These and Those

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

Setting My Goals For The Year

Posted on October 27, 2012 by Aliza Geller

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Originally posted on

During orientation for the program I am in at Pardes (part of the Pardes Center for Jewish Educators), we were challenged to set goals for ourselves for the year. I was a bit apprehensive about doing this at first, and put it off until now for the following reasons. The first month at Pardes was a rush of orientation, meeting new people, and holidays, with only a little bit of time left to get used to the rhythm of learning at Pardes. I wanted to see what I was in for in my classes, before I set goals for myself. This second month has been entirely focused on getting used to the rhythm of learning at Pardes, which was a bit overwhelming at times.

On Friday afternoon, I set my goals while walking from the Nahalat Shiv’a area back to my Apartment (about 40 minutes). I want to tell you my goals, especially everyone learning at Pardes, because I see an opportunity for all of us to support each other in reaching our goals for the year.

There are a couple of categories that I needed to establish before I could articulate my goals. They broke down into the categories of academic, professional and personal.

There is definitely overlap. For example, Hebrew and leading services are both professional and personal.

My Academic Goals:

I will finish what is assigned for Chavruta (work you do with a partner) each day.

I will memorize the list of verbs that appear in the Tanach x amount of times, and finally master those of the concepts in Biblical grammar that I am still foggy about.

I will get beyond my stumbling blocks when it comes to reading Hebrew out loud. I knew coming into Pardes that reading out loud in Hebrew is an area in which I need improvement. Besides working with a tutor for half an hour a week, I am going to spend about an hour in the Beit Midrash (the big room where we do our learning) after school working on this, three times a week. So if you see me reading out loud to myself, now you’ll know why.

My Professional Goal(s):

I will continue to hone my skills as an educator. This will be achieved through working with a mentor and participating in peer teaching. For this I have to thank the PCJE team for working with us to make it happen, peer teaching was not originally part of the program.

I will finally make a decision about what grade(s) I want to work with.

My Personal goals:

I will speak Hebrew for a minimum of one hour a week (hopefully more!).

The relatively immediate goal is that I will lead pesukey De’Zimra (preliminary morning blessings) at community davening and in the egalitarian service at Pardes. This ties in to my “reading Hebrew out loud” goal. I started with reading these blessings out loud, there are some seriously tongue twisting words involved.

Next is that I will learn to lead Shacharit (literally the morning service)

Parallel to these is that, I will read torah by the end of the year. This I am learning to do in a class.

All are things that want to take on for myself, and are necessary for a Jewish educator.

The following are goals of well being. These are also what are going to make it possible to achieve my academic and professional goals:

I will walk for at least one hour a day, if anyone wants to join me, they are more than welcome. More than anything I am struggling with sitting in the Beit Midrash and class all day long. Exercise is not only good for you physically, it also releases endorphins which relieves stress.

I will go to The Open Studio (Avigayle Adler’s studio) at least once a month, again, if anyone wants to join me, they are more than welcome. I miss being artistic, and this also is a stress reliever.

Even though this is not a Devar Torah, I want to give everyone a blessing, me to, why not, that we are all able to achieve the goals that we set for ourselves and if the opportunity presents itself, to help others achieve their goals as well.