The New York Kollel, a 12-year-old adult education program that has met at the Reform movement’s rabbinical seminary in Manhattan and offered advanced yeshiva-style studies from a non-denominational, non-Orthodox perspective, is giving its last classes this summer.
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, which has housed and helped support the Kollel since 1995, announced this spring that it would close the program, following a two and a half year “strategic planning process” that found the Kollel to be a financial drain.
Jerusalem — Nine students are sitting around a table in a sunny classroom near the Old City, studying verses from the Midrash. Their bearded teacher, a knit kipa on his head, leads them in a discussion of the passage’s biblical roots and some possible interpretations.
Sounds like a typical yeshiva scene.
But most of the students are wearing blue jeans. The class includes bareheaded men — and several women.
Not a typical yeshiva scene.