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The Midrashiya, established in Jerusalem in 2007, has successfully implemented an educational vision that fuses Jewish tradition and learning, an obligation to halkha, and feminist ideology. The school curriculum is designed to nurture public and personal identity, encourage meaningful academic and community achievements, and develop a deep understanding of Judaism, Israel, and the world.
The Midrashiya aims to develop the personal identity of each student through a variety of programs that encourage knowledgeable and confident engagement with tradition and the modern world. A dedication to female empowerment permeates the school's Beit Midrash study, prayer, physical education, and community involvement.
In an unprecedented move by the Israeli Ministry of Education, the Midrashiya was given a mandate to independently develop its Orthodox feminist curriculum for use as the model for Orthodox girls' high schools nationwide. The success of the Midrashiya's educational program and the resulting interest in it have been infectious. Academic teams from around the country are turning to the Midrashiya for training on how to use its innovative curriculum to empower the next generation of Orthodox women leaders.
Innovative, Experimental Education
The school instills its students with a strong self-image by providing a holistic environment in which Orthodox teenage girls can advance spiritually, physically, and intellectually. The school's Body-Soul-Consciousness Program has recently been approved and recommended by the Israeli Ministry of Education for use as an Orthodox feminist curriculum for the state religious school system.
The Golden Body-Soul-Consciousness Triangle
The Body-Soul-Consciousness Program equips young women to deal with the emotional, psychological, and physical development that they experience in their teen years.
The school offers a range of mandatory movement classes ranging from yoga to hip hop that educate girls not only in the technical aspects of the discipline but also to appreciate their bodies, increase self-esteem, and engage in team work. At the end of every semester, the girls perform as a group. Weekly theoretical workshops focus on themes related to physical development, nutrition and body image, and gender and feminism.
While the Midrashiya is not the first religious feminist school in Israel, it is the first to make participation in daily prayer and reading from the Torah a normative part of girls' education, instilling in them the idea that they are integral members of a religious community whose voices can be heard. This unique approach facilitates the development of values-driven, confident, and socially committed women equipped to serve as leaders in the Jewish community and wider multicultural society.
All Jewish studies classes are taught in the intimate, informal atmosphere of a Beit Midrash, in which a small group of students study together with a mentor. The Beit Midrash format is particularly suited to empowering young women to find their own voices. Students are guided in analyzing subject matter, formulating their own interpretations, and expressing their ideas in a peer setting. These methodologies are also applied to general studies education.
Commitment to Social Action
The Midrashiya instills students with a profound sense of responsibility for the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Through yearlong projects appropriate to each grade - from the distribution of food baskets to initiating social activities with underprivileged youth to computer instruction for the elderly – Midrashiya students learn about the challenges facing various segments of Israeli society and develop the initiative and leadership skills to take an active role in response. The Social Action program guides students in developing and implementing innovative, entrepreneurial initiatives that contribute to others.
Merav Badichi, Principal
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