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A midrasha (Hebrew: מדרשה, pl. midrashot/s) refers to an institute of Jewish studies for women. In Israel, it is often an Orthodox institution that caters solely to women, and roughly the equivalent of a yeshiva for men. The term is often translated as 'seminary'. In the United States, the term has also been used to refer to co-educational Jewish studies programs. In Israel, a midrasha that offers degree studies is sometimes called a machon (institute). Some "midrashot/s" accept both men and women, such as the Ein Prat Midrasha[1] in Israel.

Etymology

The word "midrasha" is based on the term beit midrash, "house of study". It is cognate with the Arabic "madrasah," which also refers to a place of learning.

Structure

Midrashot for women

Midrashot vary in curriculum and philosophy. More liberal midrashot often place more emphasis on the study of Talmud itself, as in men's yeshivot, while more conservative midrashot tend to only incorporate selections from the Talmud in the context of classes on the Hebrew Bible, Jewish philosophy, Ethics and Jewish law instead. Most midrashot in the latter category are modeled on the Beis Yaakov teacher-training seminary established by Sarah Schenirer.

Many Orthodox Jewish girls attend a midrasha in Israel for a year or more following high school. Some midrashot are designed for the newly observant.

Most midrashot for English-speaking students are accredited by American colleges. Some midrashot offer second-year programs with religious-studies classes in the morning and general-studies classes in the afternoons, allowing students to pursue a religious education and a general-studies education leading to a college degree simultaneously. In Israel, several of the religious affiliated teacher training colleges also offer a religious studies program in conjunction with the B.Ed. degree.

Coed high school Midrashot

While a Hebrew school program typically handles Jewish education for youths before their Bar/Bat Mitzvah, students who wish to continue their Jewish education through high school enroll in a Midrasha.

See also

References

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