Posted on December 31, 2010 by Barer
n some ways it feels like yesterday that I walked into this apartment for the first time, toured Pardes for the first time, and met the people that turned out to be a fantastic and interesting community of friends, but nearly four months have passed. A few weeks ago, as the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ of my leaving Israel was just beginning to glimmer, I had a conversation with a Pardesnik in which I was asked a question that I immediately knew was one that needed further thought as my time to leave drew near. The question was: what am I going to take home with me from my time at Pardes, in what ways is my life going to change as a result of my time here?
I see my time here as being defined mainly by the friends I made and the community I had the privilege of being a part of, as well as the ongoing struggle to define for myself what it means to be Jewish – i.e. coming to terms with my Jewish identity. Therefore, if the changes I want to incorporate into my life as I re-enter the familiar life I have in Vancouver in two short days are going to truly reflect my time here, I must focus on these two broad aspects of the past four months.
First, maintaining connections with the new community I have made while here. This is no easy task, as after four months I am just getting truly comfortable in my life here, and can only conclude that there is so much more to explore and learn from the people that I have gotten to know. I truly believe that I have had the privilege of studying alongside many future Jewish leaders, whether they end up in the US, Israel, or elsewhere, and those are the exact people with whom I want to continue to develop lasting relationships. On the flip side, I have experienced for the first time what it is like to forget about the community of friends and family that I have always lived amongst back home. A reality I didn’t believe was possible has unfolded, and there is no question that the exact connections that I seek to maintain to fellow Pardesniks will be just as hard, if not harder, to maintain than those that I only did a so-so job of maintaining with friends and family back home. I expect that I will live in this ‘fragmented’ world from now on, always having connections that I hold dear in multiple places, yet only really being able to engage with those who are physically close to me at any given time.
On to what I was personally striving towards within the Pardes community. If I had been asked, in a moment of clarity, why I was coming to Pardes back in the summer, I may have been able to articulate that continuing to struggle with my Jewish identity was on the forefront of my mind. That is indeed how I would define my overall ‘project’ here, and why I am considering coming back for another year in September (no, not for the Educator’s Program, Sam). As for answering the question, not physically being at Pardes is no excuse to stop working on how I see Judaism and my place in it. Because ritual is so central to so many forms of Judaism, my own ritual observance, and all the changes and developments it will surely undergo in the near (and not-so-near) future must be a chief component of my bringing Pardes home with me.
As an idealistic young person, I have grand hopes and designs for what the Jewish world could and should look like. However, given that, in reality, change happens glacially, the best I can do is work hard and hope that I can inspire and influence others to do the same. Towards that end, taking more of a leadership role in improving a community like Pardes is an amazing opportunity, but one that I need to have clear goals for before I start. Those are the tasks that I set before myself as I start this next chapter of my life, coming home from a meaningful semester spent thinking and building a community in Jerusalem.
Posted on December 24, 2010 by The Director of Digital Media
So cute! Jordyn & Tom met each other last year through the Pardes community 🙂
Posted on December 22, 2010 by David Bogomolny
“I’m spending this year in Jerusalem, learning how the Rabbis of the 1st and 2nd centuries endeavored to build a just society, and how Jewish tradition has built on their vision.” After graduating from Brandeis University, Julie entered into the field of interfaith organizing through the Jewish Organizing Initiative Fellowship Program. Her many conversations with young Continue Reading »
Posted on November 14, 2010 by Tamara Frankel
Dear Friends, This past week I was struck by a passage in the parsha that reminded me of a word (actually a Hebrew root) that comes up in several parts of the Shabbat liturgy. To be honest, I was very surprised to see this word used in a context that has absolutely nothing to do Continue Reading »
Posted on November 2, 2010 by Eryn
Pardes is a wonderful place to study, and also an amazing community. Like every community, the one at Pardes is formed of shared experiences. The community that is Pardes really became real for me at the first tish of the school year, during our first retreat. Tish is a time in the evening to share Continue Reading »
Posted on October 28, 2010 by Mosheh
It’s been recently pointed out to me that there is a tradition of doing netilat yadayim (ritual hand washing and blessing) before prayer, just as we do before eating bread. Apparently, it is not so common for people to follow this custom, which is why I hadn’t noticed it before, but it does exist. Moreover, Continue Reading »
Posted on October 18, 2010 by Spirit Wolf
Torah Torah Torah. The ‘TOH’ rah. Meesh (Hammer Kossoy) practically dances around the room (or at least in her seat) while saying these words, speaking of the magnificence of Torah, her whole being consumed with the brilliance of G-d’s revelation and the Rabbis’ inventive minds. I think she’s crazy. During my time at Pardes, these Continue Reading »
Posted on September 28, 2010 by Barer
After some reflection during my month here in Jerusalem so far, I have come to the preliminary conclusion that one of the primary benefits that I derive from living here, as opposed to at home in Vancouver, British Columbia (that’s in Canada), is the extremely rich and diverse Jewish intellectual community. That was highlighted for Continue Reading »
Posted on September 21, 2010 by Chef David
In response to a number of requests for the recipe for the Stuffed Cabbage Casserole served today at Community Lunch, I am venturing into the unknown (for me at least!) world of blogging as a means of providing the recipe to those interested. I hope to use this medium in the future to post more Continue Reading »
Posted on September 21, 2010 by Bookie
A HUGE thank you to everybody to helped build the Pardes Sukkah!! It is absolutely beautiful!! Now we will be able to celebrate Sukkot as a family! Pardes Sukkah!!!