These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

When We Say Goodbye

Posted on August 30, 2016 by Abigail Emerson

My grandmother, Beatrice Gould Emerson, died the first time I left the United States alone. My trip was in part for her sake. I was traveling for a summer in Russia, the first of our family to return to that part of the world since our great-grandparents left. I had been there a week when my dad sent Continue Reading »

Learning Torah From My Kidney – by Donating it to My Dad

Posted on August 16, 2016 by Yael Krieger

This post was originally published in Forward.  In the Hebrew Bible, the word “kidneys” is mentioned over a dozen times to metaphorically describe one’s emotional and moral choices. With a literal translation, Psalms 138:13 reads: “It was you who created my kidneys; You fashioned me in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am Continue Reading »

Savor the Questions

Posted on August 15, 2016 by Tara Zafft

This blog was originally posted on the author’s personal blog, at I came to Israel with a long list of goals. I wanted to be in Eretz Israel, a land I felt a deep connection to. I wanted to understand the nation, the culture, the politics. I wanted to learn Hebrew, Torah, and Talmud. I Continue Reading »


Posted on August 14, 2016 by Pessy Baskin

This post was delivered at our farewell community lunch for the August 2016 summer students. As many of you already know, I came to Pardes to learn Torah in honor of the anniversary of my father’s passing. I want to thank all my chavrutot, who so graciously agreed to learn as an aliyah for his neshama. One Continue Reading »

Scribe Life

Posted on August 11, 2016 by Erika Davis

This was originally posted on the author’s blog, Black, Gay and Jewish: A gay black woman’s discovery of her Jewish self. I’m not sure if it’s purposeful, but after two weeks of study it’s nice to see ways in which the classes that I’m taking overlap with one another. Scribal Arts, a sort of elective, Continue Reading »

At the Kotel

Posted on August 10, 2016 by Lucas Espinosa Menendez

I don’t need for now to go and see the other side of the wall. Not of this wall that we hold sacred, both as a holy place and as a memorial, that is full of grass, bushes and roots sprouting freely, where birds nest and sing. I am talking about that “other wall,” the Continue Reading »


Posted on August 9, 2016 by Estella Gabay

Before I got on the plane to Israel, I had many doubts. It wasn’t my first time in Israel, but my purpose was different from my previous visits. I was hesitant this time, overwhelmed. I am from Istanbul. I am Jewish, living in a Muslim community. Am I living a Jewish life? I ask that question to Continue Reading »

Coming Out: My Mom Isn’t Jewish

Posted on August 7, 2016 by George Altshuler

My father is Jewish, but my mother isn’t. A literal reading of halakha, or Jewish law, would suggest that I’m not Jewish. But my mother and father made a decision before I was born to raise my sister and I as Jews. I had a bris and a bar mitzvah, attended Hebrew School and confirmation classes, Continue Reading »

We Are All in This Together

Posted on August 7, 2016 by Yuliya Mazur

This blog has been cross-posted from this link. Here at Pardes I like all of my teachers. Otherwise I wouldn’t have taken their classes, right? But a person whose class and relationship with I treasure the most, is definitely Yaffa Epstein. Yaffa is the reason I am coming to Pardes for the second year and Continue Reading »

Rabbi Meir Schweiger – An Inspiration to Families Worldwide and His FSU Adventures

Posted on August 1, 2016 by Miriam BenSander

Imagine my family – a Jewish family, a respected family in FSU Moscow in 1983 … When I was an adolescent my parents decided to return to our Jewish roots and begin to observe traditions again – in a time when that was dangerous. They studied for themselves and tried to teach us, their children – Continue Reading »