During the week of January 2-5, 2017 students from numerous OU-JLIC campuses gathered together in Jerusalem at Beit Knesset Yakar to spend a week immersed in Torah learning at the annual OU-JLIC Women’s Winter Midrasha program. The program was structured by Rabbi Robby Charnoff, OU-JLIC Co-Director and Torah Educator at Queens College, to offer a one-week, fully immersive learning environment in Israel. The goal was to recapture the atmosphere that the students experienced in their Israel Midrashot and Seminaries while fitting it around a week of learning with a unifying theme, teaching in a more advanced way relevant to their new stage of life, and developing a cohort of their collegiate peers.

The topic of this year’s program was Getting Into the Land of Israel: Exploring Sefer Devarim. Students studied Chumash, Nach, Halacha, Gemara, and Hashkafa, all related to this central theme. Rabbi Menachem Schrader, OU-JLIC Founding Director, Rabbi Robby Charnoff, and Mrs. Ariel Pardo, OU-JLIC Torah Educator at Brandeis University, all taught on the program.

In recognition of the participants’ desires to reconnect with their Israel Midrashot and Seminaries, Rabbi Charnoff brought in eight of these schools as active partners in the program. Over the course of the week, the students attended shiurim by guest speakers from many of the participating Israel Midrashot and Seminaries, who in addition to giving a shiur to the entire program also had the opportunity to reconnect with their alumnae.

 The OU-JLIC Women’s Winter Midrasha program is but one example of the innovative and impactful programming for women created by OU-JLIC. A program such as this gives young Orthodox women the ability to study Torah in a forum that is devoid of any outside agendas. It creates an environment that is purely focused on the religious, intellectual, and spiritual refinement of its participants. By strengthening the inner circle of religious, Orthodox women on our campuses and creating programming for them during their college years, we help ensure their commitment to mainstream Orthodox Judaism as they move forward in their lives.

Students reflections

“ I was very happy to meet amazing individuals who like me struggle with the difficulties of being part of a secular campus. Knowing that I am not alone and knowing that [there] are individuals that want to live a Torah life gives me a lot of chizuk!” – OU-JLIC Winter Midrasha Participant

“I would recommend the OU-JLIC Winter Midrasha Program because it is a very rare opportunity to come back to Eretz Yisrael after seminary, and once again immerse yourself in studying Torah the entire day. It truly revitalizes your passion for learning and leaves an impression that gives your winter break a lot of meaning oiynoyy.”- OU-JLIC Winter Midrasha Participant

“What was most meaningful to me was actually to see how committed all the Educators were to creating this environment and program. It definitely is a motivator to know that there are people who think our learning and continuation of our religious growth is important.”- OU-JLIC Winter Midrasha Participant