Founded on the Beit Midrash tradition, the Shalom Hartman Institute has over the years created contemporary environments of study in which learners come together—virtually or physically—to address the central conversations of our time. The newest Hartman Beit Midrash was launched in October 2012, under the tutelage of co-directors Menachem Lorberbaum and Melila Hellner-Eshed. Monday evenings and Tuesday mornings see the Institute’s central Beit Midrash building enlivened by a diverse group of 23 students who come together for serious text study.
"The purpose of this Beit Midrash is to initiate the conversation of a new generation and to create a feeder program that can be well-integrated into the Institute," explains Lorberbaum, who is also a senior research scholar at the Institute. Participants spend ten hours a week studying Tractate Taanit, which focuses on the timely topic of ways in which communities rebuild after being socially and spiritually ravaged by natural disaster or war.
Most of the participants in the Beit Midrash are beginning their MA in fields related to Jewish studies. Many of them are educators or studying to become teachers. Ya'ara, an educator from Jerusalem, studying in a Beit Midrash environment for the first time says: "This Beit Midrash allows me to have a meaningful experience outside of academia. The social aspect - learning actively with others - is very important."