Use this player to listen now to Rabbi Rosenstein discussing and answering questions about Tomer Devorah at a Parlor Meeting in Los Angeles, or, read the FAQ below.
A great way to learn all about Tomer Devorah!
Who is Tomer Devorah for?
Tomer Devorah is a seminary for dedicated students who are looking for two things: a year of, first, expanding their intellectual and academic horizons and, second, focusing on internal, personal growth and development.
With a dual focus on building both textual/learning skills and the character of the students, Tomer Devorah offers a unique environment of in-class and extracurricular activities geared towards developing the whole young Jewish woman. In short, Tomer Devorah is a seminary for a student who is looking to maximize her experience in Israel.
What is Tomer Devorah’s educational philosophy?
Tomer Devorah does not seek to fit all students into a mold of any type. Encouraging students to truly be themselves and develop in a personalized, individual fashion, Tomer Devorah will lay a solid foundation of Torah learning and character growth that will graduate self assured and capable young women who will pursue their goals and dreams with determination and focus.
Maintaining an uncommonly high staff-to-student ratio and employing full time madrichot and mechanchot provides an educational environment that allows a student to truly thrive.
What is the hashkafah of the school?
At Tomer Devorah, we maintain that the Torah contains within it the way of life for every Jew. Each person is an individual with her own strengths, personality, and character traits.
We seek to show our students how the Torah can be their own personal guidebook for living fulfilling and gratifying lives. Our students will be inspired and empowered to enter into the post-seminary world with a broad, healthy perspective on life, Torah values, and the greater Jewish community.
Our curriculum and programming are geared to enabling the Tomer Devorah student to successfully overcome the constant barrage of tests and challenges that face the young modern woman in today’s day and age.
What are Tomer Devorah’s educational goals for the students?
There are certain skills and Torah concepts that every young Jewish woman should acquire in her year in seminary. Our curriculum and course instruction are geared toward that end.
At the same time that students are being filled with knowledge of Torah, they will also be gaining the requisite skills and tools to continue their Torah education beyond their year in seminary.
A unique aspect of the Tomer Devorah curriculum is our Afternoon Beit Midrash period. During this time, students will have the opportunity to expand their horizons by delving into any particular areas of Torah knowledge that they, as individuals, seek to explore.
Either in small groups or through one-on-one attention by our skilled Beit Midrash staff, the students will take solid strides in both their Torah knowledge base and their Torah learning abilities.
How many hours of class are there daily and weekly?
In recent years, we have completely restructured the Tomer Devorah Weekly Schedule. With our new schedule, every student has the opportunity to:
- Pick her own classes
- Place an emphasis on Tanach, text, halachah or hashkafah
- Create her own unique weekly schedule of classes and breaks
- Challenge herself with the new Matmidot Program
All students must have a minimum of 40 Weekly Class Hours and must fulfill the following weekly requirements:
Tanach – 12 Hours/Week Minimum
Halacha – 7 Hours/Week Minimum
Hashkafa – 6 Hours/Week Minimum
Eretz Yisrael – 1 Hour/Week Minimum
Parsha – 1 Hour/Week Minimum
In addition to these required hours, all students must enroll in:
- 4 Hours of Mechanechet Classes Weekly (including 1 Personal Mechanechet Meeting)
- 6 Hours of Night Classes Weekly
- 2 Hours of Chesed Weekly
To qualify for the Matmidot Program students must:
- Have at least 43 Weekly Class Hours
- Enroll in the Parshat HaShavua Self Study Program
- Attend Shacharit daily in the TD Beit Midrash
Please see the Sample Daily Schedule.
What classes are taught as part of the Tomer Devorah curriculum?
For our well-rounded and exciting list of courses, please see the Course Catalog.
How does the new Tomer Devorah Schedule work?
Courses are divided into departments: Tanach, Halacha, Hashkafa Parsha, and Eretz Yisrael. [In addition, all students have 4 weekly hours of Mechanechet Classes, 6 weekly hours of Night Classes and 2 weekly hours of Chessed.] In each department there is a minimum requirement of weekly class hours that each student must take. Each of the departments has Core Courses that all students must choose from, and Elective Courses that represent a selection of classes that students can choose to fulfill their weekly class requirements, or take as study periods, or for personal time. Meaning, once a student’s schedule has met the weekly requirements, she may choose to take more classes (whether to get more credits for college or for the Matmidot Program – see below), or opt out of taking more classes and use that time for studying or personal time instead.
What is the role of the Tomer Devorah Beit Midrash?
On campus is a fully stocked and spacious Beit Midrash, recently redone and dedicated in memory of Daniella Lee Casper. Several mornings and three afternoons a week, as part of the daily schedule, students meet in the Beit Midrash for study periods.
The Tomer Devorah Beit Midrash periods are an integral part of the academic structure of the school. The weekly sessions that the students spend in the Beit Midrash constitute a major part of their learning and educational experience. The seminary provides students with capable learning chavrutot/tutors to serve as study partners and mentors during these Beit Midrash sessions. Students will be paired up either one-on-one or in small groups with tutors to study their class material. The morning Beit Midrash sessions are devoted to Chumash class – either for delving more deeply into the sources or for working on fundamental Chumash skills. The Afternoon Beit Midrash sessions are more of a “freestyle” type of learning. Students – either individually or in small groups – can choose to learn on their own or with their tutor whatever they like. Whether it’s reviewing and delving into material from their classes or learning other subjects of interest, the tutors in the Afternoon Beit Midrash are prepared to work with the subject matter at each student’s own pace and according to her needs.
With this unique approach to individualized learning, the Tomer Devorah student will maximize her ability to gain the most for herself from the year.
Where is the new Tomer Devorah Campus located?
Beginning with the September 2016 school year, Tomer Devorah will be housed on the Beit Olot Campus in Sanhedria Hamurchevet, Jerusalem.
An organization for young women’s education called Beit Olot has been operating in Jerusalem for decades. 20 years ago they took a sprawling, beautiful tract of property in the heart of Jerusalem and built two large buildings, all enclosed in a fenced-in, guarded campus. Space became available in one of the buildings and Tomer Devorah Seminary is moving in. In addition to the newly renovated building that we will be using for the dorm and school facilities, Tomer Devorah students and staff will have access to the beautiful grounds of the campus. While we share the entrance gate and some of the grounds with the Beit Olot students, all of the Tomer Devorah building facilities and some of the grounds surrounding the building are exclusively for the Tomer Devorah students’ use.
Is the campus a part of the Sanhedria Hamurchevet community?
This is a great question. Sanhedria Hamurchevet is a thriving, bustling religious community in the heart of Jerusalem. While it is exciting to be connected to such a community, we have always prided ourself on our quiet neighborhood and grounds, with fresh air and a view of the Jerusalem Hills. With this move we have really gotten the best of both worlds. The campus is located adjacent to the Sanhedria Hamurchevet neighborhood (at the very bottom of the “Sanhedria Hamurchevet loop” for those of you familiar with the neighborhood). But to access the campus, one enters through a gate and goes down a tree lined path to get to the actual school area. The building sits on close to 2.5 acres of land and provides a quiet, serene atmosphere, while at the same time allowing the students full, easy access to all that the Sanhedria Hamurchevet community has to offer.
The majority of the teaching and Rakezet staff, as well as many tutors and the Tomer Devorah Mechanechet all live in the neighborhood of Sanhedria Hamurchevet itself or the neighborhoods of Ramat Eshkol, Maalot Dafna or Givat Himivtar which are immediately adjacent and within comfortable walking distance. The fact that so many staff members are so close to the school will have a huge impact on the students’ Shabbat and Chag experiences during their year. The staff are excited that the school and students will be that much closer and more accessible than ever before.
What is the new campus like?
The Tomer Devorah dorm and school building sit on approximately 2.5 acres of land. There is a large garden area with picnic tables and a large field for playing games or just sitting with friends, to enjoy the outdoors. Including a barbecue area, the field is completely private and enclosed, accessible only to students on the campus. There are large patios available for students to sit outside and study or have quiet conversations with staff or friends. There is even a basketball court, on campus!
Tomer Devorah has always been known for our warm, family-oriented feel. As a a place where everyone feels like they are living in their home, together, for the year. In the new building the setup will be exactly the same – everything under one roof! In our building we have all the dorm rooms, all the classrooms and offices, a stocked Beit Midrash, a huge student lounge with computers, dining room, laundry rooms and kitchen facilities – all the amenities that Tomer Devorah students have thrived on for ten years!
There are over two floors of dormitories in the new Tomer Devorah building. Each dorm room has 4-5 beds (most with no bunk beds!) and sufficient closet space for each student. Each dorm room has an adjacent bathroom and shower and there are laundry and basic kitchen facilities available on the dorm floors.
Are there busses or stores anywhere nearby the campus?
Certainly! There is a bus stop just feet from the entrance gate to the campus and stores a few minutes’ walk away. Right in Sanhedria Hamurchevet is a supermarket, bakery, dry cleaner and ice cream store. A quick bus ride or several minutes of walking will get the students to the central shopping street of Paran in the Ramat Eshkol neighborhood with a wide variety of shopping and services available.
Does Tomer Devorah provide meals?
In keeping with our belief that in order to maximize a student’s potential, she must feel comfortable and have a “well taken care of” feeling, the school provides for two nutritious, catered hot meals a day. In addition, the girls will have access to fully-equipped dorm kitchen facilities at all times.
What type of on-site supervision will Tomer Devorah provide?
The Eim Bayit lives in the immediate vicinity of the Tomer Devorah campus. Available at all times for the students, our warm and attentive Eim Bayit is on hand for seeing that all students’ needs are tended to. She is available to handle any emergency situations that may arise.
Will students have computer, internet or email access?
Yes. Recognizing that nowadays computers and internet are our students’ primary modes of communication, Tomer Devorah provides computer and high speed filtered internet access for its students.
Tomer Devorah provides computer consoles for students to use off located off of the Lounge. The computers have filtered internet access for students to b able to check their email (no need to change from their current email address), send home pictures, or do school work.
What is security like on the new campus?
We realize that security is an increasing concern for everyone nowadays and we are very happy to help set your mind at ease about the security of the school in the new location. The entire campus is enclosed by a fence with one gate at the entrance. There is a guard booth at the gate that is staffed full time with an armed guard, 24/7. No one is able to enter or exit the campus area without passing directly past the guard in the guard booth. In addition there are security cameras placed throughout the campus outside.
How does Tomer Devorah provide for student safety off campus?
Given the often changing and nuanced security situation in Israel, Tomer Devorah maintains a constantly updated list of places that students may or may not travel to or through unless express written permission is given by a particular student’s parent.
At times, certain areas may be deemed off limits completely. Being that we are here in Israel and closely monitoring the security situation in conjunction with security and police officials, Tomer Devorah will reserve the right to withhold permission for travel, even if permission is granted by a parent.
In addition, Tomer Devorah has a mandatory cell phone policy for the students.(Included in tuition costs is a heavily subsidized cell phone plan.) Students must carry their charged cell phones with them at all times.
Aside from the ability to be in touch when necessary, through our own network we will have the ability to send a text message to all students at once in the event of an urgent situation that all students must be made aware of.
How does Tomer Devorah provide for students on off-Shabbatot?
Students are welcome to stay on campus for Shabbat with staff supervision. Students who would like to eat meals at local families in Ramot are set up with appropriate families in the neighborhood.
In addition, there is a Shabbat placement program allowing students the option od spending Shabbar in many different locations throughout the country. Tomer Devorah students are placed with warm, caring, and inspring families, thus further enhancing their Shabbat experiences during this growth-filled year
Does Tomer Devorah have a curfew?
One of the most vital components of the Tomer Devorah safety and security policy is the nightly curfew for the students living in the dorms. In order to enable us to ensure the safety and whereabouts of our students, all students will be required to be back in the Tomer Devorah campus by 12:00am. We have done all that we can to make the Tomer Devorah facilities students’ “home away from home” for their year. When students return to the building at curfew, they will still have all the amenities of the campus available to them.
Extended Curfew can be granted, on a case by case basis, by the students’ Eim Bayit.
Will Tomer Devorah students be receiving transferable college credits?
Yes. Details will be forthcoming.
How does Tomer Devorah observe Yom Ha’atzmaut?
Because our student body comes from diverse backgrounds and varying practices and customs, Tomer Devorah helps each student to recognize and celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut in an appropriate manner.
For example, we will provide transportation for students who desire to go to Merkaz HaRav Kook for tefillot and dancing. For those students who are interested, the school will provide an optional tiyul and picnic.
What does the tuition at Tomer Devorah include?
The tuition at Tomer Devorah includes all dormitory costs, all academic fees, two hot catered meals a day, all Shabbatonim and tiyulim, all school related activities, and free email and internet access in the student lounge. Books and school supplies, as well as mandatory health insurance and cell phone plans are not included in tuition.
What type of post-seminary support does Tomer Devorah offer?
Tomer Devorah maintains contact with its alumnae in several unique ways:
- Alumnae Reunions and Shabbatonim:Tomer Devorah organizes post-seminary events and programs for its alumnae. We realize that many of the friendships and bonds formed during this year last a lifetime. We desire to facilitate maintaining these bonds— both with friends and staff.
Tomer Devorah staff members travel to America for an annual reunion Shabbaton and programming. Like any close-knit family, we seek to continue our relationships and connections for a lifetime.
- Rabbinic Support Network:While a student certainly has at her disposal countless teachers, rabbanim, and mentors during her year in Israel, sometimes, once she returns home to America, she may have a hard time finding an advisor or guide.
We provide our alumnae with a network of American rabbanim to whom our students can turn. Throughout the year in Israel, several American rabbanim will come to the seminary, deliver workshops and be introduced to the students.
Then, once a student has returned to America, she will have a familiar name and face to contact, should she choose to do so. As part of the extended “Tomer Devorah family,” these rabbanim are available specifically for Tomer Devorah alumnae.
- Professional Network:After returning home and continuing with their adult and professional lives, there may be times that students will seek guidance and support regarding the career they are entering.
Tomer Devorah maintains a network of successful professionals in various popular fields who are available for discussion with Tomer Devorah alumnae. These professionals can give college-age students direction and advice about their given fields of work.