Yeshiva (/jəˈʃiːvə/; lit. “sitting”; pl. yeshivot or yeshivos) is a Jewish institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and Torah study. Study is usually done through daily shiurim (lectures or classes) and in study pairs called chavrutas (Aramaic for “friendship” or “companionship”). Chavruta-style learning is one of the unique features of the yeshiva.
In the United States and Israel, the different levels of yeshiva education have different names. In the United States, elementary-school students are enrolled in a yeshiva, post-bar mitzvah-age students learn in a metivta, and undergraduate-level students learn in a beit midrash or yeshiva gedola (Hebrew:, lit. “large yeshiva” or “great yeshiva”). In Israel, elementary-school students are enrolled in a Talmud Torah or cheder, post-bar mitzvah-age students learn in a yeshiva ketana ( lit. “small yeshiva” or “minor yeshiva”), and high-school-age students learn in a yeshiva gedola. A kollel is a yeshiva for married men. It is common for a kollel to pay a token stipend to its students. Students of Lithuanian and Hasidic yeshiva gedolas usually learn in yeshiva until they get married.
Historically, yeshivas were attended by males only. Today, all non-Orthodox and a few Modern Orthodox yeshivas are open even to females. Although there are separate schools for Orthodox women and girls, yeshivas for women do not follow the same structure or curriculum as the traditional yeshiva for boys and men.