The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies

About the Institute

Schechter’s Graduate School remains the only academic institution in Israel devoted primarily to the teaching of Jewish Studies. Through its multiple tracks, the Graduate School provides cutting-edge educational opportunities for professionals who seek meaning in their Jewish identity through interdisciplinary study, and are looking for the highest academic standard. Together, the School’s students and graduates form a network of highly motivated individuals throughout Israel. They are agents of change, influencing Israeli society as it forges a new increasingly diverse, multicultural, and pluralistic identity.

Contact Us

4 Avraham Granot st., Jerusalem, Israel
+972-74-7800600
Students
Faculty members
SIJS Graduates
Courses

M.A. Tracks and Programs

The Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies offers Israel’s largest MA program in the field. Students can choose from the following tracks:

  • Jerusalem and Israel Studies
  • Judaism and the Arts
  • Gender and Feminist Studies
  • Jewish Music
  • Bible
  • Jewish Thought
  • Midrash and Aggadah
  • Talmud and Halacha
  • Jews of Spain and Islamic Lands (Sephardic Studies)
  • Israel Studies and History of Zionism
  • Jewish History

Our students can major also in these special programs:

The Maccabi M.A. Community Leadership Program
Offers hands-on leadership training for community center and nonprofit professionals, integrating Jewish values and content into their programs and organizations. Maccabi (acronym for Community Leadership in the Jewish Spirit) attracts community activists from around the country, combining Jewish studies with practical tools for building strong community-based professional leadership.

Marpeh Spiritual Care
Is based on Jewish values such as bikkur holim (visiting the sick) gemilut hasadim (deeds of loving-kindness), and grounded in Jewish tradition. Students, including educators, clergy, and health care professionals offer solace and support to people across a wide spectrum of ages, religious backgrounds and cognitive capacities, both in cities and in rural areas. Clients served include Jews and non-Jews, hospital patients and their families, patients in hospice, the frail elderly, Holocaust survivors, Russian immigrants, children with special needs and their parents and many more.

Bible and Society
Designed in coordination with Israel’s Ministry of Education, aims to reverse the trend of declining Bible studies in Israel’s public schools. It offers an attractive interdisciplinary curriculum alongside generous scholarships. Additionally, a robust yearly 9-part Bible study series of lectures and guided tours showcases some of Israel’s leading literary and academic figures.

Judaism and the Arts M.A. program, “Informed Creations” 
Provides an academic platform where Jewish traditional texts meet Israeli contemporary culture in the plastic arts, music and dance. Offered in conjunction with HaKubia Art School, this program combines theory and practice in a dynamic, interdisciplinary curriculum. Schechter faculty present the philosophical, historical and religious underpinnings of Jewish art and the creative process alongside experts in sculpture, drawing, painting, ceramics who provide hands-on workshops.

Research Groups

Zion and the Diaspora in the Past, Present and Future:
Social, Cultural and Educational Aspects

Zion and the Diaspora in the Past, Present and Future: Social, Cultural and Educational Aspects is a joint interdisciplinary research project and think tank, headed by Schechter’s Prof. Yossi Turner and comprised of the highest level of scholars and intellectuals from Israel and the Diaspora. It meets a number of times a year.

The Center for Women in Jewish Law

The Center for Women in Jewish Law has been devoted to researching, publishing and educating the public on the rights of women from the perspective of the Jewish legal tradition. Its publications, including the seven-issue Hebrew-English Jewish Law Watch, and its magnum opus Za’akat Dalot (The Cry of the Wretched): Halakhic Solutions for the Agunot of our Time, has advanced Jewish law advocacy research in the area of agunot (women whose husbands refuse them a writ of divorce). The Center has also published The Status of Women in Jewish Law: Responsa (in Hebrew and English editions), and a series of booklets, To Learn and To Teach (in five languages), which provides a religious/legal basis for egalitarianism within Jewish tradition. Newest publications include Ask the Rabbi, a collection of responsa written by two women rabbis and Taking the Plunge: A Practical and Spiritual Guide to the MikvehAll books may be purchased online at the Schechter Catalog.

The Center for Judaism and the Arts

The Center for Judaism and the Arts enriches the culture of Jewish life in Israel. Its central educational initiative is the TALI Virtual Midrash website, an electronic collection of fine and folk Art on Biblical themes that has uploaded over 900 images related to Biblical subjects and catalogued them in English and Hebrew, with cross reference search capabilities by artist, theme, time period and topical essays. The site was created by Schechter faculty member Dr. Jo Milgrom and by Dr. Joel Duman.

The Institute of Applied Halakhah

The Institute of Applied Halakhah was founded in 1997 in order to create a library of halakhic literature in Hebrew, English, Russian and other languages to help foster the study and observance of halakhah. The Institute publishes responsa, bibliographies, guides to practical halakhah, and books on the philosophy of Jewish law, and also hosts a website in Hebrew and English, Responsa for Today. The Institute’s books can be purchased here.

 

The Midrash Project

The Midrash Project at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies is publishing a series of books on midrash, including critical editions of at least eight midrashim. The series is edited by Profs. David Golinkin and Shamma Friedman. Each critical edition presents the midrash based on the best manuscript, and includes selected variant readings, reference to parallel sources in Rabbinic literature, and a critical commentary.

Leadership

Board of Trustees Executive Committee

  • Jonathan Steinberg, Chair, Executive Committee
  • Shmuel Shemesh, Treasurer
  • Prof. Doron Bar
  • Sophie Fellman
  • Esther Ordan
  • Avi Porten
  • Rabbi Benjamin Segal
  • Moshe Sharashove
  • Yaacov Tsur
  • Adir Waldman
  • Eliezer Yaari

Trustees

  • Saul Sanders, Chair, USA
  • Colette Avital, Israel
  • Dr. David Breakstone, Israel
  • Dr. Zvi Gabbay, Israel
  • Prof. David Golinkin, Israel
  • Prof. Ed Greenstein, Israel
  • Gavriel Hassin, Israel
  • Rabbi Alan Iser, USA
  • Ilana Laderman-Mushkin, Israel
  • Claudio Pincus, USA
  • Barry Rifkin, Israel
  • Laurence Sassi, Israel
  • Prof. Shuly Schwartz, USA
  • Eli Zahav, Israel

Honorary Trustees

  • Prof. Jehuda Reinharz
  • Robert Rifkind
  • Prof. Ismar Schorsch
  • Prof. Alice Shalvi

Ex Officio

  • Eitan Cooper, Executive Vice President
  • Dr. Tamar Kadari, Dean

* Ex-officio
** Honorary member

Events

Prof. Doron Bar

President

Our students and graduates form a strong country-wide network. Active, intellectually curious, community minded, they are agents of change who influence Israeli society as it forges an increasingly diverse, multicultural, and pluralistic identity.

Dr. Tamar Kadari

Dean

Studying at Schechter is also a way, from the academic perspective, to connect people to their roots. There is a deep thirst for learning Judaism, it draws people back to their grandparents, their roots. Students are looking for connection and they find us. And by offering rich academic knowledge of Jewish history and culture, we help them find themselves.

Yael Segev

Principal and educator in Ofakim for 44 years, today Deputy Mayor of Ofakim; Schechter M.A. graduate in Jewish Women’s Studies

At Schechter, we learned about the different streams in Judaism. This is where religious pluralism came to life for me. I also realized how crucial it is to build a strong Jewish identity curriculum within our school, especially for the many students who came from the FSU, where they had little or no Jewish background.

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