Mission Statement

   The Summer Beit Midrash (SBM) seeks to develop Jews, and particularly Orthodox Jewish leaders, of high scholarly attainment, unimpeachable integrity, and great moral and intellectual courage.  To that end, the SBM will create learning environments, and solicit funds to enable the creation of environments, in which Talmud, Jewish Law (Halakhah), and other aspects of Judaism will be studied with openness to intellectual challenges from other disciplines, both immediately and distantly related, and to moral challenges originating both within and outside Orthodox Judaism.  These environments will particularly encourage the integration of Talmudic learning, Halakhic decision-making, and moral reflection.  The SBM will also provide formal leadership training to potential Orthodox leaders sharing its ideals. The SBM will also provide community education programs both within and outside the Orthodox Jewish community to build connections between future leaders and communities, to build communities receptive to leaders with its ideals, and to express its appreciation for community support.

Intellectual Foundation

    The major intellectual premises guiding the Summer Beit Midrash are:
    1. that Modern Orthodox ideology must find concrete expression in Modern Orthodox halakhah
    2. that Modern Orthodox halakhah can only emerge from a Modern Orthodox approach to halakhah
    3. that in a Modern Orthodox approach to halakhah, legal truth is not determined merely by internal conceptual coherence and correspondence with the textual interpretations of a preselected group of tradents; rather, correspondence with perceived moral, factual, and historical truth also play major roles
    4. that extra-tradtional sources legitimately and significantly affect our perceptions of moral, factual, and historical truth.

    An example of the way these premises guide the program is that the central shiur builds toward the writing of a teshuvah rather than a test, and that the fact-pattern about which students write is chosen to emphasize the systemic and moral implications of the material studied.

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