North Shore Hebrew Academy (NSHA) is taking its Torah learning — and teaching — to a new level. With its inaugural Kollel/Midrasha Fellowship, the school will provide a setting for eight Torah scholars to spend a year studying in the NSHA Beit Midrash, teaching Judaic Studies classes, and learning individually and in small groups with students, while gaining pedagogical experience.

The highly selective program, which is open to four advanced semicha students from Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and four women pursuing careers in Jewish education, will launch in September 2024.

“With this revolutionary Kollel/Midrasha model and an intensive and cutting-edge Jewish Studies curriculum, NSHA is at the forefront of educating the next generation of Torah and Talmud scholars — and helping them become rabbis and community leaders,” said Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Kobrin, NSHA Head of School and Rosh HaYeshiva. “We’re thrilled to partner with Yeshiva University on this exciting endeavor, and we look forward to supporting our students and fellows in drawing meaningful connections between ancient Jewish wisdom and the great challenges we face today.”

Under the guidance of Rabbi Kobrin and Rabbi Avi Miller, Director of Integrated Studies, the program will be led by Rosh Kollel Rabbi David Weiss and Rosh Midrasha Mrs. Moriah Weiss. Rabbi David Weiss is currently the NSHA Chair of the Talmud Department as well as the Maggid Shiur and Coordinator of the Post-12th Grade Program at the Camp Morasha Kollel, while Mrs. Weiss is a Professor of Tanach and Jewish History at Stern College, and is pursuing a doctorate in Medieval Jewish History at Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies.

“We are continuing to push the boundaries of what an elite Modern Orthodox, academically rigorous, and religiously nurturing school can look like while meeting the needs of every student,” said Rabbi Miller. “In addition to providing a premier general studies education, we are dedicated to making our Torah education truly exceptional. With the opportunity to learn with emerging Torah scholars and educators who are also relatable role models, our students will be encouraged to grow personally and connect with Jewish learning. They will be better prepared to attend the top yeshivot and seminaries in Israel and most importantly, be inspired to live lives committed to Torah and Mitzvot.”


An immersive Torah learning experience

The Kollel/Midrasha fellows will have the rare opportunity to immerse themselves in this unique atmosphere from both a learner’s and teacher’s perspective. After joining the students for shacharit each morning, fellows will learn in the Beit Midrash, attend shiurim (lectures), join existing classes to study in smaller groups with students, and teach their own classes.

The fellows’ presence will make it possible for NSHA to offer smaller classes; more opportunities for Beit Midrash and Torah text study; greater individualized attention; and opportunities to deepen students’ skills in researching, writing, and delivering Divrei Torah.

Beyond their role in the school day itself, fellows will be invited to participate in chagigot and Shabbatonim, create programs for parents to learn with their children, and spearhead community-wide learning opportunities. With both a Kollel and Midrasha, the program allows for a separate but parallel avenue of learning for boys and girls alike, in line with NSHA’s co-ed values.

“We look forward to partnering with NSHA to develop the next generation of Jewish teachers, leaders, and learners,” said Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz, Director of the Semicha Program at RIETS. “We have great confidence in the NSHA faculty’s ability to train our best and our brightest as they prepare to impact the Jewish people for years to come.”


A path to Torah pedagogy in the classroom

While students will benefit from more in-depth Torah learning from the brightest minds in Jewish leadership, fellows will receive real-world experience as educators coupled with pedagogical training, lesson and curriculum design, and classroom management support from the NSHA faculty.

“The Kollel/Midrasha fellowship offers young Torah scholars a high-level and rigorous Torah learning environment so they can advance their own Torah learning while also advancing their personal and professional growth. We’re pairing a serious learning program with a serious teaching program to help facilitate the fellows’ transition from the Beit Midrash to the classroom,” said Rabbi Weiss.

“In the rabbinic field, there’s a rabbinic internship model where rabbis-in-training get a taste of what it’s like to lead a congregation. This is the first program where Torah scholars can get a real taste of what it’s like to teach in a classroom while being supported in the process,” said Rabbi Weiss.

As part of the program, fellows will also serve as living role models for students, inspiring students in their Torah studies and embodying Torah values.

“There’s something unmatched about a cohort of individuals who are passionate about Jewish education coming together, sharing ideas, and teaching Torah,” said Mrs. Weiss. “This is also an opportunity for students to strengthen their Jewish identity, their relationship with Torah learning, and their connection to Israel.”

By Rachel Sales