AOP Israel and Palestine Program


“This is the kind of Israel Program I wish had existed when I was a rabbinical student -– deep and soul-searching, integrating heart, body, and mind.”

–Rabbi Marcia Prager, Dean of the AOP


ALEPH is excited to announce the launch of our new four-part curriculum which INCLUDES AN IMMERSIVE 3-WEEK RESIDENTIAL EXPERIENCE BASED IN JERUSALEM! This intimate educational experience is limited to 18 students - register early to secure your space!


ארץ אהבתי באספקלריה המאירה

Beloved Land: Israel and Palestine Through the Kaleidoscope

Israel, the home to almost half of the Jews in the world, is arguably the most dramatic game-changing collective experiment in Jewish history of the last two millennia. The in-gathering of our people from all corners of the earth and now the existence of a reborn Jewish State, has altered everything from Jewish language to Jewish polity and communal life, and has fired the Jewish religious imagination in bold and unanticipated ways.

At the same time, the challenges of Jewish self-governance on the national scale has sharpened the existential, ethical and spiritual dilemmas that occupy us all as budding klei kodesh, as Jewish spiritual leaders in a new paradigm. What forms of Judaism and Hebrew culture are being born, revived, or snuffed out? How do we live with/share space with the Other, both Jews from around the globe and Palestinians who are also indigenous to the region and also love the Land. In this crucible of vitality and heartbreak, a great Jewish ingathering and collision of cultures – both sacred and profane – is unfolding. We are called upon to stretch our kelim. We will work to expand our awareness to engage conflicting stories and encounter mind-stretching complexities.

In this spirit, the ALEPH Ordination Program (AOP) has initiated an innovative year-long, four-part course of study that embraces:
  • multi-tiered intellectual inquiry,
  • heart-centered learning, and
  • embodied on-the-ground exploration of the Land and its teeming life. 

  • Two sequential semester-length videoconference courses of historical, literary, artistic and spiritual inquiry, required as prerequisites for the Israel and Palestine experience.

  • Three-week ALEPH Ba-Aretz, Israel and Palestine residential program based in Jerusalem. We will explore the Land and its people. We will sink into immersive Torah learning in our Beit Midrash u-Ma'aseh.

    Through our travels and meetings we will encounter a wide array of Jews and Palestinians, artists, settlers, peace-makers, just-folks, gender-pioneers, Torah-scholars and seekers.

  • Follow-up pre-OHALAH seminar for processing and integration that will enable students to reflect on their experience, and develop facilitation and leadership skills to bring back to their communities. 
Our approach is both deep and daring. We bring an AOP-style “4-Worlds” approach to our inquiry and meditation, to track our shifting thoughts and emotions, and in a capstone intensive, to actively integrate our learning and our unlearning. This series will incorporate a broad range of perspectives, voices, texts and experiences including Jewish diasporic, Israeli-Jewish, Palestinian, Palestinian-Israeli, and global viewpoints to better understand the kaleidoscope that comprises this region of the world.

Addressing the neshamah and the engaged mind, we have created an educational experience that will enrich our days, our dreams, and our spiritual practice -– that will be both on-the-ground-real and transformative. We will equip emerging and current spiritual leaders committed to Jewish Renewal with knowledge and skills to build capacity for holding complex and diverse viewpoints, while nurturing hope and intellectual-spiritual growth.

The two semesters create a rich and compelling matrix for our living-learning immersion in Israel and Palestine.
Fall 2017: Journey Through the Histories of Israel and Palestine

This video-conference course explores the complex history, sociology and anthropology of pre-state Ottoman Palestine, including traditional understandings of home and sacred place, the emergence of Israel as a modern nation-state, Palestinian nationalism, and their relationship to the wider, shifting geopolitics of the Middle East.

Day: Monday, 8pm EST
(class sessions are typically 2 hours and meet for 13 weeks.)

Prerequisites: None

Course curriculum: History, one unit of AOP credit credit.

This course is open to all AOP students and alumni, registration preference will go to those who intend to participate in the entire Israel and Palestine Program. On a space available basis, OHALAH member clergy and students in OHALAH approved seminaries may register.
Cost: Full semester at the regular Fall 2017 course fee of $1030 per course. Registration for this course opens April 2, 2017. 
Spring 2018: The Dream of Place: Contemporary Culture in Israel and Palestine

This video-conference course delves into the rich cultural and religious diversity of human expression in Israel and Palestine through literature, poetry, film, music, art, foodways, liturgy, theology and prayer communities. The focus will be on contemporary ferment and will treat such themes as Land and Desire, Rituals of Memory and Home, Trauma and Healing, the interplay of languages and voices, as well as spiritual renewal and the rhythms of daily life.

Prerequisites: Journey through the Histories of Israel and Palestine (Fall Semester 2017)

Course curriculum: One unit of AOP credit may be applied to either the Jewish Thought/Philosophy or the Kli Kodesh categories.

This course is open to all AOP students and alumni, registration preference will go to those who intend to participate in the entire Israel and Palestine Program. On a space available basis, OHALAH member clergy and students in OHALAH approved seminaries may register.
Cost: Full semester at the regular Spring 2018 course fee of $1030 per course.
Summer 2018 Residential Program based in Jerusalem: Immersion in Israel and Palestine (22 days: July 16 - August 7, 2018)

Based in Jerusalem, this three-week immersion will extend themes from the fall and spring courses, deepening our 4-Worlds study with experiential on-site learning. There will be concentrated Beit Midrash time for deep, joyous Torah-study with face-to-face sharing and integration. Students will encounter the Land, experience the rhythms of Time both sacred and secular, meet with diverse people, performers, organizations, and communities, and draw out ‘Torah-of-the-everyday’ through these embodied experiences and observations. Throughout this course, we will grapple with Israel and Palestine in ways that acknowledge multiple and sometimes competing perspectives. Our aim, with humility and courage, is to keep our eyes and hearts open.

The 22 days of this experience span three particularly powerful weeks in the arc of the Jewish year, and are purposefully chosen in order to allow us to enter the mystical and emotional rhythms of these days, moving from the eve of Tisha B’Av through the dance of Tu B’Av and rising up towards the threshold of Ellul. 22 days – in gematriya נגילה ונשמחה ב"ך – we will rejoice and delight in these 22.

Instructors: Rabbi Elliot Ginsburg and Rabbi Minna Bromberg with an array of stellar teachers, artists, visionaries, tour-guides and speakers including Rabbi Ruth Gan Kagan, Melila Hellner-Eshed, Palestinian partners, and more...

Prerequisites: Journey Through the Histories of Israel and Palestine (Fall 2017) and The Dream of Place: Contemporary Culture in Israel and Palestine (Spring 2018)

Course curriculum: 3 AOP unit credits may be earned for the ALEPH Ba'Aretz which includes the Pre-OHALAH Integration Seminar (January 2019). Credits can be applied in history, rabbinics, kabbalah-hasidut, and kil kodesh. 

Cost: $4200 per person (not including airfare, based on double occupancy in Jerusalem). Please email Jamie Polliard at Israel@aleph.org if you have any questions about housing.

Registration: Registration will be open on April 3, 2017. A deposit of $1000 is required to secure your space. Payment in full is due no later than June 30, 2018. Payment plans are available. Please complete the pre-qualification form and we will be in touch with next steps!

This program requires a minimum registration of 12 participants by July 16, 2017. Maximum enrollment is 18 so SPACE IS LIMITED! Should the program not meet the required number of participants by July 16, all deposits will be returned.

Thanks to the generous support of donors, the ALEPH Ba-Aretz Residential Program is an opportunity to experience Israel and Palestine at a heavily subsidized rate AND earn up to 3 AOP credits!

Fall 2017: Journey Through the Histories of Israel and Palestine

Full semester course at the regular AOP course fee of $1030 per course. Registration for this course opens April 2, 2017.
Spring 2018: The Dream of Place: Contemporary Culture in Israel and Palestine

Full semester at the regular AOP course fee of $1030 per course.
ALEPH Ba'Aretz Immersion in Israel and Palestine (July 16 - August 7, 2018)

$4200 per person (not including airfare, based on double occupancy in Jerusalem). Please email Jamie Polliard at Israel@aleph.org if you have any questions about housing.

Registration will be open on April 3, 2017. A deposit of $1000 is required to secure your space. Payment in full is due no later than June 30, 2018. Payment plans are available. Complete our pre-qualification form and we will be in touch with next steps for registration. 

This program requires a minimum registration of 12 participants by July 16, 2017. Maximum enrollment is 18 so SPACE IS LIMITED! Should the program not meet the required number of participants by July 16, all deposits will be returned.

Thanks to the generous support of donors, the ALEPH Ba-Aretz Residential Program is an opportunity to experience Israel and Palestine at a heavily subsidized rate AND earn up to 3 AOP credits!
Pre-OHALAH Integration Seminar (January 2019)

Costs for this program are included in the program fee for the ALEPH Ba'Aretz Program. Students will be responsible for covering their housing/hotel expenses. Hotel rooms will be available at the OHALAH hotel at the discounted conference rate.

Note: While this face-to-face Seminar is a required part of our ALEPH Ba'Aretz Program, we will work to accommodate those AOP hashpa’ah students who are participating in the pre-OHALAH hashpa’ah intensive, so that they too will benefit from our integrative work.
Questions? Email Israel@aleph.org
Winter 2019: 2 ½ day Integration Seminar in the week preceding OHALAH (January, 2019)

This 2 ½ day seminar led by Rabbi Melissa Weintraub, co-director of Resetting the Table, will enable students to reflect on their experience, and develop facilitation and leadership skills to bring back to their communities. Melissa is a noted educator who trains leaders and builds programs at the intersections of Israel, Jewish thought, and conflict resolution. She was the founding director of Encounter, an organization dedicated to strengthening the capacity of the Jewish people to be agents of change in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Costs: Costs for this program are included in the program fee for the ALEPH Ba'Aretz Program. Students will be responsible for covering their housing/hotel expenses. Hotel rooms will be available at the OHALAH hotel at the discounted conference rate.

Note: While this face-to-face Seminar is a required part of our ALEPH Ba-Aretz Program, we will work to accommodate those AOP hashpa’ah students who are participating in the pre-OHALAH hashpa’ah intensive, so that they too will benefit from our integrative work.
Please stay tuned to our website and emails as we will be sharing more information in the coming weeks! In the meantime, please email Israel@aleph.org with any questions.
Rabbi Elliot Ginsburg, Ph.D.
Rosh Israel Program and Instructor
View Bio
Shoshanna Schechter-Shaffin
Executive Director and Instructor
View Bio
Rabbi Minna Bromberg
View Bio
Rabbi Melissa Weintraub
View Bio
Housing will be based in the historic Jerusalem neighborhood of Talpiot in apartment-like suites at the Beit Ben Yehuda Guesthouse
(http://www.beit-ben-yehuda.org/guesthouse/facilities/).

The program fee is based on double occupancy. Rooms are fully furnished with access to a community kitchen and free WIFI. Traditional Israeli breakfast is provided as part of housing costs.

Please email Jamie Polliard, Program Coordinator at Israel@aleph.org with any questions about housing for the ALEPH Ba'Aretz Program.

More information coming soon.

Couldn't make it for one of our online sessions? Learn more about the vision, goals and details of Beloved Land by viewing our information session, recorded Sunday, April 23.

We are thrilled by the energy, passion and richness students, alumni and Ohalah members are already bringing to this unique course. Learning together and development of community has already begun, please join us! Email Israel@aleph.org with questions or to register.

AOP Israel and Palestine Program Q&A
For any immediate questions, please email R. Elliot Ginsburg, Rosh Israel Program and Jamie Polliard, Program Coordinator at israel@aleph.org. Stay tuned to our webpage as we will be adding more information over the next few weeks!

PRE-QUALIFICATION FORM
Space is limited! Please join us for a Zoom information session (Sunday, April 23 at 2pm EST or Wednesday, April 26 at 7pm EST) where you will have an opportunity to meet with faculty and staff, ask questions and learn more about this transformative experience. Registration for information sessions is required, please indicate your preference on the Pre-Qualification form.

The AOP Israel and Palestine Program is open to AOP students, AOP alumni. We are pleased to offer this opportunity to OHALAH Member Clergy and students in OHALAH-approved Jewish seminaries. Please complete the Pre-Qualification form and we will be in touch with next steps!

Questions? Please email R. Elliot Ginsburg, Rosh Israel Program and Jamie Polliard, Program Coordinator at Israel@aleph.org.