These and Those

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

[Alumni Guest Post] Pardes didn’t change my life

Posted on February 10, 2014 by Vicki Raun

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Alum Vicki Raun (Year '11, Fellows '12) continues to study at
Pardes in the evenings, and this is her personal reflection:

574613_3851392035823_1804870594_nPardes didn’t change my life and I don’t expect it to in the future.

Which is why I continue to take classes and attend Night Seder.

Yes, I moved 7,626 miles [according to Google] to attend Pardes and “study for a year.” And yes, I stayed another year as a fellow, and made aliyah. And it’s true that I left a California apartment a 10-minute walk from the Pacific Ocean for a studio in Jerusalem 30 minutes from … Pardes. And I gave away a wall-full of books I really enjoyed for about two short shelves of books I struggle with and a handful with more colorful covers that no longer seem nearly as engrossing. And it is true that I’m now Shomer Shabbat and kosher.

Even though my teachers, friends and family have all told me my life has changed, I really don’t understand the comments. Those pre-Pardes things listed above weren’t my life; they were just the accessories to my life. In my heart and in my mind, coming to Israel, to Jerusalem, to Pardes, is simply following the journey my life was meant to take.

At Pardes, I found a community following individual paths together, which only seems like an oxymoron if you aren’t familiar with Pardes. Surrounded by brilliant fellow students, taught by amazing scholars, and with everyone nurtured by bright hardworking staff, Pardes was the best stage of my life’s journey so far.

That journey, G-d willing, is far from over. And, as I continue to follow my path, I will continue to study at Pardes – because I don’t want to change my life.