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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 charismatic emunah. 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, teachers,
and community leaders.
For more information, click here.

American Friends of the Cardozo School
is a 501 (c) (3) organization with FEIN 88-0361288

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