These and Those

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

One of the Most Beautiful Things I’ve  Seen at Pardes

Posted on September 15, 2014 by Ariella Siegel

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Ari SieStudying in chevruta (paired learning) in the beit midrash (study room), I see something that makes me so happy, calms any qualms I had about my current place in the world and provides me all the confirmation I need that I am in the right place.

What is this wondrous sight, you may be asking. Perhaps it’s a beautiful sunset, the colors running together in the sky, converging into a golden ball, spreading a glow over this ancient city. Maybe it the full moon, illuminating the night sky, shedding light and casting shadows on the ground. Or perhaps it was the loving smile of a father as he watches his children play. While I have seen and admired all of these these, none of them were the sights that warmed my heart on this day.

On this day, my perfect, all encompassing moment was the Assistant Director of the Center for Education sitting with another teacher, in chevruta, studying and learning. Now, my comparisons may seem a bit dramatic, but I cannot begin to tell you how much this scene really meant to me. Superficially, it may not seem like a big deal, but the significance behind the implications of this spoke volumes to me about the ethics and values at this wonderful institution at which I am studying.

First and foremost was the value placed on learning. The fact that it is part of the ethos and culture of this institution that staff should take time during the day to learn just bowled me over.

The next thing was the idea of teamwork. You’re not only working with another person at a job, you are learning with them, stretching your brain (and possibly your soul with them).

I can’t even begin to imagine how that can enhance the experience for us studying there to have our teachers, our leaders, be studying together.

I’ve worked at a lot of “jobs”…some good, some bad, some just ok. But never have I been at a place where the sense of unity, shared purpose, and desire to continue to grow has been so strong and pervasive. I feel extraordinarily lucky to be living and learning with this incredible people.