About Midreshet Torah V’Avodah
Midreshet Torah v’Avodah is an innovative Bnei Akiva midrasha for highly motivated high school graduates. It is the first midrasha to offer a truly integrated experience. In one incredible year, you will experience life-changing growth in your connection to Torah, to the Jewish people, and to the land and State of Israel. You will have the opportunity to learn from the most impressive educators in the world, developing deep relationships that will stay with you for life.
TVA’s path-breaking model allows you to expand and broaden every aspect of who you are as a member of Am Yisrael in Medinat Yisrael through the lens of Torat Eretz Yisrael. You will experience our pioneering Leadership programming, which allows you to explore pivotal issues facing the future of the Jewish people. MTVA opens you up to Eretz Yisrael and Am Yisrael through targeted internships, volunteering and service learning, living and working on Kibbutz, and exciting tiyulim throughout the year. All of these experiences will be infused with intensive Torah learning while living in apartments in the best and most central location in Jerusalem.
The heart of MTVA is its dynamic Beit Midrash, where you will interact with an incredible faculty, who combine warmth and high-level Torah education. We believe strongly in providing the a holistic educational environment, combining a top-notch learning program and a supportive religious environment. Our Beit Midrash encourages students to develop their Jewish identity and a deeper commitment to Torah and Mitzvot. We believe that the best students should learn with the most elite teachers in the world in a broad and integrative manner. Whether it is a Gemara shiur from Rabbanit Shani Taragin, Rabbanit Nechama Barash, or Rabbi Alan Haber, a Tanach shiur from Rabbi Menachem Leibtag, a Halakha shiur from Rabbanit Michal Jacob or Rabbi Aaron Bayer, a Tefilla class from Rabbanit Tamara Spitz, or a Jewish Philosophy shiur from Rabbi Dr. Yehuda Seif, our students come away with a foundation to carry them for the rest of their lives. You will have the unique opportunity to “Learn and Tour,” where the walls of the Beit Midrash are expanded to the Land of Israel, as Tanakh and Halakha come to life in a way that you have never experienced before.
Educational Content and Shiurim
- Jewish Philosophy
- Zionism and Israel Activism
- Learn and Tour with Rabbanit Shani Taragin and Rabbi Alan Haber
TVA’s Leadership Program offers students an opportunity to learn both broadly and rigorously. Students engage in a nuanced approach to Israel Advocacy, meet political, military and cultural leaders, and hone leadership skills by synthesizing their learning with Israeli society and culture. Along with these special programs, students spend every afternoon and evening in the Beit Midrash, thus modeling an integrated Torah lifestyle.
Models of Leadership:
- Zionism and Israel Activism with StandwithUs
- Democracy and Statehood at the Knesset
- Social Activism and Chesed with Kedma
- Masa Hagshama with Shomer Hachadash
Midreshet Torah v’Avodah students have the unique opportunity to experience life in Israel while engaged in intense volunteer service that is framed and integrated with Torah study. You will help the elderly in a local home, volunteer in hospitals, and volunteer in schools for underprivileged children in Development towns in the south such as Netivot, Yerucham and Dimona.
Examples of Volunteer Opportunities include:
- Holocaust Museums
- Communal Gardens
- Battered Women Shelters
- Old Age Homes
- Institutions for Children with Special Needs
- Friendship Circle
TVA’s groundbreaking internship program maximizes the ideal of Torah v’Avodah. For one month, students experience working in Israel in the mornings, while returning back to the Beit Midrash in the afternoons and evenings. It is exhausting and exhilarating, and is a true preparation for life as a fully integrated Bat Torah.You will have the ability to work in an incredible range of jobs: TVA students have trained as Emergency First Responders and covered shifts on Israeli ambulances, engaged in political activism at think-tanks such as NGO monitor and the Kohelet Policy Forum, joined ground-breaking cancer research at Shaare Zedek Hospital, built walls and cleared trails for the JNF, participated in archaeological digs at Ir David, interned for film production companies and much more!
On kibbutz, you will have the once in a lifetime experience of working, learning, and living on a historic religious kibbutz. Your day will include working in the fields, gardens, factories, dining hall, farms, and childcare facilities of the kibbutz, side-by-side with the Israelis who live there.Like all of our special programming, our time on kibbutz is fully integrated with Torah, and there is daily learning in the afternoons and evenings. You will also experientially learn the halakhot relating to working the Land of Israel, and connect with early Zionist pioneers through a deep engagement with their institutions.
Student Life in Jerusalem
At Midreshet Torah v’Avodah, we believe that an essential part of the year will be learning to live independently. You will live in beautiful apartments in the heart of Jerusalem, and the surrounding neighborhood functions as the most exciting and vibrant campus in the world. Minutes from the Old City, Emek Refaim, and the center of town, you will be perfectly situated to maximize all of your time in Israel.
We also offer a wide variety of mental health services. Guidance counselor, Dina Kessler, M.Sc., heads the team and directs both the formal and informal services. We focus on how to make behavioral changes in a way that allows the students to integrate the concepts of middot with practical methods of habit change. As part of our personal growth program, we also have our students take the VIA strength assessment to identify and highlight their strengths. This can be especially helpful in the leadership components of our program, where a student can use this information to tailor their leadership style and contributions.
Additionally, our Mashgichot Ruchaniyot, Rabbanit Shani Taragin, Rabbanit Nechama Goldman Barash, Rabbanit Michal Jacob, and Dr. Tamara Spitz, run weekly small group processing workshops to encourage reflection and deliberation on crucial religious issues that arise during the seminary year. Furthermore, the guidance counselor and Mashgichot schedule individual meetings with students and open office hours. The support staff is thereby able to assist students in working through personal challenges and to guide each student towards maximizing his or her potential and character. In cases where a student requires more extensive mental health services, we have a network of private licensed practitioners, with whom we refer, and contacts at The Family Institute of Nevei Yerushalayim when finances are an issue.
In-Shabbatot, where students stay in their apartments in Jerusalem with programming, meals, and ruach. Part of these shabbatot includes home hospitality at local families in the neighborhood.
Shabbatonim, where we go to various important destinations in Israel, such as Tzfat, or join with all of the World Bnei Akiva programs for special programming.
Out Shabbatot (approximately half of the time), when students can visit friends or family, or stay in their own apartments, with the em bayit helping secure them meals at local host families.
The apartments belong to the young women for the year--they are available at any time and the em bayit is always on call to help arrange meals for Chagim. TVA students also have special programming for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, and can take advantage of special programming during the month of Nissan.
The apartment building, a 1 minute walk from MATAN, is situated on convenient bus lines, within walking distance of major supermarkets, gyms, and parks where the students are able to exercise and relax. Girls have 1-2 roommates and about 6-8 apartment mates. The madrichot live in the apartments with the students and are a guiding force in helping to create a comfortable and Torani environment. The students are expected to keep their apartments and personal space clean and are provided with the cleaning supplies that are necessary.
Living in an apartment building with Israeli families for neighbors exposes the students to what it is like to really live in Jerusalem. They have the independence of living on their own with the comfort of having a support system through the madrichot, Eim Bayit, and staff. This setup for the apartments is reflective of our education goals of training them towards independent living and ownership of their own religious and personal growth. At the same time, having everyone in one building is wonderful, as it helps facilitate the forming of a close and cohesive group.
The Eim Bayit’s family lives on the first floor of the building giving the students enough independence while at the same time having a constant address for any concerns.
Each apartment has a fully equipped kitchen for milk and meat. While a dairy lunch and pareve or meat dinner are provided every day the students still have the facilities to cook for themselves and learn about keeping a kosher kitchen.
Laundry facilities are spread throughout the apartments.