Nishmat is located on a beautiful campus in Jerusalem’s Pat neighborhood, very close to Katamon and Talpiyot. Just a short bus ride from the Kotel (30 min), Emek Refaim (10 min), and the center of town (25 min), students are encouraged to explore the magnificent city of Jerusalem and make it their own. Nishmat is located right on the beautiful “Park Hamesila” jogging trail that students use and enjoy.
With its beautiful greenery and Jerusalem stone, the campus has a serene and warm feeling. Along the entrance to the buildings is a long pathway, commonly known as the “Shvil,” where students and teachers sit, hang out, learn, eat lunch, and relax. The campus includes student housing, a beautiful Bet Midrash, classrooms, and a Cheder Ochel.
The students live in Dirot, or apartments, that are completely integrated. Shana Ba’aretz students live with Israeli and Ethiopian students in each Dira. The Dirot have two bedrooms, a bathroom and a mini kitchen.
There are laundry machines, communal ovens and exercise machines for student use on campus as well.
Nishmat is a community beyond the Bet Midrash. Several young members of our teaching staff live on campus with their families, and students drop by for meals or just to talk both during the week and on Shabbatot. As Nishmat is the students’ home for the year, the campus is open throughout the entire year, including all Shabbatot and Chagim. Students can stay in by themselves or with friends any time they wish. There is a Minyan on campus on Shabbatot and a number of other Shuls close by.
Shabbatot are approximately every three weeks. They are either Shabbatot Midrasha–with the whole Midrasha on the Nishmat campus–or special Shabbatot just for Shana Ba’aretz. The Shana Ba’aretz Shabbatot are all over the country in a variety of communities geographically, culturally, and hashkafically. Some favorite Shabbatot include Yerucham, Tzfat, Kibbutz Maale Gilboa, Yad Binyamin, and Eilat. Each Shabbat explores a different theme or topic, and has a great program full of interesting speakers and Shiurim given by local professionals and educators. On some of these Shabbatot students are hosted by local families and have one of the Shabbat meals together. This allows them to get to know some of the families who live in that place and to experience it through their eyes.
Tiyulim, or trips, take place approximately twice a month and include a variety of cultural events and activities. We have three large Midrasha-wide tiyulim over the course of the year; typically one Tiyul occurs down south, one up north, and one in the center of the country. Additionally, we have half-day or whole-day hikes covering different areas of the country. We also visit different sites of interest; such as historic and cultural sties. We believe that it is imperative that you experience many facets of Israel–it greatly enhances your year of learning. These experiences will bring Israel to life from our Biblical heritage to our modern connection. Students are often amazed by the connection between their learning and the Land of Israel. One recent student said “I came to Nishmat for the incredible learning, but I was blown away by the amount and significance of tiyulim and shabbatot that Nishmat organized. It really helped shape my year and beyond.”
Nishmat believes that an ideal life of each student should include learning Torah and doing Chessed. Because of that Chessed is an integral part of our program. Each Nishmat student has a two-hour slot each week dedicated to a Chessed project on or off campus. Projects include running a Bat Mitzvah program for girls, helping elderly neighbors with Shabbat preparation, and Bikur Cholim. Nishmat has a full-time Chessed coordinator who trains and accompanies students throughout the year, making sure that each student has the appropriate Chessed project.
There is also a bridal gown Gemach located on our campus, and all leftover catered food is packaged and delivered to a food pantry nearby. Students help bring both of these initiatives to life throughout the year. Before every Jewish holiday students make small community events for children in the neighborhood. These Chessed projects and others inspire and energize our students and contribute to the community around us.