizing tradition is innate to any text-based culture. It also poses fundamental challenges to tradition, raising questions about authenticity and boundaries. Is interpretation a ‘necessary evil’ that inevitably dilutes or a ‘necessary good’ that cultivates relevance and meaning for contemporary cultures? When should interpretation be viewed as an illegitimate turn or an act of loyalty? How can multiple interpretations exist within a single tradition? 

Praying Against our Enemies?: A Close Look at the Curse against Heretics

R. Elie Kaunfer

Who is the mysterious author of the 19th blessing of the Amidah, the curse against heretics? By examining other stories involving this character, we will paint a picture of this liturgical innovator and arrive at new understandings of this controversial prayer.

Gracious Wisdom: What Knowledge Are we Praying For? (Honen HaDa'at)

R. Elie Kaunfer

The first blessing of the request section of the Amidah is a compact mystery. What kind of knowledge are we praying for? What are some of the textual references here that can help us understand this prayer? We will read this blessing closely and explore these and other questions together.

Looking for Prayer in all the Wrong Places

R. Aviva Richman

Who was the first person to pray? Why did they pray, and what was the nature and purpose of their prayer? As we trace our origin stories in Bereshit, there is a striking lack of prayer where we might have expected it. Adam, Noah and Avraham hardly utter a word of a prayer. At the Akedah (binding of Isaac), one of the most intense religious experiences, there is not one word of prayer. We'll probe more deeply for the roots of prayer, in the Torah itself and in midrash. As we discover perhaps unexpected beginnings for the practice of prayer in our tradition, we'll also look for unexpected places for prayer in our own lives.

Lulav haYavesh: On Beauty and Aging

R. Aviva Richman

The third chapter of tractate Sukkah discusses ethics and aesthetics of the four species, including extensive discussion of the "dried lulav.". While it is possible to find these details somewhat "dry," so to speak, we will take this sugya as an opportunity to reflect on beauty and age. Through careful analysis of the passage using both traditional commentaries and critical methods, and intertexts in halakhah and aggadah, we will seek dynamic approaches to defining beauty, for the lulav, the etrog and our own human selves.

Which Seeing, Whose Eye? Mar’it ‘Ayin as a Meaningful Religious Idea

R. Micha’el Rosenberg

The concept of mar‘it ‘ayin–the idea that something might be fundamentally permissible, but forbidden because it looks wrong–sometimes gets a bad rap. In this shiur, we will learn foundational sources about mar’it ‘ayin as well as later commentators wrestling with its potential internal contradictions. In the process, we will come to a more nuanced understanding of the various concerns at play and how attending to them can deepen our religious/ethical consciousness.

Righteous Anger, Useful Anger

R. Micha’el Rosenberg

Can anger be righteous? What would make it so? In this shiur, we'll learn a sugya from Tractate Shabbat about destroying clothing in a fit of rage and read it in conversation with recent feminist reassessments of anger. In particular, we'll read the passage in conversation with the work of philosopher Amia Srinivasan, looking both for points of agreement, as well as for how Rabbinic thought can push contemporary thinking and vice versa.

The Audacity of Faith

R. Avi Strausberg

Faith by definition is required at the very moment when we are in doubt, unable to see our way forward. What do we do when in the moments when we most need our faith, we find ourselves at a loss, unable to say, I believe? In this session, we'll turn to the writings of Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, the Eish Kodesh, writing from the Warsaw Ghetto, for his teachings on faith. We'll ask: what is the nature of faith, what do we do when we find ourselves without it, and on whom or what might we rely in moments of struggle?

Created in the Image of God: We Build and We Destroy

R. Avi Strausberg

In the session, we'll dive into the ethical writings of the Alter of Slobodka, Rabbi Natan Zvi Finkel, and explore the multiple nuanced understandings of what it means to be created in B'tzelem Elokim. Amidst the rise and fall of Jewish communities, as well as our own individual triumphs and failures, R. Finkel offers a profound reading of the power and responsibility of human beings to create and destroy worlds.

Empathy and Imagination: Can we really understand the pain of others?

Dena Weiss

One of the challenges we face living in community - from our one on one relationships to our home communities and the larger world beyond, is our constant exposure to and awareness of the pain and suffering of others. In this class we'll explore the concept of empathy through the work of two contemporaries who lived across the globe from one another: the Sefat Emet in Poland, a central Hassidic thinker and the Ben Ish Hai in Iraq, one of the greatest Sephardic jurists. We'll discuss whether or not true empathy is necessary or even possible and challenge ourselves to think more deeply about what it means to try to understand another person and their experiences.

Internal Rest: Shabbat in the thought of the Me'or Einayim

Dena Weiss

The laws of Shabbat govern the physical world, how we can and cannot manipulate our external environment. But the spiritual goals of shabbat are not about external transformation; they are about who we are and who we want to be. In this class, we'll explore the Me'or Einayim's theological interpretation of Shabbat and see how looking at Shabbat from God's perspective can transform our internal observance of Shabbat. We'll engage with the questions of what it means to truly keep Shabbat as an internal and personal practice and the way that relates to our growth during the week as well.

Registration Fee


The cost of the in-person program is $600. Tuition includes access to the full range of programming, daily breakfast and lunch, and dinner when programming runs into the evening. Payment for this program will go towards program materials, food, and making sure that our staff and faculty are adequately compensated for their time.

We also believe that finances should not be an obstacle to participation and want to make sure that all who wish to learn with use will be able to. Therefore, we are glad to offer the intensive at a reduced rate of $450. Please don’t hesitate to contact [email protected] or Rabbi Shai Held at [email protected] to request further financial assistance.




Is it for me?

If you are a rabbi who loves to learn Torah and engage in Jewish content and conversation, then this program is for you! We offer classes on a variety of topics for a range of backgrounds. If you have any questions about whether this is the right program for you, please reach out to us at [email protected].

What is it like in Hadar’s Beit Midrash?

See here for some frequently asked questions about what it’s like to study in Hadar’s Beit Midrash.

When is it?

March 12-15, 2023

Where is it?

Yeshivat Hadar- housed at West End Synagogue, 190 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10023

How much does it cost?

The cost of this program is $600. Tuition includes access to the full range of programming, daily breakfast and lunch and dinner when programming runs into the evening. We are also offering the Intensive at a reduced rate of $450. Please don’t hesitate to contact [email protected] or Rabbi Shai Held at [email protected] to request further financial assistance.

Can I attend part-time?

Hadar’s immersive programs are opportunities to step out of your day-to-day routine and immerse yourself in islands of Jewish content and conversation. We strongly encourage all participants to attend the totality of our programs. If you have an extenuating circumstance that prevents you from participating, please write to us at [email protected].

I have more questions! How can I find out more?

Please reach out to [email protected] with any additional questions.