Exploring the power of dialogue and meaningful connection

Supported by The Harry and Jane Fischel Foundation

  • A 3-day Israel retreat devoted to the practice of prayer, the power of language and our inner selves

  • Online learning and training with Rav Zinger’s staff

  • Peer-led chaburot on campus

Fifteen college students took a respite from college life and ventured to Kfar Etzion, Israel, located in the idyllic Judean Mountains, to participate in a transformative experience: a 3-day Winter Tefillah Retreat with Rabbi Dov Zinger (Dean of Makor Chaim High School and founder of the Beit Midrash L’hitchadshut). The program, supported by the Harry and Jane Fischel Foundation, was the first program of its kind for English speaking college students.  

Sixteen years ago, Rabbi Dov Zinger founded the Beit Midrash L’hitchadshut. At the core of the Beit Midrash’s programming are weekly tefillah chavurot, with over 50 chavurot this year in Israel. The chavurot are based on the premise that communicating deeply with friends builds an individual's internal religious world and has repercussions on his/her relationship with G-d. Jewish texts are at the center of the learning program and participants interact with each text as “a guest” who is coming to teach them a message unique to their lives. “The goal of the program,” said Aviad Bazak (Director of the Beit Midrash L’hitchadshut), “is to teach people how to create a meaningful religious world grounded in Torah that can accompany them in their day to day lives.” Rabbi Dov Zinger and the staff of the Beit Midrash L’hitchadshut were impressed by the college students, their thirst for growth and their ability to learn.  “We really got to experience Rav Zinger’s Torah firsthand and learned a new approach to tefillah and mindfulness. It was a very powerful and positive experience,” said Elen-Sarrah Dolgopolskaia (Cornell University ‘21).  Students plan on continuing their learning once they return to campus. And the Beit Midrash L’chitchadshut sees this as the beginning of adapting their program to English-speaking audiences in the US. 

Rav Dov Zinger

Rav Dov Zinger