These and Those

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

[Alumni Guest Post] Friends for a Lifetime by Sarah Levy

Posted on February 20, 2013 by The Director of Digital Media

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Sarah Levy (Mechina '07, PEP '08-'10) shares
a personal reflection about Pardes:
Sarah & Benny Levy

Sarah & Benny Levy

A friend of mine once told me that she felt all of her friends fell into one of three categories:

  1. Friends for a reason (and once that reason no longer existed, neither did the friendship)
  2. Friends for a season (and once that time period ended, so did the friendship)
  3. Friends for a lifetime (and the friendship would last forever)

Although I am not totally sure I agree with her classification system all of the time, I do often find myself thinking about the relationships in my life and whether they would be reason, season, or lifetime friendships.

I remember when I was in college, for example, it seemed as if I could easily make friends, but I didn’t feel as if I was making lifetime friends; these were more like reason or season friends. I never sat at a meal alone, always had a study partner, and never lacked for what to do on the weekends, but I just wasn’t sure that any of these friends had that lasting, lifetime potential.

One evening I was discussing this thought with a classmate, and she suggested that maybe I should think about what my passions were and join clubs and activities aligned with those passions. Maybe, she suggested, if I were interacting with people who had something significant in common with me, there would be lifetime potential.

Although I found this to be an interesting thought with some possibilty, I was comfortable in my routines and kind of liked hanging out with my reason and season friends (they were fun and filled the “friend” role at the time). Plus, I was finding some of these friends had lifetime potential, so I figured that I would stick with what was (pretty much) working.

After college, I started working for a synagogue and found that while many of my friends were reason friends (we had our own little group of “we’re not originally from here” people), I was meeting the occasional person with lifetime friend potential. I figured that this was probably normal; that in any given situation, lifetime friends would be hard to find.

Then, when I went to Pardes, the situation changed, and suddenly I felt as if I was surrounded by potential lifetime friends. I wondered why that could be. I mean, beyond the fact that Pardes attracts really cool people in general, how could it be that there was such a high concentration of people with whom I felt I had a real connection? And then it hit me; although I wasn’t going to become besties with everyone at Pardes, I was surrounded by over a hundred people who were also really interested in Israel and Judaism and learning. I was also in the Educators Program, so I spent most of my time with people who were really cool and interested in Israel and Judaism and learning (because they attended Pardes), but they were also really interested in my top passion, Jewish Education (because they were in the Educators Program).

But, even more than that, my connections with people at Pardes went beyond the “friends for a lifetime” label. I also found wonderful mentors and teachers. On an almost-daily basis, I find myself thinking “What would Michael do?” or “How would Neima teach this?” I sometimes email them, asking them those same questions…or sometimes just thinking about them seems to give me the answer. It’s been three years since I left Pardes, so I am not quite sure that we’ve reached “lifetime” status, but I’m pretty sure we’ve surpassed a season.

But the powers of Pardes go beyond the building above the Mazda dealership. Some of my closest friends (and true friends for a lifetime) are Pardes alumni whom I never met while at Pardes, but Pardes had a way of bringing us together.

And then there’s my husband (talk about the “ultimate friend for a lifetime”). Benny (PEP, ’06-’08) is an English-born Israeli whom I never would have met were it not for our mutual passion that led us each to Pardes.

So maybe my classmate was right all of those years ago. Thinking about my passions and looking for activities related to those passions led me to Pardes. My connection to Pardes has given me many wonderful opportunities that I did not expect, but the most valuable was the opportunity to meet so many lifetime friends.

So thank you, Pardes, for giving me friends for a lifetime, teachers and mentors for a lifetime, and my husband for a lifetime.