By RRC student Kate Cook (hourly '12-'13), for the siyum of Michael Hattin's Sefer Shmuel class.
In our reading of Shmuel we got the p’shat of
Characters, plot or a literary theme.
Intertextuality we’ve had quite a lot of
But not the centrality of the kelim.
For instance the spear: Plishtim cornered the market
With smithies galore, and charging a ton
Sharp swords and spears, everyone had them
But no man of Israel save Saul and his son
Young David without one was not even nervous
With honor and victory for Israel in play
He bravely stepped forward to offer his service
With sling, stone and God’s help Goliath to slay.
Expertise with the lyre, Continue reading
Dear Pardes Year ’13,
It’s been nearly 4 months since I’ve seen you all. Now most of you are getting ready to return to North America. Here are a few things I’ve experienced since I’ve been back. I hope this helps prepare you!
- Size Matters
- Everything is a lot bigger in America. This includes the streets and highways, stores and clothes, restaurants and food portions. One of the first places I went to after landing in Los Angeles was a local 7/11. I was rather shocked at how big it was. You could fit 3 makolets in there easily. Getting a “small” slurpee that’s over twice the size of an Israeli coffee is also a bizarre experience. It feels as if everything has been super-sized while you’ve been away. The funny thing is that you realize it was always like this- you just never perceived it before.
- The Friendliest non-friends you’ll ever meet
- What is with customer service in the US? I just Continue reading
Dvar Torah by Daniel Shibley (Year '11, Fellows '12) in honor of Hannah Landes and Eitan Gavson:
Last evening I had the extraordinary pleasure of celebrating the marriage of two friends who are dear members of our community. The chatan and kallah sparkled with radiance as their parents beamed with pride. As the chatan and then the kallah were escorted to the marriage canopy, which symbolizes the home that they have begun to build together, I could not help but think of the beauty and purity of the candelabra that is kindled in our parasha this week in Numbers 8:4
|וְזֶה מַעֲשֵׂה הַמְּנֹרָה מִקְשָׁה זָהָב, עַד-יְרֵכָהּ עַד-פִּרְחָהּ מִקְשָׁה הִוא: כַּמַּרְאֶה, אֲשֶׁר הֶרְאָה יְהוָה אֶת-מֹשֶׁה–כֵּן עָשָׂה, אֶת-הַמְּנֹרָה. פ||And this was the work of the candlestick, beaten work of gold; unto the base thereof, and unto the flowers thereof, it was beaten work; according unto the pattern which the LORD had shown Moses, so he made the candlestick|
Like the gold mentioned in the verse, the chatan and the kallah were models of perfection, each one completing the other, while we looked on, sharing in and hopefully adding to their unbridled happiness. Continue reading
Alicia Jo Rabins (Year '99, Fellows '00) wrote the following in memory of her friend Peter Avniel Salzman z"l
A few weeks ago, when the current Pardes students asked me to write something for this blog, I planned to write about how the two years I studied there changed my life. How I was, at twenty, a secular American Jew hungry for spiritual wisdom, cobbling together rituals based on the few blessings I knew, reciting the Kiddush over beer on a Friday night in my college dorm room. How a chance encounter with an Orthodox student led me to Pardes, where I was introduced to the depth and beauty of Torah, and fell in love. How I now strive to bring some of that electric energy and excitement to my own teaching, and also to my work as an artist, in which I often build on Jewish texts and traditions. And how I am eternally grateful to Pardes for creating a space where I could dive deep into Torah without having to pretend to be anyone other than my young, eager, critical, exuberant self.
I thought I’d write about the palpable holiness of studying after-hours during night seder and on Shavuot – that feeling of navigating the depths while others sleep, and how it reminded me of the weeks I spent living on a boat in the middle of the ocean during my junior year. Or about the daytime energy of the beit midrash, the French press and bag of coffee grounds my chavruta Marc and I kept in our locker to fuel our learning sessions, my exhilaration as we dug into Talmud, the compassion and brilliance of our teachers. Or about the Shabbat dinners I hosted with my dear roommate Jill that first year – we couldn’t afford a table, so our guests ate on my twin mattress, which we flipped over and covered with a length of leopard-print material we’d bought in the shuk. I thought I’d write a simple love letter to Pardes.
But this past Sunday, Peter Avniel Salzman passed away. Those of you who knew me in Jerusalem know how close we were during the years I was at Pardes; I loved him, as did many of you. He was 38 years old. So, with a heavy heart and the knowledge that my words are insufficient, I will write a few words in Peter’s memory. Continue reading
Beha’alotekha in “Speaking Against Moshe.”
R. Julie Gordon (PEP '12) recollects:
Here are some of my thoughts after my experience davenning with Women of the Wall (WOW) on May 10, 2013.
I was exhilarated on the day after my bat mitzvah when I learned how to lay tefillin through the wisdom and care of Bert Cooper, z”l, our Albert Lea, MN para-rabbi. I felt empowered and joyful. Safely ensconced in our community and our shared relationship with God. My Baba had given me my Zayde’s tefillin. On that day when I held them in my hands, we both cried. She said, “Zayde would be so proud that you will be using his tefillin as he laid tefillin six days a week.” I remember those words every day as I wrap them around my arms, even now 40 years later, the soft leather straps worn thin and replaced twice. The scrolls checked and rechecked by sofrei stam. I am the only person on my mother’s side of the family who lays tefillin and I do it with care.
Last week, on my 56th birthday, I was preparing to lay my Zeyde’s teffilin, and to wrap myself in his memory, as I feel commanded to do this mitzvah. But, for the first time, I felt afraid. Continue reading
Robyn (Year '08, PEP '10) is a third-year teacher. She teaches High School Judaics at the Emory/Wiener School in Houston, where she will continue in the fall.
My name is Robyn Miller. Typically, May is not a good time to ask me about my life as a teacher. I’m about to finish my third year of teaching, although in many ways it’s been like my first (as I moved from elementary to high school teaching after year two). In May of my second “first year” of teaching, my primary goal is to make it to the finish line without permanently scarring anybody. However, with three weeks left to completing my Pardes commitment, it’s a great time to reflect on my experience as I start to think about what’s next.
Three years ago, I was terrified to have my own classroom. I didn’t feel I had the stamina or the knowledge to produce a year’s worth of lessons. Still, I had a commitment to fulfill, so I had to make the best of it. There were a few things I knew for sure: 1. Absolutely no middle school, 2. High school would be a heck of a lot of work, and 3. I wanted to live somewhere warm. So I started Continue reading