Frequently Asked Questions
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Yeshivat Hadar's application has three parts: a letter of reference, a written application, and an interview. The first two can be found here, and can be completed in either order.
Applications are evaluated on a rolling basis (through April 1 for summer application; July 1 for year applications). Within a month of the submission of your application, you will be informed about whether you have been granted an interview. Generally, admissions decisions will be communicated within a month of your interview.
Below you'll find the schedule for summer and year programs in 2014. While upcoming sessions won't be identical to these, they will be quite similar:
The summer beit midrash is an eight-week whirlwind. About forty students come together for an experience—one built of Torah, ideas, and conversation—that will ultimately shape and elevate your expectations of what’s possible within Jewish community. Students come from a wide diversity of backgrounds, some who’ve long known that Hadar is exactly what they’ve been looking for, others curious and exploring—but by no means committed to halakhic egalitarian life after the summer. Part of the energy of the summer is the coming-together of very different kinds of people in the matrix of Torah and mitzvot.
The year program is a leadership development program: it deepens an already-present passion for Torah and mitzvot with fuller experiences and concrete skills that will help students create the empowered, lay-led, and dynamic communities they have come to expect. Over the course of eight months of the academic year, students write and deliver divrei Torah under the guidance of Hadar’s faculty; develop and teach classes to their peers—again in consultation with their teachers. Generally, this means that students studying at Hadar for the year have significant experience living an observant life, and expect to continue doing so.
Yeshivat Hadar is committed to the integration of Torah and mitzvot in daily life. Students in the full-time program create religious community by participating in all of the yeshiva's tefillot (prayer services), shiurim (classes), and hesed projects as well as by being shomrei mitzvot (observant of mitzvot). The latter includes Shabbat, kashrut, respect for others’ dignity, etc. We are committed to the multiple traditionally authentic expressions of each of these, and embrace these standards. Hadar is a normative, but non-coercive, environment: we aim to set standards that bind the community together and allow students and faculty to trust one another and discuss the questions they face in the shared language of halakhah. Out of respect for our students and ourselves, we do not act as religious police who seek to discover non-conformance. The yeshiva accepts students from all backgrounds and patterns of observance, honoring each student's religious journey and making no assumptions about religious commitment prior to one’s time in the yeshiva. While the yeshiva hopes its students will exemplify the vision of observant egalitarian life modeled here, we have no formal expectations or requirements regarding one's ultimate religious journey.
Yeshivat Hadar’s students span from those who have spent multiple years in post-college yeshivot and midrashot to people who can read the bulk of the siddur for comprehension. Below this level of Hebrew proficiency, the weight of the language is simply too great to engage in all-day learning and tefillah. For Talmud classes, students are grouped by level; for afternoon classes, materials are available in both Hebrew and English. These requirements describe our fellowship programs that feature Talmud study as their central component. Our shorter term programs, like Manger Winter Learning Seminar and Singing Communities Intensive, are designed to be accessible to students of every background.
Classes and tefillot at Hadar are open to students of all religious backgrounds and identities. At the same time, full participation in Hadar’s fellowship programs—and public participation in Hadar's tefillot—requires that students bear a solely Jewish religious identity, and Jewish status conferred either by matrilineal descent or by conversion involving immersion and beit din for both women and men, and circumcision for men. We are aware that the above does not describe everyone drawn to study at Hadar, and further that questions of personal status are uniquely diverse and sensitive. As such, we invite inquiries to further discuss questions, both personal and abstract, which should be directed to Rabbi Aviva Richman.
Full-time students, in recognition of their significant investment in building the Hadar community, attend Hadar tuition-free and are additionally provided breakfast and lunch during the summer program.
In addition, funding of up to $2,500 is available for the summer: All students accepted to the full-time summer program will be eligible for a housing grant in the amount of $1,500 provided that they do not have access to free or low-cost housing in New York City and that studying at Hadar would be a significant financial hardship without this grant. Additionally, Hadar offers several fellowships in the amount of $1,000 to summer students who are deeply committed to Hadar's vision of Torah, Avodah and Hesed lived out by observant Jewish communities, where all, irrespective of gender, are full citizens and leaders. These fellowships are independent of the housing grant: a student could receive one, the other, both, or neither. Eligible students will either have demonstrated leadership in these areas in North America and/or Israel, and/or see their studies at Hadar as an opportunity to enhance their future contributions to these values and the communities that embody them as lay leaders. These fellowships are not available to those currently preparing for professional leadership in the Jewish community. Please note that these fellowships are selective and we cannot always extend fellowships to everyone who meets these criteria.
Full-time students, in recognition of their significant investment in building the Hadar community, attend Hadar tuition-free and are additionally provided breakfast and lunch during the year. Further, students enrolled in the full program receive a $2,000 monthly living stipend.
Hadar is not an accredited educational institution, and as such we do not offer degrees. As a result, most students will have to begin repaying student loans while studying at Hadar. One exception to this is students pursuing graduate Jewish studies for whom their time at Hadar is a supplement to their graduate education. College credit is available for specific classes, to individuals matriculated in a college or university.
Hadar’s curriculum includes Talmud, Jewish thought, Tanakh, and Halakhah. The exact balance of these varies from one session to another, though Talmud is always four mornings weekly. All classes other than Talmud are electives, and students have the choice of going to them or pursuing their own studies—ideally in havruta—during that time.
Hadar students find their own housing for the duration of the program. Hadar does aid students in finding housing by connecting them with housing opportunities. Although the process of finding housing is rarely pleasant, it has never prevented a student from joining us. We are happy to provide vegetarian breakfast and lunch most days of the week. We have some capacity to accommodate dietary restrictions and allergies, and will do our best to do so.
Yeshivat Hadar welcomes future Rabbis or Jewish educational professionals to learn in our beit midrash and encourages them to enroll in classes at the yeshiva. (Your home rabbinical seminary or Jewish educational institution may be willing to help defray some of the costs). Rabbinical and Jewish Education students may choose to apply to be full-time students in our immersive program. If you feel that you could be a force for Yeshivat Hadar's vision in your professional future and are interested in being a full participant in the summer session, please fill out the application. As a full-time student, you will be a fully integrated member of the student community and will be expected to participate fully in all aspects of life at the yeshiva. Accepted students will receive tuition remission.
Yes. Hadar is an open place where the vast majority of programs and events are open to the public—and especially to your friends and family. Before inviting someone to a class (or dropping in yourself, if you’re not a student), please obtain the teacher’s permission.
Foreign students who are not US citizens should first inquire about receiving a tourist visa to visit the United States that extends beyond the conclusion of the Hadar session you are joining. If that is not possible, Hadar can lend assistance in obtaining a visa to cover your time here, though we cannot guarantee the success of the application, which depends on factors outside of our control.
We're glad that you asked. Just over a year ago, we began composting organic materials generated through our programming. Mostly this means any food scraps from meals, but during our higher-volume programs, this also means we compost our paper cups and plates and napkins. Recently, we were awarded a Hazon mini-grant to purchase high welfare certified humane eggs, and high welfare meat! We're always looking for more that we can do, and if you have any suggestions please be in touch with us at [email protected].
We are happy to answer any questions—please write Rabbi Aviva Richman ([email protected]).