Posted on June 7, 2012 by Barer
Tamar views her Jewish journey as a work in progress, or, as Zvi Hirschfield suggests, that of a Gemara sugiyah. As a child growing up in Los Angeles, she went to Hebrew school three days a week and was ‘that kid’ who loved it. Perhaps Jewish education’s emphasis on modern Hebrew at the time made Continue Reading »
Posted on May 21, 2012 by Barer
Kyle was raised in Berkeley, CA to a father who had rejected his Jesuit upbringing and faith altogether, but remained knowledgeable through his work as a publisher of religious books, and a Jewish mother who did not have a strong traditional upbringing. While Judaism as such did not play a positive, central role in her Continue Reading »
Posted on April 30, 2012 by Barer
“Why do you wear a Kippah?” “What could you possibly get out of davenning [prayer]? “Why grow an itchy beard for a month?” These questions, and others like them, have all been asked of me, specifically in light of the fact that I do not believe in God. They are all valid questions, and have Continue Reading »
Posted on March 19, 2012 by Derek Kwait
I have been slowly making my way through Heschel’s God in Search of Man since I boarded the bus from Pittsburgh to New York en route to Pardes and Jerusalem last August. It’s going so slowly because, as usually happens when I read Heschel’s writing, it’s hard to read quickly when every sentence blows your Continue Reading »
Posted on February 28, 2012 by Barer
To the consternation of many around the world, there has been heightened tension around talk of some sort of war starting between Israel/US and Iran. With Parshat Zachor only a few days from being read in shuls (synagogues) around the world, it would behoove all of us to consider what kind of relationship we wish Continue Reading »
Posted on January 12, 2012 by The Director of Digital Media
Pardes student Andrew Lustig performed this piece for the community at the 1st Shabbaton of the year, and we’re very excited that he’s finally made it available online! Thanks, Andrew!
Posted on December 29, 2011 by The Director of Digital Media
One of this year’s Pardes Fellows is studying at Pardes for her first time this year – last year she was studying at the Conservative Yeshiva. Réka Eszter Bodó is one of Pardes’ international students; she’s from Hungary, and These&Those (Th&Th) thought it would be interesting to interview her to learn a bit about her Continue Reading »
Posted on November 16, 2011 by Derek Kwait
(X-posted from my home blog, Yinzer in Yerushalayim) My Bubbie died Tuesday morning. The funeral will be Friday. As I am in Israel, I will not be able mourn with my family or attend. But this is life, this is what happens. It was not a shock, she had been sick for about a month Continue Reading »
Posted on October 30, 2011 by Shibley
Sukkot has been over for a week and a half, but there is one more element that I observed and would like to share. The secular sukkah. It was not surprising to find sukkot in areas like the ultra-Orthodox Mea She’arim, or even in the more Modern Orthodox/Dati neighborhoods, like the one where I live. Continue Reading »
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.