The David Cardozo Academy
The Beth Midrash of Avraham Avinu
Infusing new life into traditional Judaism is the goal
of the David Cardozo Academy. By reclaiming the study
hall of Avraham Avinu, we seek to re-engage the Jewish
people, both in and outside the land of Israel, with a
new approach to Jewish values.
Avraham Avinu changed the world with his contagious
inspiration and charismatic presence. He drew others
close to him to share in his discovery of emunah (faith)
and chesed (kindness). His lessons transformed and
inspired an upheaval in their souls. These are the
components that shape the core of his Beth Midrash. And
it is here that we find the roots of Judaism in their
most essential form.
The Beth Midrash of Avraham Avinu paved the way for the
secondary stage of Jewish development – the
incubation phase – during which the people’s
emunah could take shape, and its spiritual
foundations could grow. Only through this incubation
period could the subsequent Sinai revelation come
about. These resulted in the third stage, the Beth
Midrash of Moshe Rabenu, and gave birth to the halachic
system as we know it today.
Therefore, we see that Judaism did not start as a
halachic tradition, but required the incubation period
that grew out of Avraham Avinu’s existential and
It is this tradition that the David Cardozo Academy is
focused on reclaiming.
Sadly, today’s mainstream Orthodox Judaism has lost its
connection to the pre-halachic Beth Midrash of Avraham
Avinu. A prime example of this is our over-emphasis of
learning Halacha and our lack of serious dedication to
the world of Aggadah, or the non-halachic teachings of
the Jewish tradition. Simply put, Aggadah provides
insight into the quality of the halachic act. Without a
conscious connection to Aggadah, halachic Judaism is
doomed to develop into a dry legal system where the
spirit is suffocated.
Furthermore, we, at the Academy, affirm that a healthy
Judaism must bridge our religious inheritance
with our own personal processes of faith. This
means being a "Jew by choice" like Avraham,
and fusing that personal discovery with the rich Jewish
tradition into which we are born.
Our primary concern is to be engaged with the real
questions of authentic Judaism – the struggle for
a genuine religious life of great integrity. As a
result we are exploring issues such as Judaism’s
relationship with the non-Jewish world and the
spirituality of Jewish women. Rabbis, professors,
philosophers, and thinkers of international renown have
and will continue to lead these discussions. Uncovering
the essence of our Judaism, we hope, will lead all of us
closer to a true religious renaissance.
The Student Leadership Training Program, provides a unique
and unprecedented part-time preparation for future rabbis,
and community leaders.
For more information, click here.
American Friends of the Cardozo School
is a 501 (c) (3)
organization with FEIN 88-0361288