Edinburgh, 21 June – 23 July 2023
The Azara Summer Programme is the first ever cross-communal yeshiva programme in the UK.
It’s an unprecedented chance to immerse in Jewish texts, deepen your relationship with Judaism, and learn how to shape your own tradition.
We welcome people of all backgrounds, genders, and levels of experience to join us in a month-long exploration of Talmud and other Jewish texts. Together, we’ll create a community of learners where no question is too difficult to ask or answer. Through world-class teaching, you can build the skills to engage with Torah on your own terms.
The programme is based in the very centre of Edinburgh, five minutes’ walk from Waverley Station, the central shops and museums, and Edinburgh Castle. Participants will live within walking distance of classes, central attractions, and Orthodox and Liberal synagogue services. Accommodation, breakfast and lunch will be provided for all participants.
Update 3rd May 2023: Some more spaces have opened up for our summer Yeshiva program and will be available on a rolling basis. Please use the link below to apply as soon as possible.
The priority deadline for applications will be 15 February 2023. We will then schedule short informal interviews with applicants so that we can get to know each other and discuss your learning goals. After the deadline, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis as space allows.
When evaluating applications, we are looking for people who:
- are motivated to learn Jewish texts
- want to use their learning to contribute to the wider Jewish community, particularly in the UK and Europe (though not exclusively)
- are happy to learn and create community with participants from different backgrounds, genders, denominations and skill levels
- are open to having conversations about the personal, emotional, and spiritual implications of the material we will learn.
What will a typical day look like?
Here is a draft schedule:
8.00 a.m. student-led tefillah
Participants will organise different forms of prayer/meditation/reflection that are likely to include Orthodox, Masorti/trad-egal, and Progressive options.
8.45 a.m. Breakfast
Breakfast is provided, vegetarian, and certified kosher. Washing up is communal.
9.30 a.m. Talmud
This three-hour block every morning is an opportunity to dig deep into one of Judaism’s most central books. Learning will be done in small classes, with everybody studying the same perek (chapter). Beginners will be learning how to start making meaning from the original Hebrew and Aramaic text, while more advanced students will be continuing their learning and building skills for reading Rashi, Tosafot, and other commentators.
12.30 p.m. Lunch
Lunch is provided, vegetarian, and kosher.
1.30 p.m. First afternoon class
Afternoon classes will be from a choice of options likely to include Hebrew, Aramaic, Tanach (Bible), Halachah (Jewish Law), Jewish mysticism, midrash/agadah (extra-Biblical stories), and modern Jewish philosophy.
3.00 p.m. Mincha and break
3.30 p.m Second afternoon class
Who is eligible to take part in the programme?
All adults who are motivated to learn Jewish texts are eligible to take part in the programme. We expect participants will have a wide range of personal practices (although all official programming will be shomer shabbat and hechsher kosher so as to be maximally accessible). Our faculty are Orthodox, Masorti, halachic-egalitarian, Reform, Liberal, non-affiliated, men, women, straight and queer.
Please see the application criteria above for how we will make decisions within this.
I don’t have much experience studying Jewish texts, is this programme for me?
Yes! We ask that all participants are familiar with their alef-bet (Hebrew alphabet), and we can provide resources to help you reach this before the programme starts if necessary.
I have extensive experience studying Jewish texts, is this programme for me?
Yes! If you have spent multiple years in yeshiva or equivalent, please be in touch with us so we can make sure that we have learning (and a chevruta) at a suitable level for you.
I want to come, but can’t commit to the whole month – is there a way for me to learn for less time?
In order to create community and to provide an immersive experience, we do require participants to commit to the whole month. Locals will be able to sign up to individual classes if they would like. We are considering having an open week for those who might be interested in joining for a short time—please check for more information closer to the time.
How much will it cost?
Rather than having a set fee, participants will contribute through a ‘pay what you can’ model.
Suggested contributions are at three levels, including accommodation, breakfast, and lunch for the month:
Unwaged – £400
Waged – £800
Supporter – £1600
We are dependent on your contributions to run the programme, but nobody will be turned away for lack of funds.
Will the programme meet my access needs?
All programming is wheelchair accessible, and we will send the AccessAble guide for the rooms we are using to all participants in advance. If you would like to discuss a specific access need, please contact us using the form or speak to Miriam Kunin, below.
Will childcare be provided?
If there’s demand, we hope to be able to provide a creche service for participants. Please let us know in your application if you might be interested in childcare.
What is your COVID policy?
Azara is committed to enabling everyone to participate safely as fully as possible. We will make final decisions reflective of the situation closer to the time.
Can I find out more before I apply?
If you would like to talk on the phone about any aspect of the summer programme, please reach out to schedule a call with Miriam Kunin here. Alternatively, you can email us using the form below.
We’d love to hear from you.
If you have any questions about Azara or the application process, please fill out the form to the right and we’ll be in touch soon.