Pre-Shavuot Retreat

Pardes Beit Midrash B’Darom is Going Virtual!

Join us in May for a Pre-Shavuot Virtual Yom Iyun (Day of Learning) with online sessions led by Pardes scholars and Ramah Darom educators from all over the United States and Israel.

Stay tuned for more information.

Ramah Darom and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies have joined forces to bring you this one of a kind immersive learning retreat. Together (virtually), we will study Holy Relations: Exploring Our Spiritual Identity. We will examine the current state of our relationships with the Divine, what it means to inhabit holiness and how to own our spiritual identities and more.

About This Year's Theme

Holy Relationships: Exploring Our Spiritual Identity

The chag (holiday) of Shavuot is the celebration of the Jewish People receiving the Torah and entering into a sacred covenant with God. Our texts say that three thousand years ago, at that time in our nation’s history, God’s hand could be seen and felt in the everyday lives and ultimate destiny of the Jewish People (even if not always appreciated). But what exactly is the nature of our relationship with the Divine today, when our connection is less tangible and certainly less agreed-upon? Join us this Shavuot as we examine what it means to inhabit a holy relationship, and to own our spiritual identities.

We will cover topics such as:

  • Tzelem Elokim – crafting a spiritual image
  • Tefilah (prayer) and other means of accessing a sacred connection
  • The God of Torah & The God of Today
  • Is God necessary for leading a holy life
Pardes Faculty

Below are just a few of the incredible educators who will be leading virtual sessions.

Rabbi Meir SchweigerRabbi Meir Schweiger teaches Chumash, Parshat HaShavua, Mishna, Talmud, Halakha, Siddur, and Interpersonal Relations at Pardes. Meir made aliyah in 1972 from the Bronx, NY, immediately after graduating from City College in New York. He did his advanced Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University, Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh, and Yeshivat Har Etzion, receiving ordination from Rabbi Zalman Nehemiah Goldberg of Jerusalem. He received his M.Ed in Teaching Bible from the Herzog College in Gush Etzion. Meir has also taught Talmud and Bible at the Shapell College of Jewish Studies, Michlala, Nishmat and Beit Midrash L’torah. Since 1977, he has been a full-time faculty member at Pardes and has taught more hours and classes than anyone else on the staff. In addition to teaching, Meir has been responsible for the “affective” side of Pardes, coordinating and supervising tefillot (prayer), tiyulim (hikes), shabbatonim, and pre-holiday yemei iyun (full-day study programs). His official title is Mashgiach Ruhani (Director of Religious Life), which reflects the impact he has had on the personal and spiritual growth of many of our students. For 10 years, Meir was the Director of the Pardes Fellows’ Program, for returning, 2nd-year students, and the Educational Director of the Executive Learning Seminar. For three years, Meir was the mainstay of Pardes’ podcast series on the weekly Torah portion, and he has over 200 recordings online.

Dr. Ziva R. Hassenfeld was recently appointed the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Assistant Professor of Jewish Education at Brandeis University. Her research focuses on the tools and reading strategies young children employ when reading sacred texts, as well as the pedagogies teachers use to support student textual interpretation, fluency and comprehension. Ziva came to the Mandel Center after earning her doctorate from Stanford University in Education and Jewish Studies. Her dissertation is Transmission and Interpretive Facilitation: Teaching Hebrew Bible in Jewish Elementary Schools. Her research has been published widely in academic journals and popular media. In addition to her research, Ziva is a passionate educator. She has taught Tanakh in a variety of settings, including at Gann Academy, Genesis/BIMA at Brandeis, Silicon Valley Beit Midrash, Stanford Hillel, Congregation Beth Jacobs, and Congregation Emek Beracha. While a doctoral student, Ziva served as a teaching assistant for the Graduate School of Education’s Pro Seminar and an instructor for the Stanford Teacher Education Preparatory Program. She is a Wexner Fellow and Davidson Scholar, Class 25.

Aviva Lauer Golbert is the Director of the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators (PCJE). She majored in Jewish Studies at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women, and earned a Masters degree in Midrash at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies. Aviva is a Jewish educator with over twenty years of experience in curriculum development, classroom teaching, school administration and educational consulting. Upon making Aliyah in 1996, Aviva developed formal and informal educational materials for Melitz and at the Leo Baeck Education Center, where she also gained experience in teaching pluralistic Judaism. She then served as the head of the department of Jewish Studies at Immanuel College, London. Working at the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators since 2009, Aviva has been a teaching coach, director of recruitment, director of the Summer Curriculum Workshop, and Assistant Director of PCJE before taking on her current role in 2017.

Rabba Shani Gross is the Director of North American Programs at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. Shani most recently served as Pardes’s Assistant Director of Education NA. Shani earned rabbinic ordination from Yeshivat Maharat, is a Wexner Graduate Fellow/Davidson Scholar (Class 29), and a former Hillel Fellow for Rabbinic Entrepreneurship (OOI). Shani was the Director of the Silicon Valley Beit Midrash, a center of learning on the West Coast that empowers Jewish people of all backgrounds to study classic Jewish texts in a pluralistic, warm and intellectually challenging environment. When not teaching, Shani can usually be found with her husband Chaim, chasing after their two beautiful sons, Elan and Navon.

About Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies

Pardes is an open, co-ed and non-denominational Jewish learning community, based in Jerusalem and with programs worldwide.

Students encounter and grapple with classic texts and traditions of Judaism while exploring their relevance to today’s most pressing issues.

Pardes empowers students with the knowledge and tools to take ownership of their Jewish experience.

Diversity is at the core of Pardes and students represent a broad spectrum of the Jewish world. The result is a vibrant community constantly engaged in honest, dynamic and constructive debate leading to serious personal reflection and growth.

Why Pardes? Click here for a flash of inspiration from our Beit Midrash.

“Ramah Darom and Pardes are the two institutions that made me the Jew I am today. These are the institutions that propelled me toward rabbinical school. They are the institutions I hope my kids are someday involved with. I met my wife at Pardes, and I made my closest friends at Ramah Darom. I fell in love with Judaism at Ramah Darom, and expanded that love in the Pardes beit midrash. The fact that it took Pardes to bring me back to Ramah, and Ramah to bring me back to Pardes is, for me and my wife, almost poetic.” -Rabbi Sam Rotenberg, Los Angeles


Rebecca Guttman
Guest Relations
Phone: (404) 531-0801 Ext. 9215