These and Those

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


Posted on December 28, 2013 by Andrea Wiese

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From my blog:

Andrea WieseThis isn’t the first time I have written about The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, and honestly, it probably won’t be the last.

Today, Shabbat, Parsha Va’Eira, was very special. There was a Bar Mitzvah of Avi, a son of one my teachers at Pardes, Meesh Hammer Kossoy. I have no idea how many students attended, but I couldn’t look into any part of the crowd, and not see a classmate, teacher, dean, rosh yeshiva, spouse, significant other, etc.

Maybe this is normal for an “institute,” maybe all places are like this, and they attend celebrations of co-workers and teachers. But, I have never been part of an institute that functions like this. I even looked up the definition of institute, so see if this was normal.

institute – noun : an organization created for a particular purpose

There doesn’t seem to be anything explicit to think that this is how an institute would function. So what is it about Pardes that creates an environment that nearly the entire faculty and student body goes to a simcha/celebration of another faculty member?

I think there is a sense of family that develops very quickly. We obviously all leave our homes to come to Jerusalem, yes, some with spouses, but most come alone. We quickly look up to our teachers/rabbis not just for Jewish guidance, but life guidance. Yes, they are amazing teachers of Tanakh, gemara, mishna, Rambam, Hassidute, etc., but more than anything, they serve as role models. They invite us into their homes to spend time with their children, to meet their wives/husbands. They feed us, they sing with us, they pray with us, they listen to us, they truly become like parents, (or in some cases like older siblings.)

So, it is no surprise that when one of our beloved teachers has a celebration, we, as family, all want to attend.

As for Avi, the bar mitzvah, he did an amazing job. He gave a dvar torah that could rival the best any Shabbat morning, read Torah and the Haftarah beautifully, ducked quickly out of the way of flying Hershey kisses, thanked his brother and sister for being the best siblings in the world, and graciously accepted all the mazal tovs he received.

And as for his parents, they, of course, were exemplary models of loving, devoted parents who were beaming with pride over their son’s rites of passage.