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. 

VIEW Itinerary


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.
There are a variety of resources that can help fund your Beloved Land: Israel and Palestine through the Kalediscope experience. Many participants find additional funding through their local Jewish Federation, local synagogue or from the following sources:
 
International Association of Jewish Free Loans
Member organizations of the International Association of Jewish Free Loans provide interest-free loans to help with a variety of financial needs. Eligibility and loan programs vary, contact your local agency for more information.
www.iajfl.org
 
 
Hebrew Free Loan of San Francisco
Provides interest-free, cost-free loans to Jewish permanent residents of Northern California. Loans are available to help participants pay for tuition, program costs, travel expenses, and more. Northern California residents, as well as students from Northern California who are attending universities outside of the region, are eligible to apply.
www.hflasf.org
 
 
The Alisa Flatow Memorial Scholarship Fund
For participants of post-high school study programs which earn college credits in Israel. The Fund is for those students who show academic promise in religious studies and a need for financial assistance to study in Israel.
 
The Amy Adina Schulman Scholarship Fund
Grants are awarded to individuals who volunteer or intern in progressive social action projects or programs of their own choosing. The grant requires a commitment to educate others upon returning home so peers will have the opportunity to learn about and be inspired to do similar work.
 
Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program
The Gilman Scholarship Program provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two- or four-year college or university to participate in study abroad programs worldwide. 
 
Boren Scholarship 
Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 to U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad who will contribute to U.S. national security, broadly defined. 
 
Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund
The Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund provides grants to university students who are part of the progressive movement on campus or the community, actively working for peace and justice.
 
Fulbright Scholarship
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. 
 
Go Overseas Volunteer/Intern Abroad Scholarship
The Go Overseas Volunteer and Intern Abroad Scholarship offers $500 scholarships twice a year for internship or volunteer programs.
 
Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship Fund
Reich scholarships are awarded each year to a limited number of American students who choose to study at one of several designated Israeli universities or attend post-college long-term programs.
 
Jeff Seidel's Scholarship to Israel
$500 scholarships towards airfare to come to study in Israel on affiliated programs for Birthright Israel and Hillel alumni. 
 
The Jewish Federations of North America
Local Jewish Federations offer scholarships and grants for community members going to Israel. 
 
Masa Israel
Masa Israel works to make it as easy as possible for Jewish young adults to come to Israel. They offer grants and/or scholarships to help make the experience more affordable, and collect information about other grants and scholarships available for long-term Israel programs from third party organizations. We provide every eligible participant a grant towards participating in a program in Israel. Grant amounts are determined by factors such as age, home country, length of program, etc. In addition, need-based scholarships are available.
 
Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture 
This fund is for independent scholarly, literary, or art projects done in Israel. Please inquire regarding the deadline. 
 
Plant Your Way to Israel 
Youth through age 26 can raise money for a trip to Israel by asking family and friends to plant trees with the Jewish National Fund (JNF). Half of the proceeds of each donation ($36 minimum) will go towards planting a tree in Israel and the other half goes into a student account. 
 
Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship
The Ambassadorial Scholarships look to further international understanding and friendly relations among people of different countries and geographical areas. The program sponsors several types of scholarships for undergraduates and graduate students and professionals pursuing vocational studies. 
 
The Wisam Khamees Scholarship for Arabs and Jews 
The Wisam Khamees Scholarship Fund for Arabs and Jews is dedicated to supporting Israelis in their pursuit of higher education, and is committed to promoting academic advancement as well as equality and coexistence in Israel. 
Rabbi Elliot Ginsburg is Department Chair of Hasidut and Jewish Mysticism for the ALEPH Ordination Program and member of the AOP Academic VAAD. He is the founding Rabbi of the Pardes Hannah minyan in Ann Arbor and is Associate Professor of Jewish Thought in the Department of Near Eastern Studies and the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan. He previously taught at Oberlin College and received his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, working with Art Green. Elliot is the author of The Sabbath in the Classical Kabbalah, a study of the mystical celebration of Sabbath in the classical period of Kabbalah, from the late twelfth to the early sixteenth centuries, and Sod HaShabbat, a translation and critical commentary on The Mystical Sabbath, by the influential Spanish-Turkish Kabbalist, Meir ibn Gabbai. Elliot is also author of a wide range of essays and articles on Jewish mysticism and spiritual practice, and is currently writing a book on the cycle of the spiritual year through hasidic (and neo-hasidic) eyes. Reb Elliot seeks to combine intellectual engagement with a devotional stance, and lives in Ann Arbor with his wife Linda Jo Doctor. He spends concentrated time in Israel each year, and has long been immersing himself in Israeli culture, spirituality, and literature, while opening himself to Palestinian culture and yearnings.
Rabbi Laura Duhan Kaplan is Director of Inter-Religious Studies at the Vancouver School of Theology and a core faculty member at AOP. Laura is an award-winning teacher who weaves student participation into intellectually rigorous, spiritually uplifting, and emotionally moving classes. She has organized topical conferences on the philosophy of peace and inter-religious dialogue, leading to her co-edited anthologies Encountering the Other; Philosophical Perspectives on Power and Domination; and Regional Conflicts and the Philosophy of Peace. In her book Family Pictures: A Philosopher Explores the Familiar, she models a life of inquiry and rigorous self-reflection. As the only Jewish faculty member at an ecumenical Christian seminary, Laura understands the challenge of living within two narratives. She hopes to apply and deepen that understanding through her work in the AOP Israel and Palestine program. Laura is also Rabbi Emerita of Or Shalom Synagogue, Professor Emerita of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a former Carnegie Foundation U.S. Professor of the Year (2001). Laura received her Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University, rabbinic smicha from ALEPH, and diploma in Spiritual Direction from VST. She lives in Vancouver, Canada with her spouse and musical partner Charles Kaplan, their multiple companion animals, and (a few streets away) their young adult children.
Minna Bromberg is a rabbi, singer, songwriter, and voice teacher. Since 2014, she has served as Coordinator of the Year-in-Israel Program for Hebrew College. In this capacity, Minna is passionate about providing rabbinical students with both the container and the tools with which to make their own meaning from their time in Israel, continually returning to the question of how “Torah emerges from Zion.” This focus on personal and spiritual meaning-making dovetails with her work as a voice teacher who specializes in helping daveners find their own most authentic voices. Minna received her PhD in sociology from Northwestern University where her dissertation focused on identity construction in interfaith couples. She was ordained in the third cohort of the Rabbinical School of Hebrew College. Minna lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Rabbi Alan Abrams, and their daughter. Additional information on her work can be found here: http://minnabromberg.com/
Melissa is a noted educator who trains leaders and builds programs at the intersections of Israel, Jewish thought and conflict resolution. Melissa 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. Melissa built Encounter from the ground up to an internationally recognized organization, selected by Slingshot as one of fourteen standard-bearing organizations for innovation and impact. She was awarded the Grinnell Young Innovator for Social Justice Prize, which honors demonstrated leadership and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change. An alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship program, Melissa has lectured and taught in hundreds of Jewish communal institutions, universities, and forums on four continents and served as a faculty member for Wexner and the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. She was ordained as a Conservative Rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary and graduated from Harvard University summa cum laude.
Rabbi, poet, master midrashist and deep ecumenist, Rabah Tamar is the founder and inspiring muse of Kehillat Tziyyon in Jerusalem, a pluralist spiritual community that weaves together neo-hasidic, Mizrahi and Eretz Yisraeli modes of song, Torah-teaching and spiritual practice. With eyes and heart open, Tamar nurtures sparks of hope and connection across the Jewish religious-political spectrum, and fosters prayerful meetings between Muslims, Christians and Jews. A quietly glowing presence, Tamar is on the faculty of the new pluralist rabbinic training program founded by Midreshet Oranim and the Hartman Institute. Additional information about this program can be found at https://hartman.org.il. Tamar will share moments in her own spiritual journey with us, as well as her vision of the spiritual work needed in this hour and place. To learn more about Rabbi Elad-Applebaum, read a recent profile in Tablet Magazine, "Israeli Rabbis You Should Know."   
Dr. Melila Hellner-Eshed is one of the world’s leading scholars and teachers of Zohar, kabbalah and Jewish mystical traditions. Her book, A River Flows through Eden, is prized by many of us in ALEPH, as an amazing guide to the intricacies of the Zohar. She teaches at Hebrew University, at the Shalom Hartman Institute, and Institute of Jewish Spirituality. A loving and deep guide to many klei kodesh in Israel, North America and beyond, Melila is also one of the central movers in the Sulha project, a reconciliation project that brings together Israelis and Palestinians often through shared ritual. At once earthy and high-flying, Melila is frequent pilgrim to India. She is a teacher who transforms lives. We are thrilled to be learning in depth with Melila as she will be one of our core beit midrash teachers. Additional information on her work and teaching can be found at Hartman.org.il and on YouTube.
Rabbi Kagan, who prefers to be called Rabbi Ruth, is a spiritual pathblazer, a mashpi’ah ruhanit (spiritual director) of rare and direct wisdom, and the founding rabbi of Nava Tehila, Israel’s premier Renewal community. Ruth is a heart-centered and innovative teacher, who not only drinks deep from the textual sources but one who is open to the flow of spirit through many worlds and modalities: music, meditation, healing, textuality, and the holiness of relationship. Ruth will be one of our core beit midrash teachers. She is one of only six people given a special (second) “rebbe” smicha by Reb Zalman. In 2006 she published, together with Reb Zalman, Jewish Renewal: Integrating Heart and World (Kirvat Elohim, Yediot Achronot), the first book in Hebrew describing the principles and practice of Jewish Renewal for Israeli readership. Additional information on Rabbi Ruth can be found at www.navatehila.org
Ali is a leading Palestinian activist tirelessly teaching the life-changing power of nonviolent resistance and reaching out to Jewish Israelis at the heart of the conflict. He is currently finishing his memoir called Painful Hope, an account of his experiences, strategy, and vision for the Palestinian future. In addition to being one of the founders of Roots/Shorashim/Judur, he was recently instrumental in the founding of Taghyeer (Change): The Palestinian National Movement for Nonviolent Resistance. To meet with Ali and his Roots/Shorashim partners is to be radically stretched by the possibility of possibility. In the words of Melila Hellner-Eshed, “the divine presence radiates from Ali Abu Awwad.” We will be spending an extended afternoon with him, part of a series of meetings with Palestinians both in the West Bank and Israel proper, and with settlers inspired by transformative vision of the late Rabbi Menachem Froman. Learn more about Ali Abu Awwad and Roots/Shorashim/Judur at www.friendsofroots.net.
Dr. Raviv is an eloquent and impassioned educator, committed to dialogue across difference. Born in Teheran, educated in Israel and the U.S., he is fluent in Hebrew, Arabic, Farsi and English. He is a scholar of both the Shoah and Jewish Mysticism who has taught at Oberlin College, Brandeis and Alma Institute in Tel Aviv, among other places. Zohar is an expert in regards to ‘in situ’ learning. He was given his name by his grandfather, heir to the kabbalistic tradition, who presciently saw in his just-emerged grandson, a rare spark of light. We will be learning with Zohar as part of our hiloni-ruhani shabbat in Tel Aviv. 
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.


ALEPH is excited to be working with Religious Travel International in helping participants make travel arrangements, research travel insurance or answer any travel related questions:

Jane Luzietti
Owner & Managing Director
Religious Travel International
Direct: 303-563-6261 650
South Cherry Street,
Suite 200
Denver, Colorado 80246
www.rtijourneys.com
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!

This program is full and creating a waiting list. Please complete the Interest Form and our team will be in touch to answer your questions and share more about this transformative experience. Beloved Land: Israel and Palestine through the Kaleidoscope is open to AOP students, AOP alumni, OHALAH Member Clergy and students in OHALAH approved Jewish seminaries. Complete the Interest 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.