Yeshivat Maale Gilboa
Love of Torah
OUR UNIQUE ACADEMIC APPROACH
Learning without fear in a modern era
METHODOLOGY THAT RECOGNIZES LAYERS: Yeshivat Maaleh Gilboa's methodology is characterized by a historical sensitivity that explores each layer of text on its own before engaging with subsequent generations' interpretations. Through understanding each passage on its own, one appreciates the text at hand on a deeper level as well as uncovering the social and moral significance of the interpretations added to the text over time. The thought process of the Talmud is followed from its inception in the first generations of Mishnaic sages to its final formulation, while seeking out the values articulated at every stage of development. Classic Brisker insights are utilized alongside contemporary tools from the academic world in order to achieve a reading of the text that is both psychologically deep and intellectually honest. This innovative methodology is eye opening for the seasoned Talmud scholar and opens up the doors of Talmudic thinking for beginners. Our approach to the Talmudic text sharpens reasoning, reveals the importance of multiple positions and highlights the culture of respectful debate.
INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDY: A plethora of sources, including both the Torah and creation itself, provide us with insight and understanding. We recognize that there are multiple paths to uncovering wisdom, beauty and righteousness outside of traditional text study. Therefore, our students are encouraged to expand their horizons in a spirit of free inquiry. While the shelves in the Beit Midrash are filled with Sifrei Kodesh (sacred texts), an adjoining library includes works of secular philosophy, world history and literary classics. While the study of Talmud stands at the center of the Yeshiva's curriculum, our faculty members are academically trained and they bring a breadth of knowledge into the discourse of the Beit Midrash. At Yeshivat Maale Gilboa one can hear Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in dialogue with Franz Kafka, the Maharal with David Grossman, and Kant with Yeshayahu Leibovitz. In Tanakh classes, students not only acquire the skills to study basic commentaries; they are also exposed to contemporary literary and linguistic methods that deepen their understanding and appreciation of Tanakh. Workshops in creative writing and drawing give interested students a taste of the arts. Faculty and students explore together how to integrate these insights and experiences into a life of Torah and Mitzvot.
RELEVANCE: A focus on the universal values that underlie the Talmudic and Halachic discussion transforms the learning of ancient texts into a participation in an ongoing dialogue about life issues. Studying Torah with this orientation uncovers human situations and ethical considerations that are forever relevant for our lives today. When the logic and considerations of Torah are integrated into our thought processes we approach life decisions with a sharp mind and with an awareness of the values at stake.
Being grounded in our humanity is the starting point and the guiding light
Universal morality and common decency are the bedrock of a Torah life. We see the Torah's commandments as complementary to the basic morality incumbent upon all humankind. To be a Ben Torah is to be a humanist and Yeshivat Maale Gilboa emphasizes the dignity due to every human being, regardless of race, religion or gender. Exploring the tensions between our moral intuitions and the inherited halakhic corpus is part and parcel of the discourse in our Beit Midrash.
The ultimate test of the Torah studied in the Beit Midrash is the impact it makes outside of the Beit Midrash. The Torah calls upon us to take responsibility for our fellow Jew and the whole of the human race. This is why our Israeli students combine their two years of study in yeshiva with a full term of service in the IDF. Faculty members are actively involved in conceiving solutions for the problem of agunot, bridging gaps between secular and religious Jews and forging dialogue between Jews, Moslems and Christians.
The moral sensitivity emphasized in our Beit Midrash also led us to create the "Shiluv MeShalev Program". This program, the first of its kind in Israel, integrates young men with Asperger's syndrome into the Yeshiva. The professional support these young men receive from our staff of educators and therapists enables them to live away from home and become yeshiva students. All students in the Yeshiva devote one hour every week to learning in chevruta with a young man with special needs. Setting aside this time every week is one of the ways we encourage our students to express their social responsibility and to develop their interpersonal sensitivities.
Curiosity makes learning transformative
SEARCHING WITH AMBITION: Students who thrive at Maale Gilboa tend to be committed to rigorous study, intellectual openness and social consciousness. They are not on a quest for prepackaged answers, but rather on a journey to find the ways in which Torah engages, challenges and deepens their own thinking. Students at Maale Gilboa are smart and reflective, self-motivated and curious. They want to research and reach their own conclusions. They know that it is this kind of intensive study that will help them develop into true leaders.
HAVING THE FREEDOM TO CHOOSE: Complementing a strong focus on Talmud, the Yeshiva's curriculum includes Tanakh, Jewish Philosophy, Kaballah, Chassidut, Halakhah and Mussar. Students are invited to find those areas of study that speak to them personally and pursue them through the various classes offered by faculty and through independent study. There is a substantial amount of open time integrated into the schedule with the goal of encouraging students to find out what rooms in the palace of Torah most interest them. We never question what a person is learning as long as he is growing.
FREE INQUIRY: At the core of the Yeshiva's educational philosophy is the belief that intellectual and spiritual development are unique for each and every individual. This is why Yeshivat Maale Gilboa does not attempt the impossible endeavor of creating one specific set of classes that is supposed to be right for all students. Rather, Maale Gilboa believes that any educational program should be an individualized one developed by the student himself. The Yeshiva offers forty classes a week and students are encouraged to choose those classes that focus on areas they find interesting and which they feel will most enrich their own intellectual, theological, and spiritual journey.
The Jewish Philosophy curriculum, for example, includes exploration of Chassidic masters, Rav Kook, Rav Hutner, Rav Soloveitchik and Levinas. Many philosophy classes are taught in small groups, allowing students to discuss the issues in depth. Independently, some students choose to focus all of their time on studying Talmud, others choose to study the relationship between Aristotle and the Rambam, while others might read about the different approaches to Halachic Psak in the Modern Era.
WHO? WHERE? HOW?
WHO AND WITH WHOM?
Maale Gilboa offers its overseas students total immersion in an Israeli institution. The program is designed for young men with a high level of Hebrew proficiency who want to learn Torah in an Israeli atmosphere. Overseas students are expected to have a strong background in Talmud and Jewish studies. This background enables them to learn in chevruta with their Israeli peers and to join in all of the shiurim that are offered to Israeli students.
With that said, special attention and guidance are given to the overseas students to ensure that their integration – both academic and social – is quick and smooth. Many students struggle to get their Hebrew language skills up to par during the first weeks in yeshiva. However, the efforts of most students bear fruit, and they find themselves conversing and reading texts in Hebrew well before the middle of the year. The American staff members offer weekly classes in English throughout the year.
Many of our overseas students continue their studies in Ivy League schools where they take on active leadership roles on campus.