Frequently Asked Questions

In The Classroom

Who is a typical student?

Nishmat’s Alisa Flatow International Program is unique in that there is no “typical” student. We have students from all over the world who range in age, from current college students to retirees. What they share is a desire to study Torah and a spirit of open inquiry. This diverse student body provides a richness to our program, as women from all backgrounds learn together and build a warm, caring community.

What is unique about Nishmat?

Nishmat is unique in its combination of text-based learning within an authentic Israeli living environment. Text-based learning allows each student to think and learn independently, and to analyze how their Torah learning and Judaism influence their personal growth.

Chavruta (partner study) of the classical texts of Judaism is central to the experience of studying at Nishmat. Independent study is combined with guidance from teachers who encourage open intellectual debate, independent textual skills and religious growth. Students are also part of a wider community of Jewish scholarship, sharing the Beit Midrash with Israelis, a program for students of Ethiopian origin, and advanced scholars, who are studying to become halachic advisors.

What will I learn at Nishmat?

Nishmat exposes you to the breadth and depth of all Jewish texts and subjects – Tanach, Gemara, Halacha, Chassidut, Jewish Philosophy and Tefilla. You will develop the skills to approach classical Jewish texts with confidence and independence, and the knowledge to ask educated questions and be an active participant in Jewish learning.

What is the language of instruction?

Teachers of the Alisa Flatow Program are all native English speakers and instruction is given in English.During the summer, and occasionally during the year, advanced students are provided with custom-designed courses taught in Hebrew.

Do I need to know Hebrew?

No previous knowledge is necessary to attend. While most classes involve studying classical Jewish sources in Hebrew and Aramaic, word lists and translations are available for many of the sources. Our teachers and tutors will help you work through the material, and as your skills develop, you will be more confident with texts in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.

What kind of connection does the faculty have with the students?

A close family atmosphere binds faculty and students, who together form a supportive, caring community. You will have the wonderful opportunity of spending many Shabbatot with teachers and fellow students. Organized trips and Shabbat meals spent together provide opportunities for students and faculty to meet outside the classroom walls. Trained members of the staff also offer counseling hours for interested students.

What religious affiliations do the students have?

Nishmat students come from all backgrounds and are committed to growing in their observance of halacha. Students are encouraged to learn and make decisions about their religious lives independently.

Do I have to keep kosher or be observant at Nishmat?

On our premises, we keep kosher and follow the laws of Shabbat and Yom Tov.

Is there a dress code?

Students are asked to dress in a respectful way in the Beit Midrash and classrooms of Nishmat i.e. skirts and t-shirts with sleeves.

I’m planning to study in Israel for a year but haven’t decided which program to attend; can I sit in on classes?

Yes. You are welcome to visit (with prior coordination) and sit in on classes. By all means, use this opportunity to speak with faculty and students!

When do classes begin?

The Alisa Flatow International Program runs from September to June, with options of joining for either Fall or Spring semesters. The program opens with a special Elul program which charges you up spiritually for the High Holidays. Please see our academic calendar for program dates.

Under special circumstances, we are open to creating individualized programs of learning and timetables. Please be in touch with info@nishmat.net about personalizing your learning program at Nishmat.
During July we offer a three-week Summer Institute which provides an immersion experience in Torah study and the Beit Midrash.

Is there a part-time study option?

Although you can best maximize your time at Nishmat by full time study, we know that this may not be a possibility for all women. We welcome part-time students who can commit to a consistent schedule. Please contact info@nishmat.net about part-time learning options.

Can I attend Nishmat for just a few weeks?

Yes. Our Summer Institute and Elul Program are both 3 week programs, and are ideal for those looking for a short-term learning option. If you are eager to attend our year/semester program for a shorter duration, please contact info@nishmat.net. When feasible, we try to accommodate such requests and help you customize your learning at Nishmat.

What happens on Shabbat and Chagim?

One of the main features of Nishmat is community. There are organized Shabbatot throughout the year – both at Nishmat and outside Jerusalem. Other Shabbatot and Chagim are free, with frequent invitations from teachers and alumnae who have made aliya. There are several young families who live on the Nishmat campus and provide Shabbat hospitality as well. In addition, The Alisa Flatow Program is staffed with a madricha who helps students arrange places for Shabbat or holidays.

Will I get academic credits for Nishmat?

Nishmat can provide transcripts accepted by many universities throughout the world. Please note that Nishmat classes do not give assignments, papers or tests.

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Dormitories/Facilities

Where is Nishmat located?

Nishmat is located on a beautiful campus, surrounded by gardens, in the Pat neighborhood of Jerusalem.

We are within walking distance (or a short bus-ride) from the coffee shops of Emek Refaim, the Talpiot shopping area, and the Malha Mall. Several buses stop near the Nishmat campus, and travel to locations across the city, including the Central Bus Station.

Does Nishmat have its own dorms?

Yes. Nishmat has apartment-style dormitories for its students. Each apartment has accommodation for five and includes a bathroom and dairy kitchen.

What is available in each apartment?

  • Refrigerator
  • Stovetop
  • Microwave or toaster oven
  • Electric kettle
  • Dishes, silverware, pots, pans, can opener
  • Telephone with voice mail for incoming calls only. You can make outgoing calls with a calling card or collect.
  • Broom, “sponga” (Israeli mops), and cleaning bucket
  • Heating system (central heating during certain hours of the day)
  • Fans

Students also have access to an elliptical machine.

What should I bring from home or buy in Israel for the apartment?

  • Hangers
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Toiletries
  • Linens – Every student must provide her own linen, pillow, and blanket

Note: When bringing electrical appliances (i.e. hairdryer), please remember that outlets in Israel are 220 watt.

How many meals are served each day?

Nishmat provides a hot, meat, mid-day meal each day for full-time students; part-time students can opt to order lunch in advance. Vegetarian entrees are available; please note this on your application form. Breakfast and dairy dinner are prepared by students in their apartments.

Where can I do my laundry?

There is a communal laundry room with coin-operated washing machines and dryers. The laundry room is also equipped with an ironing board and iron. Laundry detergents are not supplied.

How can I organize a cell phone for my time in Israel?

Nishmat has a special arrangement with the cell phone rental company, Talk n Save. If you sign up as a Nishmat student you will receive our special group discount.

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Extra-Curricular Activities

What extra-curricular activities are offered?

Our dynamic madricha organizes tiyulim (hikes), Shabbatonim, and a range of social and cultural activities for our students. Please see our calendar for details.

Will I get to see other parts of Israel?

Yes, Nishmat has student trips throughout the year to tour our beautiful land. In addition, many students choose to travel on their own during school breaks.

Are there opportunities for volunteer work?

Yes, we encourage and assist each student to find volunteer opportunities that suit their personality, capabilities and talents. Students have found meaningful volunteer work in old-age homes, pre-BatMitzvah tutoring of underprivileged teens, and with handicapped children.

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Administration

How long will it take after submitting an application until I find out if I am accepted?

After we have received your application, including your essays and two letters of recommendation, you should expect to receive an answer within 14 business days. If you have any questions regarding your application, please contact Sharon study@nishmat.net.

What is the cost (tuition & dormitory) for the Alisa Flatow International Program?

  • Full Year Program (full time) – $8000*
  • Fall or Spring Semester Only (full-time) – $4000*
  • Dormitory – $4000 (full year), $2000 (one semester)* [full-time students only]^*

* Discounts are available to alumni who have studied full-time for a full year in Nishmat, foreign residents who have an Israeli teudat zehut card, and Israeli citizens who reside in Israel. These discounts will be explained upon acceptance to the program.

If you wish to study for less than a full semester, please contact Tzipora for pricing office@nishmat.net.

Are there scholarships available?

Nishmat is partnered with MASA Israel Journey, a joint program of the Israeli Government and the Jewish Agency. MASA offers grants of $1000 – $7500 to eligible students between the ages of 18 and 31.
Nishmat has scholarships available throughout the year; please contact Sharon, study@nishmat.net, for more information.

In addition to these scholarships, there are other organizations that provide funding for Torah study in Israel, including:

Please contact these organizations and apply to their assistance programs as soon as you receive your acceptance to Nishmat to allow ample time for processing.

Stern College students please note: Stern College offers its students receiving financial aid, to receive the same benefits while studying at Nishmat.

Do you offer financial aid?

Nishmat would like to assist in making it financially feasible for you to enjoy the wonderful learning program that we provide. If you are not eligible for the scholarships above, or require additional assistance, we do have limited financial aid available. This assistance may include an interest-free loan, extended payment plans or a grant.

If you require financial aid, please fill in the financial aid section of the application form.

When will I find out about scholarships & financial aid?

You will receive a response to your application for a scholarship or financial aid within a month of your application.

MASA can take up to 30 days to respond to your initial application; we therefore recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. Some of the other organizations mentioned above give out scholarships on a rolling basis, so it is your interest to apply early.

Do I need a student visa?

Yes, Israeli law requires you to obtain a student visa after being in Israel for 3 months. Visa applications are processed at the Ministry of the Interior (Misrad Hapnim). Students who have an Israeli parent(s) must clarify their status with the local Israeli consulate before coming to avoid bureaucratic issues. No student visas should be obtained from outside of Israel.

We will let you know how to proceed with visa applications when you arrive at Nishmat.

What kind of health care does Nishmat offer?

All students are required to arrange for health insurance coverage while studying at Nishmat. You will be asked to submit verification of this coverage at the time of financial registration.

Nishmat recommends:

Despite the extensive coverage offered with these programs, we advise you NOT to cancel your regular health insurance as it may cover you in Israel if certain treatments are not included in their coverage, or should you need to return to home for any reason.

Please note: Dental, optical, psychological, psychiatric and ongoing treatment costs are not covered by AIM or CTAS.

Students who are taking medication for chronic conditions are asked to bring a sufficient supply as law often prohibits mailing or Fedexing medication. In addition, we recommend that you bring documentation that outlines the nature of the condition as well as an explanation of any medications you take. Please note, your privacy will be protected. It is extremely important to notify the staff at Nishmat if you do have a medical condition.

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Security

How does Nishmat deal with the unique security situation in Israel?

We understand and share the safety concerns of students and their families. We take all precautions to maximize safety while at Nishmat and on off-campus trips. Personal safety issues are discussed during orientation. There is a security guard on campus at Nishmat 24 hours a day for the duration of the academic year, as well as on Shabbatot and Chagim. Our building is also equipped with video surveillance cameras. Students are able to enter with a security code; all other visitors may enter only when admitted by the reception desk.

Where can I leave my valuables?

There is a safe in the office where passports, important documents and cash can be kept. There is also a locked storeroom for larger items.

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