Challenges of a Reform Jew in Israel

<div class="masa-blog-title">Challenges of a Reform Jew in Israel </div>

By Tina Hughes, Hebrew Union College
 
I went to Israel for my first year of Rabbinical School at HUC, Hebrew Union College.  
 
I had been to Israel before – three times – and thought that I knew what I was getting into.  
 
The year was not what I expected.
 

Swirl Swirl Desert Stop

<div class="masa-blog-title">Swirl Swirl Desert Stop</div>

 
So, last night, I sat around a crackling fire with a group of religious people chanting incantations in ancient languages while passing around a hand-carved knife and letting the blood from our left pinkie fingers drip over the hot, scalding flames…
 
Okay, that was an exaggeration. But I think I have been initiated.
 
Type. Stop.
 

Becoming a Member of the Family

<div class="masa-blog-title">Becoming a Member of the Family</div>

Emily Kohuth, Conservative Yeshiva
 
Several months ago I opened a Rosh Hashanah e-card from a fellow former ulpan student. 
 
She asked if I remembered her. 
 
Really, how could I forget her; she was a four-and-a-half foot-tall ball of fire—a feisty, opinionated Latina grandmother.
 

What I Found in Israel

<div class="masa-blog-title">What I Found in Israel </div>

 
I came to Israel to learn. 
 
I was studying at She’arim College of Jewish Studies for Women, a small but highly recommended school. 
 
I was living in the Jerusalem suburb of Har Nof, a town built into the hills on the edge of the very young Jerusalem forest. 
 
I found
 
 

Bnot Yehuda

Program Description

Bnot Yehuda for English speakers is a teachers' training seminary in Yerushalayim geared to the highly motivated Bais Yaakov high school graduate.
 
The challenging curriculum is complemented by integrated living and learning experience in Israel, which includes touring, volunteering and learning about the country's history.
 

For more information, please contact:

In the U.S:
Ruthie Goldman
7183394747

Not Your Typical Shabbat in Israel

<div class="masa-blog-title">Not Your Typical Shabbat in Israel </div>

By Avigail Jaffe, Darchei Binah
 
Anyone who’s spent a year in Israel knows the challenges of finding a host for Shabbat each week. 
 
Like any unsuspecting teenager, I found myself in this never-ending cycle last year in seminary.
 

Traversing the Land in Wonder

<div class="masa-blog-title">Traversing the Land in Wonder </div>

By Aryeh Younger, Yeshivat Har Etzion
 
Following my senior year  in high school, I decided to study at Yeshivat Har Etzion, and throughout the year,  I made many efforts to traverse the country, to discover the history and culture of the world’s newest and most original democracy.
 

Tamar Roth

Tamar Roth

Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies
Tamar (Fall ’12) had only planned to remain at Pardes for the Elul Program, but ended up staying for the entire Fall semester – much to her own surprise!
 
Having grown up in the Golders Green Synagogue community, Tamar became a leader of her local Bnei Akiva youth group, taking on the role of madricha at the age of 15. Her father, Benedict Roth, was himself a Pardes student in the ’89-’90 Year Program and returned to Pardes again for the 2012 Summer Program – so he’s quite proud of his daughter for coming to learn at Pardes after completing high school!
 
The young woman has been very pleased to note that her Jewish community in London has gradually been creating more opportunities for women to participate in communal ritual, as women’s megilla readings are now fairly common, and they are given a Torah scroll at shul to dance with on Simchat Torah. By the time Tamar herself leined Torah at home for her bat mitzvah during Shabbat minchah, this already seemed less unusual to her friends and neighbors than had her sister’s Torah leining several years prior.
 
At the age of 16, Tamar joined a Masorti youth group on a month-long trip to Israel instead of traveling with her Bnei Akiva group. Tamar found the Masorti participants very open to discussing challenging issues, such as Israeli politics and the existence of God; but had to be particularly cautious about halakhic issues on the trip such as fasting on Tisha B’Av and waiting between eating meat and dairy.
 
All in all, Tamar still recalls the Masorti group’s non-judgmental attitude very fondly; and when she became the rosh (head) of her Bnei Akiva chapter at seventeen, her priorities were informed by this spirit of open-mindedness. Today, despite her occasional frustrations with certain aspects of the group, Tamar is still committed to shaping Bnei Akiva, and hopes to work as madricha this coming summer before she begins her university studies.
 
Toward the end of high school, Tamar decided that rather than attending a traditional seminary in Israel the following year, she would do something a bit less conventional. Meeting Shmuel and Judy Klitsner during their visits to London had inspired her to apply to the Pardes Elul Program, as she was moved by their brilliance and passion for Judaism, and their groundedness in modern society. After all, she’d always wanted to study Talmud!
 
Experiencing Jerusalem with Pardes brought Tamar a sense of calm that she hadn’t expected. When Shabbat ended at the first community Shabbaton of the year, Tamar was surprised to find that she felt sad at its passing - her madrichim used to tell her that they were sad whenever Shabbat would come to an end, and for the first time, at the Young Judaea Youth Hostel with her Pardes friends and community, she understood.
 
Over the course of the Fall semester, Tamar greatly enjoyed her Gemara courses with Meesh and Yaffa, and enjoyed sharing what she learned with her family back in London. Now, she is off to study Arabic full-time through Givat Haviva, as she continues her gap year adventure. And as much as she’s looking forward to a acquiring a new language, Tamar knows that the inspiration and friends she found at Pardes will always stay with her… hopefully she’ll come back to visit for Shabbat in the Spring!

Videos

Hear participants talk about their daily life, take a virtual tour of your favorite program, and watch your semester of year in Israel unfold in front of you

Mayanot Women's Prorgram