It’s hard to believe, but my time in Israel is almost done. Two days from now, I’ll be in the air on my way home. And while I haven’t been the best about blogging here regularly, at the moment I feel like a little bit of reflection is in order. I’m going to begin by responding to two blog posts that I wrote a few days before I left Boston last summer, and go from there.
It’s almost hard for me to believe that I wrote this post. It’s so… mushy and corny. But apparently I did, so I guess I’ll trust myself that I really meant it. And actually, reading it over now, I think that key word in the piece is Continue reading →
It is so hard to believe Annie and my year in Israel is already over! We are sitting in our hostel room in Tel Aviv, taking in the sounds of the city, as we contemplate returning to Toronto, changed in so many ways.
This year has been a year with so many different facets. Challenging, exciting, tiring, renewing… It has really been a year of rebirth for us, clearing out a lot of hard stuff to make room for growth as we uproot our lives here in Israel and put down roots back in Canada. Annie and I finished our time in Jerusalem with a visit to the Kotel… As we were about to leave, I looked back and realized that this would be the last time for a long time that I would be so close, and how grateful I was for the opportunity. What I thought in that moment was Continue reading →
Birkot HaShahar and Psukei led by Mike Nash and Laura Marder with simultaneous yoga led by Emly (Yoga mats will be provided. Bring your own if you have).
Traditional shacharit led by Adam Masser, with added chanting of Yotzer Ohr led by Laurie
Extended Shmoneh Esrei, leaving time for meditation, breath awareness,* etc.
After concluding prayers, Gabby will lead us in a musical Oseh Shalom
*A non-coercive suggestion: James suggests one breath per word of the Amidah.
The plan is to have all davening done by 6:30, followed by singing (bring musical instruments if you have them!).
We will provide a light breakfast and encourage everyone to bring coffee to drink and snacks to share, all to be enjoyed while listening to a shiur from our own Rav Meir.
Directions to the Tayelet:
The tayelet is on Daniel Yanovsky (which is a continuation of Yehuda) just after it crosses Beitar. Go down the stairs from the Daniel Yanovsky entrance (next to the bathrooms) to the tayelet to the big canopy overlooking the old city.
Homemade dulche de leche + chocolate pop-tarts (gluten free not pictured)
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk Continue reading →
Since moving to Israel nearly nine months ago, I cannot count the number of times I have had the following conversation with people I meet once it has been established that I am learning at Nishmat….
NewPerson: And your husband? What is he doing this year?
Me: He is learning at Pardes.
NewPerson: Why aren’t you also at Pardes?
The answer is simultaneously incredibly simple and incredibly complex: Nishmat was the right fit for me for this year. I wrote about it when I first posted that I was coming here, so I won’t get into all those details again now. However, I have felt all year that I could have been just as happy at Pardes, and I would have grown just as much – though perhaps in slightly different ways and speeds.
On the surface level, the two institutions appear so very different from one another. Nishmat is an Orthodox women’s midrasha and Pardes is a pluralistic co-ed yeshiva. But realistically they are both serious places of learning with a diverse faculty and student body, where students learn Gemara, Tanach, and Jewish thought. Both are places where “young adults” take a year (or more) out of their lives in order to learn more Jewish text and explore Continue reading →
This is my fourth summer working for NFTY in Israel. The past three summers I have been in charge of my group and logistics, but this summer I am also going to be the tour guide. I have been in a course for the past few months going around Israel to learn about the different sites that we take the participants. Our trip also includes a week in Europe at the beginning (and then 4 weeks in Israel.) The trip is called L’dor v’dor, from generation to generation. We also had a trip with the other guides to Europe, to Prague, Krakow, and Warsaw. This was the fifth time in my life I have been to these locations, so the shock-factor wasn’t part of my experience. But I did feel a new sense of responsibility, more than just Continue reading →
Naomi Minsky (Year '13, PEP '15) came to Pardes this year
for the Year Program, and will be returning next year as a
member of the Pardes Educators Program!
Since my teenage years I secretly wanted to pursue a career as a doctor. This is not because I am scientific and enjoy learning about the human anatomy. In fact, I go into panic-mode at the sight of blood. I was attracted to helping others live life to the full. Thankfully I have found an alternative route to achieve my aim.
Unlike medicine Jewish education does not literally save lives. However, it supports people to have meaningful experiences and relationships. It is a way to help others appreciate Judaism and approach it with confidence. My Bat Mitzvah involved facing the community and saying the shema prayer. The whole time I looked directly at my grandparents. They were sitting in the front row saying the words back to me. I am indebted to my Jewish education teaching me that the shema is an affirmation of Jewish identity and love of G-d. I felt the beauty of the experience as I was connected to my family, community and religious tradition simultaneously. Jewish identity today is multifaceted, for some it is Continue reading →
Oh, you know, that flattish device that clicks when you use it and lights up when you press a button and performs a number of menial tasks such as making writing legible and connecting an individual to the rest of the world… Oh yes, I know what that is. A computer. I tend to use one on occasion.
Do you, now? Almost every occasion, in fact. Come to think of it, I can’t think of an occasion when I wouldn’t use one. Continue reading →
Throughout Pesach my mind has been overflowing with questions, thoughts and new insights. As I ponder what to share with you, I recall one tradition which gets my mind thinking every year.
After the birkat hamazon (grace after meals) a cup set aside for the prophet Elijah is poured and we open the door for him.
When I was younger I vividly recall simultaneously believing that Elijah would be in a physical form standing at the door and I remember staring at Elijah’s cup, imagining an immaterial being drinking from it. The forms of his existence as well as these traditions were an enigma to me at the time and continue to draw my attention.
This tradition is fraught with possible meanings, some of which are as follows: Continue reading →
I spent the entirety of last week doing very little but learning so much!
Annie and I went on the week-long Jewish meditation retreat, taught by Rabbi James Jacobson-Maisels (think Self, Soul, and Text), and Rabbi Jeff Roth, at Kibbutz Hannaton. Over the entire week, we could not talk to anyone except for participating in prayer, and could not make eye contact with anyone. Our entire week was spent sitting, walking, eating, praying, and sleeping. But believe it or not, it was honestly one of the most rejuvenating weeks that I have had in my entire life. Continue reading →
Leah Kahn is a Campus Professional Fellow within The Pardes
Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution, a current student
within the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators and former
Director of Engagement, University of Chicago Hillel from
I know from firsthand experience that Hillel professionals are very busy managing multiple projects at once and don’t always have time to step back and think reflectively about the challenges they face at work. I created this Webinar to give them space and time to think about and improve their professional relationships. This ‘Rodef Shalom’ Program for Hillel professionals is currently a pilot project and we have 2 excellent professionals participating in this 4-part series. We are having very exciting and thoughtful conversations, and they are really enjoying combining classical Jewish texts with conflict resolution strategies.
Me facilitating an online training workshop for Hillel professionals.