Posted on January 1, 2011 by Daniel Weinreb
Here’s a map of the Beit Midrash and a few thoughts to go with it. (pdf map)
By November, the Beit Midrash was getting a little messy – books of the Rif, Gra, and Rambam lying on tables next to BDBs, Franks and Jastrows. Books off of shelves is a good sign, a sign that people are learning. And learning at Pardes seems to embrace the messy process of deliberation and contemplation. Plus, disorder can reduce the intimidation factor: it’s also true that taking a book off the shelf is easier if you are not worried about having to put it back in the right place.
On the other hand, disorder can get in the way of learning – or make it frustrating. Pardes has about 4000 books. That is a big number of books to organize – the star sign at the top of the post was made by Malika to encourage law and order.
A few of us thought that better organization might make learning more enjoyable. We wanted to make the Beit Midrash easier to navigate without discouraging people from using books so ten students compiled on a list of the shelves of the Beit Midrash. Students in all three Pardes programs helped out. Four students are in the Educator Program: Tamara, Brad, Sam and I. Two students are Fellows – Toby and Mosheh – and four students are in the Year program: Joel, Heena, Malika, and Ben. We also had help from Rabbi Peter Stein.
The book list is not supposed to stand alone; learning alone seems contrary to the havrutah learning culture at Pardes. The list is supposed to help inform people about what books we have. If you want to understand them however, go find yourself a havrutah.