Open Learning Environment For Women
If you're a post-high school girl looking to spend the year in Israel in a warm and personal environment, Sharei Bina may just be the right place for you. The seminary is located in the city of Safed, which in spite of its lofty history, remains a quaint city with a small-town feel. Enrollment is kept to a maximum of 20 students.
Sharei Bina appeals to young women who want to experience Jewish spirituality in a more open environment. The student considering a year at Sharei Bina may have fallen off the beaten track and found it hard to compete in a typical academic environment, or it may be that some Sharei Bina candidates have questioned their commitment to Judaism and are now seeking to come back to their roots.
What Sharei Bina offers is learning for the sake of learning for the self-motivated student who is not afraid to explore the holy depths of what Judaism has on offer. The Sharei Bina curriculum includes the study of classic works like Ethics of the Fathers, Prophets, practical Halacha (Jewish law), and the Chafetz Chaim's Ahavat Chessed, but the seminary also offers classes in Yoga, creative writing, and music. While there is a slight slant in the direction of Chassidic thought, Sharei Bina has an all-inclusive study program. The "mother" of Sharei Bina, Rebbetzin Tova Weingot, states that the school's offerings are, "balanced and all eclectic."
The school also offers its students a chance to see and enjoy the country through its various field trips including visits to the Dead Sea, Masada, and Ein Gedi, a trip to Mount Hermon where students may sled or ski, a tour of Gamla, a swim in the Sea of Galilee, a trip to Tiberias where students have the chance to pray at the burial sites of the famous sages Rambam and Ramchal, a hike from Safed to Meron where Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai is buried, a visit to the grave of Rabbi Yonason Ben Uziel where students may pray for a good match, and two group Sabbaths or Shabbatonim in Jerusalem. Field trips are held on an average of once a month and all such trips include picnics or barbecues. The school also encourages its students to visit friends and relatives located in various parts of the country as another means of experiencing the Land of Israel.
Sharei Bina is headed by Rabbi Rafael Weingot, who was mentored by the late Rabbi Shlomo Freifeld, Rosh Yeshiva (yeshiva head) of Yeshiva Sha'ar Yashuv in Far Rockaway. Rabbi Weingot has a BA in English Literature from Brooklyn College and a master's degree in education from the Mesivta Rabbi Chaim Berlin. His wife, Tova, has a bachelor's degree in Comparative Religions from Florida State University. Some 90% of the staff are Haredi and Rebbetzin Weingot describes the atmosphere of the school as being "'Torah-true' and Kosher L'Mehadrin."
For the most part, the students at Sharei Bina are from American or Canadian stock. In some cases, the families of the students have made Aliya to Israel and English remains their mother tongue. The students range in age from 17-19 years.