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How to Start Your Own Beit Midrash

Overview: Conceive of your Beit Midrash as an egalitarian learning experience where all individuals, regardless of their level of knowledge and learning styles, are welcomed and encouraged to actively encounter the text.

Theme: Themes can range from love in our tradition to medical ethics to war and peace. It’s best to study a variety of classical and modern Jewish texts pertaining to the selected theme. Alternatively, the Beit Midrash can be focused on a specific text, such as Mishkan T’filah (the new Reform prayer book), a tractate of Talmud, or a book of the Bible. Each session might begin with a short teaching from a master teacher on the chosen topic, the text, or the time period of the topic.

Chevruta Study: Chevruta study is usually done in pairs, with the participants sitting face-to-face across a table. If your group is mostly comprised of individuals who are just beginning the process of text study and who might find the traditional chevruta system daunting, set up round tables with six to eight chairs and assign a facilitator at each table to guide the discussion and study along with the participants.

For more information contact

- Rabbi Joan Glazer Farber, R.J.E.
URJ Adult Learning Director


Union for Reform Judaism.