Posted on February 14, 2017 by Anya Morgulis
“Hey, want to go to Turkey?” my friend asked me one day at school. My response was something along the lines of, “I don’t NOT want to go to Turkey…”
But, when I found out about this incredible opportunity to travel with Rabbi Levi Cooper to Istanbul and meet and learn from the Jewish community there, my response was, “Yes please! How do I sign up?”
I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of this adventure. Pardes is already a wonderful hub of learning and growth, and this trip is such a special opportunity to put my Torah learning into action. Nine Pardes year students were selected to make up this team that will be traveling to Istanbul for six days, and I am thankful to be a part of this group. During these several weeks, we have transformed from nine people who did not know each other very well, into a powerful, energetic, motivated team that is ready for action.
What drew me most to this opportunity was the chance to immerse myself in the Jewish community in Istanbul. Rather than staying in hotels, we will be hosted by Jewish families in the city. This gives me the chance to hear their stories, learn from their experiences, and meaningfully capture these moments to share them with my future learners. Within our group, we have a lot of Jewish leaders and future Jewish educators. It has been impactful to hear from them how they hope to include this opportunity in their teaching, whether it is in a classroom, summer camp, or other spaces.
This trip will also supplement my time as part of the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators. As a team, we have prepared programs for elementary school students, high school youth group members, student leaders, and others. This has been a time where our many strengths have come together to elevate our overall success in bringing the Pardes Torah to this Jewish community. My background as an experiential educator and my time this year as part of the Experiential Educators cohort has given me the structure I need to be able to support my ideas with content filled, meaningful learning.
Last night, as we worked together on our final preparations late into the evening, I realized how excited I am to share what I know, and how I am even more excited to learn: from the Jewish community of Istanbul, from my peers, from Rabbi Levi Cooper, and from the prestigious community members we will be encountering. I am grateful to Pardes for creating this deeply enriching opportunity!
Experiential Educators Program, 2017
Pardes Center for Jewish Educators