These and Those

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

Student Reflection: Kim and Neal Holtzman—Pardes Learning Seminar Winter 2023

Posted on January 25, 2023 by Kim and Neal Holtzman


Kim and Neal Holtzman

Winter 2023 PLS Participants

Learning at Pardes has been on our bucket list for many years. We have a very dear friend who studied at Pardes for two years and spoke often and fondly of the learning and knowledge she had acquired there. We had never taken the opportunity for any true text study or chavruta learning and wanted to challenge ourselves spiritually. My husband and I were headed to Israel for an extended period and thought it would be a good opportunity to join the “Winter Pardes Learning Seminar” and see what Pardes was truly about for ourselves.

From the moment we walked through the doors, we were greeted like family and made to feel very at home. We were part of a diverse group of people, many of whom had attended numerous seminars in the past, but others who were new to Pardes as we were. Our cohort included four rabbis, past and present executive directors of synagogues, a doctor, a lawyer, an artist, as well as other professionals. Although this initially felt intimidating, we soon discovered that none of that mattered as we all attended classes together and learned and were inspired from the exceptional faculty of Pardes. We were brought together over the course of the week by a well-crafted program entitled “In Praise of Doing Nothing? Shabbat and Shmittah in the Modern World”. The faculty challenged us to look at many different texts and together with them, and our chavruta partner(s) see and learn things that opened our minds and our hearts to our Torah and the lessons it has for us.

Being that I am an avid runner and cyclist, I am consistently looking at and seeing things from a physical perspective. What a gift to take a break from the physical world, although our bellies were always quite full with delicious food and snacks offered at all times throughout the day, and to be immersed in our minds and spirit with teaching of the Torah.

Thank you, Pardes, with a special shout out to Nechama Goldman Barash and Michael Emerson for leading and ensuring such a wonderful seminar. This is hopefully just the beginning!
Kim and Neal Holtzman