These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem


Posted on May 2, 2010 by Naomi Adland

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Well, we seem to have taken a bit of a vacation here at These and Those, but I think it’s high time that the blog gets back in action.

A few weeks ago, I was innocently walking down the hallway when I heard a phrase that will always strike fear into my heart – “Naomi, can I see you in my office please?”

Dean Bernstein called myself and a fellow student, Ben, into his office to speak about putting together some programs focused on life after Pardes.  There were some interesting ideas tossed around – programs focused on teaching prayer skills, informal education, “coming out” as halachic Jews to our friends and family, etc.  After a few brainstorming sessions, a survey, and asking around for assistance, the first of our sessions happened last Thursday during lunch.

Tamara, one of the students in the Educators program, offered to lead a session called “Learning Outside of the Mazda Dealership” focused on individual study and learning outside of Pardes.    For those of you missing Pardes, or looking for a way to get a little more Talmud in your life, here are some tips and tricks from our session:

Learning Talmud Outside the Mazda Dealership…

Tips for Finding a Study Partner

  • Speak to as many people as you can about learning together – family members, friends, coworkers, people you interact with on a day-to-day basis – a lot of people are interested in learning TalmudTaNaCH and are also looking for someone to study with.
  • You don’t have to be in the same place to maintain a chevruta – you can study together over the phoneSkype.

Individual Learning

  • Most of us are used to the chevrutashir model, but it’s not the only model for learning – you don’t necessarily need a chevruta, or to learn in shir.
  • ArtScroll is NOT CHEATING (ask Zvi Hirschfeld)
  • Jastrow talmud dictionary is available online (google Talmud dictionary)
  • Buy a copy of the Frank dictionary!
  • The internet is a fantastic resource – shiurim, podcasts, and live feeds available

For someone who has done a lot of independent study, what is the best way to structure your time?

  • It depends on the person; Shabbat can be a great time for learning.
  • Alternate Jewish and non-Jewish books
  • Sign up for a daily halachaTorah e-mail (like the URJ 10 Minutes of Torah project)
  • Many shlichim in North America are partially supported by a religious movement, so they have time to dedicate to studying – ask one to study with you!

Where can I purchase less-expensive sfarim in America?

  • You can buy used sfarim online (,

Sometimes, the best way to learn is to teach – maybe leading an informal discussion group

Many communities have the custom to learn a double-sided page (daf) of Talmud daily. This practice is known as DAF YOMI (“page of the day”). It’s a great way to keep up with your Talmud individually while feeling part of a larger community of learners!

User-friendly books:: Artscroll & Steinzaltz editions of the Talmud


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