By Shoshanah Marcus, News Editor
For the Fall 2020 semester, GPATS (Graduate Program in Advanced Talmudic Studies), a two year Yeshiva University master program, has experienced a large increase in their incoming class size.
Nechama Price, the director of GPATS, was thrilled to share with the YU Observer that there will be 23 students enrolled in GPATS for the 2020-2021 year. Of the 23 students enrolled in GPATS, 16 are full time students, two are undergraduate students taking GPATS classes, 18 are Shana Aleph (first year) students, four are Shana Bet (second year) students, and one is a Shana Gimmel (third year) student. While the program can be completed in two years, some students choose to remain an extra year to further their learning. Currently, five students are registered for the new GPATS Tanakh (Bible) track.
Price attributed this growth to several factors. She began by explaining that the increased enrollment was due to the incredible impact of Torah learning. She expressed: “Being in GPATS is a life changing experience, where you learn a tremendous amount of Torah, enhance textual and conceptual skills in Torah learning, and are exposed to leading Torah scholars. Students benefit from a faculty with deep expertise in Talmud, Halacha [Jewish Law], and Tanakh and who embody the attributes of humility, kindness, and commitment.” Moreover, Price credits the program’s growth to the visible impact of GPATS alumni and the intentional expansion of the GPATS’ visibility among college, seminary and high school students. “Unsurprisingly, increased awareness about GPATS has correlated with increased enrollment,” Price explained to the YU Observer.
Even more so, GPATS launched a new Tanakh track, beginning in Fall 2020, which appeals to many women and is reflected in the rising number of enrolled students. “As an alumnae of GPATS and now its [d]irector, it has been a dream of mine for GPATS to include a Tanach track. I am thrilled to see these dreams come true this year, and witness GPATS doubling our size and doubling our programming. I trust that this reflects a growing excitement amongst women for learning Torah and dedicating years to studying it,” Price expressed.
While enrolled in GPATS, students not only gain a tremendous amount of Torah knowledge. but they also gain skills that can be used in any area of Jewish education. “Spending these years learning Torah is vital for anyone going into the field of Jewish education,” Price explained. She continued: “Our alumni have demonstrated that these core years of Talmud Torah [Torah study] create a rock-solid foundation for the years ahead, when these amazing women spread their Torah to their future students, their communities and families.”