Yeshivat Hadar Advanced Kollel
The Yeshivat Hadar Advanced Kollel is a four-year rabbinic training program that engages students in central areas of Talmud, Halakhah, and Jewish Thought, with significant additional investment in the areas of Tanakh, Midrash, and Parshanut.
The Advanced Kollel trains future Jewish leaders who are:
- Learned in Jewish texts and tradition
- Committed to teaching Torah with intellectual rigor and emotional depth
- Dedicated to a covenantal vision of Judaism
- Egalitarian in outlook and committed to the full citizenship of all adult Jews
- Unafraid to engage in conversations about God, theology, and belief
- Fluent in Hebrew and deeply invested in Israeli society and culture
The curriculum of the Yeshivat Hadar Advanced Kollel is comprised of three key areas: Talmud and Halakhah, Jewish Thought, Tanakh, Midrash, and Parshanut, and Leadership Training.
Talmud and Halakhah
The Talmud and Halakhah curriculum focuses on in-depth coverage of key areas of Jewish law and practice, reflecting aspects of a traditional rabbinic semikhah curriculum and of religious practice in the contemporary world. In addition to mastering content, students build the skills to access the full canon of halakhic literature. The curriculum emphasizes historical thinking—the identification of strata in the Talmudic text and the progression of ideas over subsequent centuries of halakhic literature—as well as attention to the underlying values driving halakhah as we think about its application to our contemporary lives. Students take written exams that match the standard and format of those administered by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
The Jewish Thought curriculum focuses on key aspects of rabbinic thought that are essential for contemporary religious leadership. Students study a curated set of core texts spanning the Jewish canon, beginning with the Bible, proceeding through ancient, medieval and modern rabbinic sources, supplemented by key contemporary thinkers.
Tanakh, Midrash, and Parshanut
The Tanakh, Midrash, and Parshanut curriculum focuses on developing fluency in and appreciation of these fields. Students take on guided, independent learning projects in this area, such as completing all of VaYikrah Rabbah or the Ramban’s commentary on the Torah. Throughout the year, afternoon time and full weeks of intensive study are set aside for topics in Tanakh, such as exploring the different approaches of medieval and modern biblical commentators, reading biblical poetry for accuracy and insight, and understanding megillot and other essential pieces of the liturgical year.
Students in the Yeshivat Hadar Advanced Kollel will be the outstanding future leaders of the Jewish community. As such, leadership skills are fully integrated into their learning, with the following applications:
- Weekly rabbinic seminar on critical leadership topics. These sessions engage both Hadar faculty and guest speakers on topics such as effective communal leadership and organizing, pastoral challenges and strategies, contemporary challenges in the Jewish community, and effective pedagogy.
- Mentorship with Hadar faculty. Each student has regular one-on-one meetings with Hadar faculty members, with whom they cultivate close personal relationships. These meetings are devoted to developing a personal leadership vision, working on challenges, and sharing wisdom from years of experience in the field.
- Apprentice Teaching at Hadar programs. Advanced Kollel students teach electives in a wide range of Hadar public programming, serving as role models and social and religious guides for the visiting participants.
Rabbi Aviva Richman is a Rosh Yeshiva at Hadar, and has been on the faculty since 2010. A graduate of Oberlin College, she studied in the Pardes Kollel and the Drisha Scholars' Circle and was ordained by Rabbi Danny Landes. She completed a doctorate in Talmud at NYU. Interests include Talmud, Halakhah, Midrash and gender, and also a healthy dose of niggunim.
Rabbi Micha'el Rosenberg is faculty at Hadar. He received rabbinic ordination both from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and from his teacher, Rav Elisha Ancselovits. He also holds a PhD in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Micha’el has served as associate professor of rabbinics at Hebrew College, and as the rabbi of the Fort Tryon Jewish Center in Washington Heights. He is the author of Signs of Virginity: Testing Virgins and Making Men in Late Antiquity (Oxford University Press, 2018), and with Rabbi Ethan Tucker, he is the co-author of Gender Equality and Prayer in Jewish Law (Ktav, 2017).
Rabbi Ethan Tucker is President and Rosh Yeshiva at Hadar and chair in Jewish Law. Ethan also directs Hadar’s Center for Jewish Law and Values. Ethan was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and earned a doctorate in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary and a B.A. from Harvard College. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, he was a co-founder of Kehilat Hadar and a winner of the first Grinspoon Foundation Social Entrepreneur Fellowship. He is the author, along with Rabbi Micha'el Rosenberg, of Gender Equality and Prayer in Jewish Law (2017). Ethan serves as a trustee of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.
The Hadar Advanced Kollel also receives instruction from faculty across the institution. You can learn more about their instructors on our faculty page.
The first cohort of the Yeshivat Hadar Advanced Kollel will be ordained with semikah by Hadar faculty in Spring/Summer 2023.
Matthew Anisfeld is in his final year of the Hadar Advanced Kollel. Prior to joining the Kollel, he spent time in Israel learning at Yeshivat Ma’ale Gilboa and the Pardes Kollel. Before he moved to Israel, Matthew worked in the U.K. as a community organiser and choral musician. Matthew has an MA in Legal and Political Philosophy from University College London.
Hannah Kapnik Ashar is a member of Hadar's Advanced Kollel, studying midrash, tefilah, and halacha. In her learning, Hannah has an eye toward images of the feminine, emotion, and the mechanisms for flourishing that sparkle throughout halachic literature. She is a faculty member on the Bronfman Fellowship, a birth doula, and a fellow in the Center for Rabbinic Innovation's Fellowship for Rabbinic Entrepreneurs. Hannah served as the Associate Spiritual Leader of Congregation Bonai Shalom, in Boulder, Colorado and co-founded The Tefilah Retreat, a weekend of Jewish spiritual practice for young adults. Hannah lives with her family in Denver, Colorado.
Shira Botzum (she/her) is in her third year of the Advanced Kollel. She holds a BA and MA in Talmud and Rabbinics from JTS and a BA in Political Science from Columbia University, and has studied Torah at the Pardes and Drisha Institutes. Shira is passionate about feminist modes of learning and teaching Torah and has taught and served in tefillah leadership roles at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center, and the Fort Tryon Jewish Center. Shira has helped Jews of diverse backgrounds meaningfully connect to Judaism and Jewish texts, including building educational and social programs for Jewish young adults as a Machar Fellow at the YM&WHA of Washington Heights and as an iEngage Intern at the Hartman Institute. She has also held fellowships through the Nachshon Project and Yeshivat Hadar. Shira lives in Manhattan with her spouse, Jonathan, and their dog, Noodles.
Vincent Calabrerse grew up in Austin, Texas. A scholar of modern Jewish thought, he holds a PhD from the University of Toronto (where his research focused on the theologian Michael Wyschogrod), and in 2019 was the winner of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College's Whizin Prize in Jewish Ethics. His writing on Jewish thought and politics has appeared in a number of outlets, including Tikkun, Haaretz, 929 English, and Religious Socialism. An experienced ba'al tefilah, he has led services for the High Holidays at a variety of congregations in the United States and Canada.
Avigayil Halpern (she/her) is studying toward rabbinic ordination as a member of Hadar's Advanced Kollel. She has taught Torah in spaces including the Drisha Institute, Hunter Hillel and Brandeis Hillel, and the Kreuzberg Kollel (now Ze Kollel) and holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Yale University. She currently serves as the Cooperberg-Rittmaster Pastoral and Educational Intern at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. Avigayil has completed a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education at New York Presbyterian/Columbia, is trained as a Mikveh Guide through Rising Tide, the national network of community mikvaot, and has participated in Faith Matters' Movement Chaplaincy Training. She has written on issues of Judaism and gender in Jewish and other media and is currently writing a weekly dvar Torah on the parsha incorporating queer and feminist insights through her newsletter, Approaching (avigayil.substack.com). Avigayil was selected as one of the New York Jewish Week's "36 Under 36" in 2021.
Yael Jaffe (she/her) is in her fourth and final year of the Advanced Kollel. She has taught Torah and led tefillah in a variety of communities across the US and UK, including New North London Synagogue and the Conservative Synagogue of Fifth Avenue, as well as for Limmud UK and Hillel International. Yael graduated from Brandeis University in 2018 with a B.A. in Jewish Studies, Gender Studies, and Sociology, and has previously studied Torah at Midreshet Lindenbaum, Drisha, Pardes, and the Hartman Institute. She is currently a Jewish Innovation Fellow at the 92nd Street Y, and is training in community organizing through JOIN for Justice’s cross-seminary course. Yael and her husband BZ divide their time between New York and the UK.
Beth Levy is in her final year of the Hadar Kollel. She studied in Jerusalem for two years before joining the Kollel. She grew up in London and has a degree in Jewish History from UCL. She now lives in Jerusalem where she teaches Gemara and Halakha.
Miriam Lichtenberg is in her third year of semikha studies at Hadar’s Advanced Kollel. Alongside her rigorous Torah studies, Miriam is passionate about youth education, and currently develops curriculum for and teaches Hadar’s bi-weekly Kids Mishnah Club. Miriam also works for Romemu Brooklyn as their B-Mitzvah Educator, designing and executing bi-monthly programming dedicated to enriching the Bar/bat mitzvah process . She is active in her Crown Heights Community, serving on the gabbai and ritual team of her local minyan, and served as the Rabbi-in-training for the conservative minyan at Brown Hillel’s high holiday services. Miriam earned a BA in History from Barnard College and is currently a Nachshon Graduate Fellow.
Akiva Mattenson has taught Torah to Jews of all ages and experiences in settings including the Orot Center for New Jewish Learning, Limmud North America, the University of Chicago Hillel, and many classes at Hadar. Akiva holds a BA in Philosophy from DePaul University, where he received the Excellence in Philosophy Award. Akiva has written and taught extensively on Jewish philosophy; his paper “Out Beyond the Sea: A Theology of Divine Absence” was awarded the Ateret Zvi Prize in Hiddushei Torah. Akiva has also led tefillah, including for the High Holidays, in several diverse Jewish communities.
Jamie Weisbach (he/him) is a member of Hadar’s Advanced Kollel. Jamie studied English, Theater and Religion at Bowdoin College and has studied Torah, Gemara, and Halakha at The Conservative Yeshiva, SVARA, Drisha, and Hadar. He is also a member of the steering committee for the Trans Halakha Project and has taught Torah in a variety of settings in New York City, Chicago, and beyond. He is an active member of the Fort Tryon Jewish Center, where he chairs the ritual committee. A Chicago native, Jamie now lives in upper Manhattan with his husband, Amram; their two cats, Perle and Herschel; and an ever-growing collection of books.