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Jewish learning What is the Teen Beit Midrash?

By Rabba Claudia Marbach

What is the Teen Beit Midrash?

Teen Beit Midrash of Hebrew College (TBM) is a pluralistic and inclusive after-school program for teens in grades 8-12. TBM brings together a dedicated and diverse group of Jewish teens who are excited to delve into traditional Talmudic text and find contemporary meaning relevant to our lives. We open the library of our Jewish heritage to help teens understand our multi-voiced, nuanced tradition and gain the skills to reach their own conclusions. Together we learn, build community, and have fun.

Teens and Talmud learning? Tell me more.

The Talmud is an amazing anthology of the greatest thoughts of the Jewish people gathered over 700 years. Jews have been studying, thinking about and arguing about its stories, laws, history, values, ethics and jokes ever since. The rabbis who wrote the Talmud were interested in big questions such as how do we create systems of justice that work, why do bad things happen to good people, and how to make God do what we want? Teens are also interested in these big questions and how to make the world a better place.

Learning Talmud is also counter cultural. It takes time and concentration unlike most of our lives which are hurried. TBM creates a place where teens can take the time and study for the sake of studying—we have no tests or deadlines.

I don’t know much Hebrew. Can I still contribute to the discussions in the beit midrash?

We require basic reading skills, but we don’t assume that anyone comes with a background in Talmud. We teach you dictionary skills and grammar. We have source sheets with two levels of support. We also teach our teens how to learn in hevruta or a traditional study pair. We meet you where you are and help you grow. And yes, everyone is able to be part of our discussions.

What does an average meeting look like?

In-person we start to gather between 6-6:20 p.m. Then we gather for dedications and fandom (where different people share their passions). We usually have a short introduction that highlights a theme or a language skill. We then transition to hevruta (partner) learning for the bulk of the time. During hevruta time you work with your partner and are supported by the teachers. We have a snack break and finish with our meaning-making class, which ends at 8:30 p.m.

Our online program is slightly condensed because we are sure that no one wants to be on Zoom for more than 1.5 hours. That said, we study the same texts in both cohorts.

We also have an annual Shabbaton when we bring our two cohorts together for a weekend to learn, socialize, and play together.

Can you describe the TBM community?

The TBM community is intellectually curious and fun. We have teens who go to public and private schools and sometimes homeschoolers. We have science kids, musicians, theater/tech kids, history buffs, artists, and a surprising number of rock-climbing enthusiasts. As they say themselves, TBM is not for everyone but check out our video and hear them say it in their words.

Who should apply to be part of the TBM?

Anyone who thinks it is fun to figure out what Judaism means to them by learning from our original amazing texts.

How much does the program cost?

The in person option is $2450 for a full year and online is $2100. We have generous scholarships and costs should not be a barrier to attend.


Teen Beit Midrash of Hebrew College is a pluralistic and inclusive after school program for teens in grades 8-12. The program brings together a dedicated and diverse group of Jewish teens who are excited to delve into traditional Talmudic text and find contemporary meaning relevant to our lives. We open the library of our Jewish heritage to help teens understand our multi-voiced, nuanced tradition and gain the skills to reach their own conclusions. Learn more on our website.

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