Posted on July 14, 2015 by Kelly Kossar
The original article was posted in the Reformingjew blog that is written by Kelly Kossar.
Kesher Hadash has ruined me for life. I can’t sit through a class, field trip or speaker without over analyzing the way in which material is being presented to me. Am I being told the whole story? What bias does the teacher hold? What voices aren’t being heard?
For the last week I’ve been studying at The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, an incredible place to learn Jewish texts in Jerusalem. I’m taking classes on a wide variety of subjects, all centered around hevruta learning; Intro to Talmud (Nechama Goldman Barash), Women and halacha (Nechama Goldman Barash), Jewish peoplehood (Daniel Smokler ), Rav Kook (Mike Feuer) and Kabbalat Shabbat (Ruth Gan Kagan). The learning is deep, rich and engaging. I’ve only been here a week, and I am already trying to figure out how and when I can come back.
Tuesday afternoons are spent outside of the Beit Midrash experiencing Israel through field trips. I chose to go to the Tower of David Museum in the Old City. We focused on a newer part of the museum, the Kishle. The Kishle was built in 1884 as a military compound, as well as a police station and prison. Pre-State underground Irgun members were imprisoned in its walls/ During the archaeological excavations that took place there over the last decade a “timeline” of Jerusalem was discovered – finds from the First Temple Period, the remains of Herod’s palace and tanneries and dying pools from the Middle Ages. It is remarkable to see layer upon layer of history right in front of you.
While we were at the Kishle, our tour guide told us a story about how Ze’ev Jabotinsky, in act of civil (religious?) disobedience, chose to blow the shofar at the Kotel on Yom Kippur, knowing that his actions would result in being thrown in jail (Kishle). I couldn’t help but think about Women of the Wall, an organization fighting for expressions of all forms of Judaism at the Kotel. Women of the Wall is fighting for religious freedom, just as Ze’ev Jabotinsky was. What’s the difference? Ze’ev Jabotinsky was fighting against the British, while Women of the Wall is struggling with its own people.