These and Those

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

[Alumni Guest Post] Nevatim Conference: More Alive, Outside!

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

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lbLisa Bodziner is currently the special programs and curriculum coordinator at the Pearlstone Center. She received a Bachelor’s degree in comparative religions from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She then lived in Israel for four years, receiving a Master’s Degree in Jewish Education from the Pardes Institude and Hebrew College; working at an Ethiopian restaurant in her spare time and learning how to become a soferet (scribal artist). Lisa then taught 6th-12th grade stuents in San Diego, California at a Jewish Day School and is now working at the Pearlstone Center in Reisterstown, MD.

It is far too clear for anyone that knows me and my Jewish journey well the most informative, impactful and life changing years of my life were those spent at the Pardes Institude of Jewish studies in Jerusalem. As a student, I had the wisest sages of our times to learn from. Perkei Avot commands of us, “find yourself a teacher,” for me, I had many. All of which I truly sat at their feet to glean their wisdom. Our teachers not only speak Judaism, have Torah memorized, but they live it. Our teachers live as Jews and as a result expose, share and transform those around them to absorb and truly know and live Judaism as well. As a Jew, I had the opportunity to seek, explore and be transformed by prayer, our history and country. As a Pardes-nik, I had the opportunity to build community; participate, give and take; learn how to share words of Torah and demand Jewish conversation to be had around a Shabbat or Kiddush lunch table.

Judaism began to seep within my pores. The teachings of our past expanded my mind. I slowly began to see that Judaism intersects and intertwines with every category of my passions. I love food. The exposure to my favorite Ethiopian restaurant not only gave me an opportunity to speak Hebrew, but to cultivate relationships dissimilar to anything I had experienced before and began to work at the restaurant as a Public Relations representative. Judaism and creativity: I had the opportunity to become a soferet, a scribe with a mystical teacher and holy man. Judaism and people: I had the opportunity to teach 6th-12th graders and infuse their neshamot with Jewish texts and inspiration. And now, the work I do is a cross section between Judaism and the environment. Here at Pearlstone, we merge the concepts of Ba’al Taschit (un-wanton destruction), Tza’ar Balei Chaim (proper care of our animals), Brachot (blessings that we say from the food we take directly from the ground), Hitbodedut (the power of spiritual prayer and awakening), happening outside. We merge the texts we have learned with the earth, grounded in Torah and Jewish values. We engage with thousands of individuals that seek transformation in their Jewish lives, by being enriched by the farm and our natural surroundings.


This summer you can have another transformative experience here, at Pearlstone, in Reisterstown, MD. I invite you all to expand your relationship with nature, Judaism and the earth as explorers and come to our teacher training conference, Nevatim. Learn how to be the best experiential educator you can be. Learn how to make the outdoors your classroom and learn how to become more alive, outside!

Join us, here at the Pearlstone center, this July, 9th-11th for a transformative teacher training conference.

Click here to register!
And continue to learn and be fruitful in all you do.

Good Shabbas!
Lisa Bodziner
PEP Cohort 7