Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Judaism Isn't Just My Religion It's My History




What Impact Mayanot Israel Had On Me
By: Heather Franzman, Birthright Israel: Mayanot Participant

Growing up I was raised in a household where religion didn’t hold much importance. Both of my parents are Jewish but felt that because they were made to follow a religion growing up, they didn’t want to make their children do the same. Attending public school never shaped any religious beliefs and I was never surrounded by many Jewish people.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve felt as though there should be a place for religion in my life. I knew I wanted to go to Israel and become absorbed in Jewish culture and Birthright Israel allowed me to do so.

Mayanot Israel not only allowed me to see the beautiful country of Israel but to learn about the history of Judaism and immerse myself in the culture. Through each experience during the trip, from seeing the beauty of Tzfat, touring Masada, riding camels in the desert, to Shabbot at the Western Wall, Mayanot not only showed me how Judaism isn’t just my religion, it’s my history.


Mayanot allowed me to see a place I wouldn’t normally have gone to visit, and as a result, has showed me that I want to be come more involved in Jewish life. In addition to becoming involved in the Chabad club of FIT (the Fashion Institute of Technology), I hope to learn Hebrew in the future and go back to Israel very soon.

Not only have I learned more about my religion, but the trip introduced me to new people that are now very good friends. Birthright Israel: Mayanot reintroduced me to the religion I was meant to observe and has given me great friends that will last a lifetime. I strongly urge everyone interested in Birthright Israel to go with Mayanot because they gave us the best experience possible.

Via: Chabad at FIT




Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Mayanot Jerusalem Jubilee



The Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies 

cordially invites you to join us in celebrating 

JERUSALEM JUBILEE: 

50 YEARS OF THE REUNIFICATION 


Keynote address from Deputy Minister  

Dr. Michael B. Oren 

 

Sunday, June 18th 2017 

7:00 - 10:00pm 

The Menachem Begin Center, Jerusalem 

(6 Sh.A. Nakhon Street)

Honorees:

Martin & Melanie Glatt 

David & Eda Schottenstein 

Benjamin & Susan Shapell 

Nicky Newfield 

 

Join us as we celebrate together!


To purchase tickets, click here.

buytickets.at/mayanotjerusalem





Reception beginning at 7:00 PM 
Ceremony Beginning at 7:30 PM 
Special keynote address by Deputy Minister, 
Dr. Michael B. Oren 

Discussing: 
"The 6 Day War & Its Relevance For Us Today"

For any questions or to become an event sponsor, 
please email: susie@mayanot.edu 

To Purchase Tickets 


Dr. Michael Oren's books will be available for purchase. 


Monday, May 29, 2017

The Mayanot Shul Shavuot Program


SHAVUOT WITH MAYANOT
The Mayanot Shul is hosting all night Learning!
A wonderful community atmosphere, with light refreshments served. 
Commemorating the 50th Reunion of Jerusalem 

WHEN & WHERE:
Tuesday May 30th, 2017
28 Narkis Street, Nachlaot Jerusalem
נרקיס 28, נחלאות ירושלים, בית כנסת מעיינות

CLASSES:
(Each Class is 45 Minutes)

Workplace Halacha
Rabbi Ari Wasserman
12:00 Midnight

Jerusalem: From Conception To Resurrection
Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Poupko 
1:00 AM 

Jerusalem: Through The Prism Of Chassidut 
Rabbi Shlomo Gestetner
2:00 AM 

ליקוטי מהר''ן 
רבי אופיר שבח 
12:00 - 2:00 AM
בעברית 

COMMUNITY FABRENGEN:
"Making The Torah Real In My Life Time"
Featuring:
Rabbi Ami Weisz
Dr. Yoni Stanleigh
2:30 - 4:00 AM

NOTE: Shachrit at Mayanot begins at 9:15 AM 
For inquiries or to sponsor, please contact: Susie@Mayanot.edu 

To join the Mayanot Shul Facebook Page and receive updates, click here.

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Shavuot Kids Program at the Mayanot Shul
Shavuot Day: 
Wednesday May 31st 2017 
In the Main Shul Courtyard
10:30 - 11:45 AM

Program Includes:
Hear the Aseret Hadibrot (Taking place at 10:40 AM sharp in the Main Shul)
Refreshments and Prizes
Games and Activities
Story Time 

Sponsored In Memory Of:
Alta Shula Bat Yosef Yitzchak & Hinda Swerdlov 


We look forward to celebrating with you!

For any questions please email: Yossi@Mayanot.edu
Chag Shavuot Sameach!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Kindness Coming Round Full Circle


It was 1987 and six young Yeshivah students, who were Shluchim at Ohr Elchonon in Los Angeles, decided, one day, to skip the Yeshiva lunch and dine at the Milky Way Restaurant on Pico Boulevard. 

The proprietor of the restaurant was impressed with the students, and in her signature generous spirit offered some special dishes ‘on the house’. However, she did more than just offer complementary delicacies to  the Yeshiva students;  she listened to them, discussed life with them and in general made these out-of-town young students totally welcome in her restaurant, as if it was her own home. What they soon learnt about Leah Adler, the proprietor of The Milky Way Restaurant, was that she was an extraordinarily kind, wise, and giving person.

Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov, executive director of the Maynot Institute of Jewish Studies, was one of those six shluchim. “Leah, or Lee Lee as she was known, cared personally for her customers she listened to their stories, to their problems and rejoiced in their joy”, he shared.  When he heard the sad news of her passing he knew that Mayanot should honor this unique person.
Born in Cincinnati, Leah developed a love of music, learning Piano at age five. She studied at the Music Conservatory and graduated from the University of Cincinnati. She opened her own art gallery in Scottsdale and later her restaurant in Los Angeles. In 1945 she married Arnold Meyer Spielberg, and they had four children — Steven, Anne, Sue and Nancy. She is survived by her children, her eleven grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

On Thursday, March 23rd, 2017, together with Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon, the founder of Kosher Supervision of America (KSA) in Los Angeles, a special Shloshim commemoration took place in loving memory of Leah ‘Lee Lee’ Adler at both the Mayanot Men’s and Women’s campuses. The Mayanot women’s program studied Mishnayos, in merit of Lee Lee. At the Men’s Program, the students all participated in a Siyum masechta and special fabrengen with several guest speakers who all knew the nifteres.

Rabbi Binyomin Lisbon, spoke at both events. As the Rav haMachshir of the restaurant, he knew Leah Adler very well and described her unique qualities and emphasized how we can all learn from her kindness, open heartedness and listening ear. “She was a gem of a human being” he said. “She had an incredible personality and truly made an impact on you, even if you only spent a short time with her.  Her character, her warmth of spirit, and her ma’asim tovim were remarkable”.


Moshe Stein shared the first time he and Leah both met the Lubavitcher Rebbe at the Machane Israel Fund talk in 1990, and how he spoke to Leah right after she met with the Rebbe in New York. “It was absolutely phenomenal”, he said. “Lee was really inspired by her meeting with the Rebbe, she was beaming like a ray of light, shining… I am so grateful for that memory”.

When Leah and Bernie Adler first desired to provide fine kosher dining in Los Angeles, they approached Rabbi Lisbon and told him they would only embark on this project, which at the time was uncharted waters, if they would receive a letter of blessing from the Lubavitcher Rebbe. The Rebbe’s letter is prominently displayed in the restaurant, to this day.

Faigy Zilberstein, an old friend of Lee Lee, was kind enough to come to Mayanot and share her memories with the students at the Women’s Program, which was greatly appreciated by all.

This special Shloshim event was coordinated with the help of Leah’s son-in-law and daughter, Shimon and Nancy Katz. The Mayanot family sends their condolences to Leah’s children and their spouses and their families; Steven Spielberg & Kate Capshaw, Shimon & Nancy Katz, Danny & Anne Opatoshu, and Jerry & Susan Pasternak, May they all be comforted with the mourners of Israel.

This summer Mayanot will be hosting over 4,000 Birthright Israel participants, and is dedicating the volunteer activities in Leah’s merit, the activities which so greatly reflect her life, l’zchus - Leah Faigel Bat Shraga Feivel. May her nesahmah have an aliyah and may her memory be a blessing and an inspiration for all of us!

Watch the video of the event, here.
For more information about Mayanot and its many learning programs please visit: Mayanot.edu 







Thursday, May 25, 2017

Women’s Israel Reunion on Yom Yerushalayim




The Mayanot Israel Alumni Women's Network gathered on Tuesday May 23rd, for their second meeting. Graciously, Mrs. Rivka Marga Gestetner, the Mayanot Women's Program educational director, offered her home for the gathering. 

It was fitting that the women's reunion occurred the evening of Yom Yerushalayim, celebrating the anniversary of 50 years of the reunification. The city was celebrating a reunion and so were the Mayanot women! It was a wonderful atmosphere, as all of the women who gathered, have made Aliyah themselves, building a life here, in Jerusalem. 

The group spanned several years of Mayanot alumni. Some students present had attended the very first year of the program, while others represented the most recent graduating class. It was wonderful catching up, and being able to hear what everyone is doing in their life, building families, careers and doing it in Israel. 
The new Scholar in residence, Mrs. Freidy Yanover shared Torah relating to Shavuot and was lucky enough to meet all of the Alumni in attendance. 

Mrs. Yanover eloquently spoke about receiving the Torah on Shavuot, the Jewish people's marriage to G-d, and our level of choice at Sinai & in our everyday lives. She shared how, "the Sinai experience is a feminine one, in that it’s fluid and not static. We may feel far at times, or even down, but we must always remember our relationship can never be ruptured, it can always be repaired."

Rivka Marga, whose hospitality is unparalleled, prepared a beautiful table including: cheesecake, homemade jam, granola, yogurt and wonderful platters of Israeli fruit. She fabrengened with the women regarding gratitude, sharing, "It's amazing that G-d gave us a neshamah (soul) but it's even more amazing that he let us know that we have a neshamah (soul)." 

Mayanot thanks all the women that came out and participated in this wonderful evening of sharing, fabrenging and learning, and hope that this beautiful tradition of gathering to learn, and reconnecting only continues! 

To find out more about hosting Mayanot alumni events in your city, please contact: susie@mayanot.edu 





Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Personal Account of S'firat Ha'Omer


Sharing what a Mayanot Women's Program student has learnt about this period of time, between Passover and Shavuot, and how it can impact our lives in a practical way. 

Written by: Lauren Buckman

We are currently in the period of S'firat Ha'Omer, the Counting of the Omer. The 49 day count starts on the second day of Passover and ends on Shavuot, the holiday celebrating the giving of the Torah. Back in Temple times, the seven weeks were counted from the day the barley offering was brought to the day the wheat offering was given on Shavuot. These 49 days also correspond to the seven expressions of our seven characteristics, which we work to strengthen in order to prepare ourselves to receive the Torah on the holiday of Shavuot. 

Why? When we were slaves in Egypt we sank to the 49th level of spirituality (the 50th level being the lowest level of which there is no return). Let’s just say we were not people to be proud of... G-d gave us ten miracles (the Ten Plagues), we saw them, and then we went on our merry ways. We did not internalize what was happening around us and were not grateful to G-d for what he was doing for our people. 

Alas, we were about to reach the lowest level when G-d freed us from Egypt. We left Egypt on the morning following the Seder (the first Passover Seder in history) and seven days later we crossed the Reed Sea. 
We were out. We were free people. Gone were the days of slavery in Egypt. 

Why did G-d really save us from the hands of Pharaoh and the Egyptians? 
It wasn’t just to be free physically, perpetually wandering the desert, but to be free Jews. We left slavery specifically to receive the Torah at Mount Sinai and practice the faith of our people. And this is what the Jewish people have been trying to do ever since. Not only to be Jews, but to be practicing, thriving, progressive Jews. 


Now, during the counting, we are on a journey to take full advantage of the miracles of Pesach and each of the miracles we experience every day: waking up in the morning, every breath we take, and every opportunity we get to do good in this world. 

The circumstances of today would be unimaginable to our ancestors. For thousands of years, Jews have faced persecution in order to practice our religion. We were exiled from our land and only until very recently do we have our own state (as of 69 years ago). Now we have a place to call home which is very accessible, we have religious freedom in the countries where we live, we have the unimaginable. I cannot even begin to tell you how fortunate I feel to be living in Eretz Yisrael, with the freedom to study Torah and do Mitzvot. 

I look forward to these final weeks, soaking up as much of Israel and Torah as I can, to ultimately bring this light home and around the world.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Newfound Love of Israel

Some of the Birthright Israel: Mayanot students (L-R) 
Aviel Yashar, Eli Polikar, Shahar Zuckerman, Emily Franklin, and Esther Amram. 

There is something special about Birthright Israel: Mayanot trips to Israel

After many months of anticipation, we were finally on our way on our trip to Israel through Birthright Israel: Mayanot. When word spread that our flight to Israel was delayed about 10 hours, a wave of frustration spread through our group. Israel was having its worst snowstorm in decades-at the very same time as our scheduled flight. There was talk that we'd be stuck at Kennedy airport in New York for those long hours, and that our new flight would be so early we wouldn't even have time to sleep. While the latter was true, Rabbi Chaim Lipskier stood in line for us at a service desk and after a couple of hours managed to get our whole group accommodations for the night, as well as vouchers for the hotel and airport. Seeing our rabbi's sincerity and concern was early proof that I chose well by going on Birthright Israel: Mayanot with Chabad at UCF.


That night was a better mixer than anything that could have been planned. While some chose to save their vouchers, most of us spent quality time with each other and mingled away. Afterward, our group naturally split into those that wanted to rest and those that were going to save the slumber for our early morning flight. I spent that night with a few people who were initially strangers and later became my best friends on the trip.

Israel was absolutely breathtaking. Florida's flat terrain has allowed us to build all over it, and civilization dominates the land. In Israel it is nothing like this. The people and the land are married, and their civilization is integrated.


As you travel, you find yourself looking up and down to see other cities. The sight of windy roads and buildings sprinkled all over the mountains rendered me speechless. Each of Israel's cities has its own personality; Tel-Aviv offers beautiful architecture, a heavenly beach and modern culture, while Jerusalem carries a holiness as ancient as its stone foundation.

On our Birthright Israel trip, eight Israeli soldiers stayed with us. Although they've lived in Israel their whole lives, they realized they'd never seen the country in the way that they saw it with our group. Our tour guide, Daniel, an American who made aliyah, exposed the richness of the land to us at every stop so we could see it with more than just our eyes. Daniel passed his passion on to us and we developed an appreciation for the land as well as for each other. Our group embodied the meaning of misphakha (family). We connected like we'd known each other for months although we'd only just met.


My favorite moments in Israel were the intimate farbrengens and group discussions with the Chabad rabbis. Speaking with other Birthright Israel groups made it clear that there was something special about Mayanot trips. I came home with a newfound appreciation for Judaism, after learning how much more there is to the Jewish heritage than faith. It's a culture, a history, and a privilege to be a part of. I have immeasurable gratitude to the donors of Birthright Israel: Mayanot, our loving staff member Tal, and especially our UCF Chabad Rabbi. The experience would not have been the same without them.

Written by: Aviel Yashar, Birthright Israel: Mayanot Participant 2014