“After joining Birthright Israel, I knew I wanted more. Neve furthered my Jewish education and passion for Judaism”
Neve College for Women boasts four levels, each one building on the next. A student who wants to be truly empowered with accessibility to Torah wisdom that will sustain her for the rest of her life needs to work through as many of these levels as possible. Neve is a revolving door program, where virtually any day of the year is an acceptable entry time, and the length of stay is not pre-defined.
During a young woman’s stay at Neve she is encouraged to interact with other students from different levels. Students join together during meals and extracurricular activities. Interaction of students at different levels is an important part of each student’s Neve experience.
Mechina is the six-week introductory program to the fundamentals of Judaism. It is designed for inquisitive students who have little or no background. In addition, many students who do have some background feel that they have missed out on the basics. In Mechina, the emphasis is equally on “why be Jewish” as it is on “how to be Jewish”. No previous knowledge of Judaism and the Hebrew alphabet are required.
The second level, Gesher, begins to teach the “how of Judaism”. “Gesher is a mildly textual level. The students are introduced to how to study the original Biblical text, while simultaneously exploring some of the grand ideas associated with these texts. There is an introduction to mussar (a system of self-growth) and Chassidut (Hasidic philosophy). There is an overview of halacha – Jewish Law both the interpersonal commandments (mitzvot) and the other primary areas of observance, such as the laws of Shabbat and the laws of kashrut. Jewish philosophy is discussed, based on the text of the Kuzari as well as a class on the core beliefs of Judaism. There is a class on the meaning of daily prayers in the siddur, and a class on the thirteen Principles of Faith. In Gesher, we deepen the student’s knowledge of the Jewish annual cycle. Also, Gesher includes a self-development workshop and a class on the mussar method of self-development.
The third level, Yesod, provides a foundation to sustainable, integrated Jewish practice. Heightened textual proficiency and in- depth study in halacha, chassidut, and mussar are key components of this level. Halacha now goes into details, and chumash is studied at a level that leads to textual proficiency over time. There is a class on the meaning of the prayers. Unique teachers in this level, teach subjects such as the Jewish Woman and Ethics of our Fathers. Rounding off this level are classes on the Jewish annual cycle, the Five Megilos, Jewish history and Ulpan, a Hebrew language course.
Afikim, the fourth level of the Neve program is designed for the person who wants to maintain a full commitment to Judaism with independent access to the texts. This level provides a way for the student to integrate what she studies in the classroom to life beyond the Neve experience. The class includes a specific class on skills building, and the Chumash is studied with the students themselves translating in class. There are classes on practical Jewish living, on midot (character) growth, on prayer, and halacha. Mesilas Yesharim, the great mussar work, is studied inside, with practical application to life. To familiarize the student with the Torah world, Afikim provides a course that studies the lives and work of great rabbis of the past few centuries.