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Seventh grade graduation from Kadima marks not an end
to Jewish Education but a beginning to Midrasha, our
Hebrew high school program. Midrasha is Beth El’s
exciting, innovative 8th-12th grade program co-sponsored
by Beth El and nine other synagogues. Midrasha meets on
Sunday mornings with optional midweek afternoon classes.
Classes range from traditional courses in Hebrew, Talmud
and Bible to those that are very non-traditional,
combining Judaism with subjects like yoga, meditation,
ecology, creative writing, theater, multimedia, visual
arts, popular culture and more. As students progress
through high school, the curriculum grows in sophistication and the relationships between the students become stronger.

There is a strong non-formal component to the program, combining these weekly classes with weekend retreats at Bay Area camps. These retreats, which combine learning, prayer, community building and socializing, are open to students enrolled in any of four East Bay midrashot, thereby expanding Beth El students' circle of Jewish teenage friends.

Tenth graders at Midrasha are able to enroll in the year-long Confirmation class with Rabbi Kahn which is highlighted by a trip to Los Angeles and a Confirmation service at Shavuot.  In addition, tenth graders have an opportunity to travel to Israel during the summer.

7th Grade Havdalah Program

Here are some things that Beth El teens said about Midrasha at their recent graduation:

Midrasha has given me the opportunity to talk about anything and everything with an intelligent and interesting group of people…  Some of the best conversations that I have had in my whole life were here….Midrasha gave me the space to explore my Jewish heritage and understand what it means to me.  -Daniel Baldasarre

Midrasha is extraordinary in countless ways, but it’s especially remarkable in the role it can play in Jewish teenage life. It serves as both a constant and a place to grow, a place that’s felt like home to my class while we’ve grown into different people…. My teachers have been fantastic examples of engaged and enthusiastic educators and Jews…. Classes were an opportunity to immerse ourselves fully in dialogues about everything from Talmud to meditation to current events.  For me, it was an invigorating break from my largely secular week of high school…. Midrasha helped me develop my moral compass and understanding of Judaism, which I could then use to guide my actions and choices.  -Alexandra Kennedy

I found Midrasha’s conversation-based classes to be a superior method of learning.  On both retreats and in Sunday classes I was thinking critically and speaking up about complex topics such as spirituality, my Jewish identity, and international conflicts of the past and our present.  Instead of being shushed, we were encouraged to talk….Midrasha has given me the freedom to explore my Jewish identity and spirituality in an extremely loving and accepting environment and for that I am so grateful.  -Lena Miller

For more information, please contact Rabbi Jennifer Flam, our Midrasha Director, at 510-843-4667 or send an email to RabbiJen@midrasha.org, or visit the Midrasha website at www.midrasha.org.