These and Those

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

An Amazing Opportunity to say ‘Hineni’

Posted on July 15, 2020 by Michael Conway

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This was written by Michael Conway, a participant in the 2020 Summer online Pardes Learning Seminar. Michael lives in Miami Beach, FL.

In the fragmented, post-modern world in which most of us live – busily bouncing between responsibilities of jobs and families – Pardes Learning Seminars (PLS) provide a refreshing and renewed connection between ourselves, the Eternal and our Jewish core though the study of our ancient texts (as well as some modern ones).

This was my first PLS, which came just weeks after completing my conversion to Judaism. As such, it was like Torah study on steroids, presented by a diverse and exceptional faculty, and punctuated with havruta study sessions with other participants who were themselves intelligent and kind. My week at PLS both helped to advance my understanding of how and where I fit into the story of Judaism (while identifying new directions of learning to pursue) and served to close the distance between self and G-d that sometimes happens as we go about our lives. It was refreshing, powerful, and truly one of the most meaningful weeks of my life! I was sad to see the week come to an end.

Pardes isn’t intimidating. The entire team (faculty and staff), as well as the participant community, were warm and welcoming. Due to present circumstances, this PLS was conducted via Zoom (which worked very well). I can only imagine the feeling of participating in a PLS on-site in Jerusalem…and look forward to doing that in the future!

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