Sarah Margles (Year '02, PEP '04) reflects upon preparing
for Shavuot... what does "readiness" mean?
I remember when I first started at Pardes, I would spend much of Fridays getting ready for Shabbat – shopping, cooking, cleaning. When the siren went to light candles, my roommate would inevitably yell out, while running from the bathroom in a towel, “But I’m not ready!!” When we speak of Jewish holidays, we often say things like, “The holidays are so early this year,” or “I love it when Pesach is late.” There is something about readiness that seems integral to our Jewish experience.
Shavuot has a lot to teach about readiness. In Shmot 19:11, as the people are getting ready to receive Torah, God tells Moses to tell the people to go prepare for God will arrive on the third day. But Continue reading →
I can’t believe we are down to our last 5 weeks in Israel! David Bernstein said that it would absolutely fly by, but I never realized how right he was! I feel like my time in Israel is slipping away, and there are so many things still on my bucket list!
I have had such an incredible time, with so many memories! But I know that the connections that I made here will continue on even once we have all left and headed back to our homes. Friendships can cross all distances.
I wonder what it will be like to be back in Canada! I am really excited to see all of my friends and family, and go back to my old hangouts, but I know I am going to miss the energy and openness that I found here. It’s unlike anything I had ever experienced.
Should our students be allowed to study Torah on an iPad?
Does it change the Kedusha of the text?
For thousands of years Jewish tradition was rooted in the oral passing of history. In the first and second century when Yehuda HaNassi compiled the Mishna, he changed the future of Jewish education. I can see the riots and criticism he must have dealt with from the ‘traditionalists’ and others who thought he was lessening the importance of learning these sacred pieces of our religion. However much it changed when the Mishna was compiled, the move towards 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 →
I really need to write a blog post right now, but I must first overcome many obstacles.
The above statement has two parts. I should know what they’re called because I was an English major, but thankfully, I managed to receive my degree without taking a single grammar class. So, there might be an independent clause, a subordinate clause, a santa clause, or an insanity clause up there and I have no idea. In any case, in response to the first part of the statement, why do I need to write a blog post right now? 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 →
A couple of weeks ago, I snuck out of Pardes, and instead of learning Torah, I learnt community organizing, best practices, and how to laugh again. It was fun, it was a refresher, and I made some amazing friends. Here’s what I took away from it:
Masa Leadership Summit’s Group 15
“Honestly, you were just a bunch of left-overs. And that’s why you’ve been put together.”
The task for Group 15 at the Masa Israel Leadership Seminar (MLS), more than anything else, was to overcome this origin story and become a true community. We were British, Australian, Western Canadian, and scattered from across the Western States. We went back to small towns, or isolated communities, or simply disorganized ones. We had no natural backstory, no shared history other than that we were Jews and we were there. We’re here. In Israel. Continue reading →
His insights into Israeli society were stimulating and refreshing. His analysis, based on the election results, that Israeli society is moving towards Jewish pluralism and openness was inspiring and very much complemented what I have been studying in my Modern Jewish Thought class. In that class, we have explored the tension between the particular and universal aspects of Judaism. Micah pointed out that as more secular Israelis learn Torah, Continue reading →
I miss Pardes so much. As I shared with my classmates and teachers before departing, it was a dream to learn in Israel and my experience at Pardes turned out so much better than I ever anticipated!
I feel very grateful to my classmates for sharing your insights in class, and for in havruta study both supporting and challenging me. I miss spending Shabbos with you all, and our late night chats.
And I feel very grateful to our teachers. Our teachers both inspired us in the classroom, and taught us so much outside as well. By welcoming us to their Shabbat and Chaggim tables, they shared with us the joy and beauty of our tradition. Continue reading →
Daniel Shibley (Year '11, Fellows '12) blogs honestly
and openly about his thoughts on being drafted into
the Israeli Defense Forces after making Aliyah:
Israel Flag (Photo credit: Felix_V)
Building of the Mishkan takes center stage in the parasha this week. Moshe asks the Israelites to give to the construction project, to sacrifice some of their personal property for a common goal. He does not place specific demands upon the Israelites, instead asking that they give as they are so inclined. Obviously there are both strengths and weaknesses to this fundraising strategy. What would have Moshe have done if there was insufficient materials? Fundraisers the world over no doubt cope with this reality on a daily basis, which is why we often hear speeches in American synagogues on Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah asking us to turn down tabs on an index card to indicate the exact amount of our pledge or Israel Bonds purchase. Continue reading →