Shirat Devorah Opens Her Doors!

During the Month of May, in preparation for receiving the Torah, Shirat Devorah is opening up some classes to the community! Untill now, our incredible classes, taught in our beautiful homestead, were available only to students enrolled in our year program. Now you are invited to join us! This period of time between Pesach and Shavuot is a special time to immerse in Torah study and prepare to receive the Torah anew on Shavuot.  Join us in our learning!


1. “What are We Really Doing when We Pray?” with Rav Aaron Liebowitz, Dean, HaOhel Institutions

    Thursdays in May, 3-5 pm (May 3, 10, 17, 24) 


Make your way through a number of texts from great Jewish thinkers and their ideas about tephila and their personal relationship to it. Students will study Hebrew sources in Chevruta, followed by a shiur with Rav Aaron. This class will surely deepen your own relationship to tephila as well as strengthen your skills.


2.  “What Really Happened at Har Sinai?”  with Rav Yosef Liebowitz

     Tuesdays in May, 3:30 – 5 pm (May 1, 8, 15, 22)


Rav Yosef’s probing mind and far-reaching vision explores what really happened at Har Sinai and its significance for us today. He locates Har Sinai in the context of the key elements of the book of Shemot and understands the mishkan as an attempt to recapture the Sinai experience. Expand your understanding of this seminal moment in Jewish/World history and prepare for Shavuot!


3.  Torah SheBaal Peh with Rav Natan Siegel

    Wednesday mornings, 10am – 12 pm (May 2, 9 , 16, 23)


Have you been looking for a way in to a deeper understanding of Torah SheBaal Peh, what it is, how it works, and its relationship to Torah SheBichtav? Have you been wondering if there are chassidic insights on Torah SheBaal Peh? Look no further you have found your class! Rav Natan will introduce students to the structures of Torah SheBaal Peh and then in classic yeshiva style, students will prepare the mishna material in chevruta, followed by an insightful shiur. RAv Natan brings something one rarely gets in most seminaries on Torah SheBaal Peh…Chasidut!


4.“Halachic Process Chabura.” with  Rav Mike Feuer 

     Mondays, 2:30 – 3:30 pm (April 30, May 7, 14, 21)


This class will focus on a particular halachic concept and follow it all the way from foundational sources to modern articulation. You will gain an understanding of how halacha journeys through many stages from it’s first mention (direct or implied) to how it is actually practiced today (halacha limaaseh).  Sources will be read together as a group. Following this course, you will feel much more empowered in your understanding, study, and practice of halacha.


5.  “Am Yisrael’s Journey: Our Revolutionary Time in History.” with Rav Mike Feuer

     Tuesdays, 2:00 – 3:30 pm (May 1, 8, 15, 22)


This class will consider such questions as “Why did half the Jews chuck their tefillin in the Volga River when the doors of the ghetto first opened,” and “How does Torah maintain relevance in the face of modernity and post-modern challenges,” not to mention “What is the significance of the modern state of Israel to Am Yisrael?” Your understanding of the modern state of Israel will never be the same again.


6.   “The Book of Ruth: An In Depth Study” with Chaya Passow

      4 mornings, 9:45 am – 12 pm (May 6, 7, 8, and 10 or May 13, 14, 15, and 17) 


Megilat Rut is the special megila read on Shavuot. This class will give students chevruta time to read through the perakim (one a day) followed by Chaya’s insightful analysis. This class will surely add a new dimension to your understanding of Shavuot.


These classes are open to any female student who wants to learn. Classes are offered as a 4-part series.  All classes pre-suppose some knowledge of Hebrew except for “Am Yisrael’s Journey,” and “What Really Happened at Sinai.”

All classes are for a suggested donation of 120 NIS

To Register Call: 054-932-969

NEW EVENT: Rav Aaron and the Opportunity for Spiritual Growth on Yom Hashoah. Wednesday 18 April, 8pm, Shirat Devorah

NEW EVENT: Rabbi Mike Feuer and Making Yom Hashoah Meaningful and Relevant. Tuesday 17 April, 8pm, Shirat Devorah

NEW ARTICLE: Yehoshua Looks in Haaretz-Turning Friday into Erev Shabbat

Read the latest Haaretz article by Yehoshua Looks, Managing Director of HaOhel Institutions, in which he describes a major transition in his life as he moved to Israel from the US and learned to appreciate how special preparing for Shabbat can be–especially when the preparations are not only cooking and cleaning!


[photo credit:  slgckgc ]

NEW POST: Rabbi Mike Feuer-A Message From Beyond

A Message from Beyond

Just this morning before barchu I looked down at my siddur. The Ari z”l had left me a note. Some thoughtful editor had ensured that I couldn’t miss his words (at least today) by placing them in the appropriate margin. Your neshama, he said, is returning now, at this moment.

Troubled, I looked up from the page. This cast serious doubt on everything I had done (or who had done it!) since I woke. I looked around for further explanation, but evidently marginal constraints did not allow for articulation. I would have frozen in shock, but the half-minute to read his note was all I had.  No time now for wonder.

I bowed and blessed, and off we raced. I was still vibrating from p’sukei dzimra. The joys and fears of serving Gd in the world make up most of my day, and to me these verses are their perfect expression. Today they had me shaking with joy as I crossed together with the people through the Red Sea.[1] I felt ready for anything, soulless though I was.

Moving from psukei d’zimra to kriyat shema is a shift from emotional resonance to mental clarity. My heart is open, now it’s time to lay the foundation for prayer. I gather myself to accept the unity of Gd, grateful that my neshama is with me. We are in the world of briah[2] now, the realm of cognition. It’s not about what I feel, but what I know; or rather, how I know it.

Suddenly, the message becomes clear. This is not a time to believe that Gd is One, it is a chance to be at One with Gd. My neshma comes to teach, not to learn. Whatever pieces of me that were awake up[3] to now, building toward this moment of union, are suddenly stitched together by the piece of me which comes directly from Gd.[4]

Awestruck by the Ari z”l’s wisdom, I open to the song of my soul. The idea of unity blossoms into the state of union. I connect upward, and creation flows out from within. The horizon of my mind recedes into the realm of boundless possibility. I am ready to pray.

[1] See Mishna Berurah  51:17

[2] I am grateful to Rav Daniel Kohn for revealing to me the progression through the 4 worlds which underlies the structure of morning prayer. Check out his audio shiurim on this and other tefillah topics appearing on our website soon!

[3] In addition to the four worlds, there is a process of waking the soul from nefesh in the berachot and korbanot, to ruach in psukei to neshama in kriyat shema on to chaya/yechida in amidah and tachanun

[4] Iyov 31:2

NEW POST: Rabbi Mike Feuer- When Words Get in the Way

Words Get in the Way

When I first met the siddur it was truly sacred. I knew the letters, but the words were closed to me. Nevertheless the music of the prayers resonated in my deepest places. To sway with the reader’s repetition was to touch mystery.

As I grew life filled with language; a stream of consciousness rising over my head. Through the grace of wise teachers, I took hold of sentences. I became an information processing machine, words were my code. The sound of prayer receded, and with it practice.

Later, I stood up on the paragraphs and began to see. As I rose upright, the siddur slipped from my hand. Its ancient words could not hold me. Mystery dissipated in the light of reason and I was unbound. The words flowed from inside my heart, not off the page.

Later still, the ambiguity of life reasserted itself. It is a short step from complexity to confusion. Now I wallowed in words, denying their truth; bound by their reality. The siddur sat closed on my shelf, and I blushed on the darkness of my bed. There could be no retreat into infancy, no opiate for the fevered imagination. And yet, they were only words.

Tentatively I turned the pages, the smell of sunshine on the grass filling my mind. Narrowness became focus, anachronism the texture of historical experience. My eyes brimmed as I start to sway. A thousand lifetimes of longing lumped in my throat, the words could not get out. The tears washed away any passing meaning, and the shapes of the letters reappeared.

Language still fills my life. Not sentences and paragraphs but song and verse. Learning brings the words into focus, but if they freeze in static emptiness my tears can set them free. The mystery moves me, and I sway to the sound of my own prayer.




NEW ARTICLE: Rav Aaron Leibowitz in Haaretz-Are We Jews Having Fun Yet?

Check out Rav Aaron’s latest piece in Haaretz, where he explores the real and meaningful side of happiness and joy: Hope.

Rav Aaron is in currently in NY through Tuesday, New Orleans Wednesday-Thursday, and Boca Raton for Shabbat. He can be reached at: 646-558-2072 or


Painting by Joshua Benson

Women’s Megillah Reading with Shirat Devorah!

Purim is Coming! Purim is Coming!

Join us for a Women’s Megillah Reading at Shirat Devorah!
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to hear the Megilla of Esther, a story of a woman’s heroism, chanted by women?

Join us for a Women’s Megillah Reading at Shirat Devorah!

Thursday Evening: 8:15 pm
Friday Morning: 9:00 am

Location; 30 Einayim LiMishpat

Light Refreshments.

A Women’s Reading for Women Only. Co-sponsored by Va’Ani Tephila Congregation and Shirat Devorah Seminary.

Bring your megillah! Bring your noise-maker! Bring your desire to transform and increase good in the world!


Tu B’shvat at Shirat Devorah was Tree-Light-ful!

We had a great seder with insights from the students, did some egg decorating, and we went planting on Tu B’shvat day!

Here are some pictures of all the Tu B’Shvat activities (seder and planting next day).

Some quotes from the participants:

“Before I taste the food, I like to absorb it’s spiritual essence.”

“The focus up until Tu B’Shvat is what is coming down into the world to nourish us. After Tu B’shvat, the focus shifts to what the plants (and we) are bringing out from within. Actualizing our potentials to bear fruit. What have your roots been soaking up? What fruits will you bear this year?”

Tu B’shvat with Shirat Devorah!

Tuesday Evening, February 7, 7:30 pm — Tu B’Shvat Seder — Experience a mystical night of fruity delights, meditation, and movement towards new growth. Seder will be co-led by Elana Friedman and Yehudit Feld and include insights from…you!
Come prepared to fruit!
This event is also open to other women, especially those interested in Shirat Devorah, with a suggested donation of 30 nis.