Monday, November 20, 2017

Experiencing Israel with Mayanot Legacy

Last month, the Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies hosted a group of 32 people from the United States. The trip, called Mayanot Legacy, was attended mostly by parents of our Birthright Israel alumni, and aimed to give the participants a similar journey as their children had. 

For many, this was their first time in Israel. For others, while they've been here once or more, admitted that the group experience, the knowledgable guides, and the carefully planned itinerary made the trip like no other. 

For nearly everyone, it was their first time experiencing Friday night at the Kotel, a moment many will cherish for years to come. One particular highlight for everyone was the Shabbos dinners at the homes of local hosts. They were welcomed in by people they had never met as if they were long lost family coming back for a visit. The friendship and love made a real impression on the group. 

Levi Margolin, the group's scholar in residence said that this experience was very similar to a Birthright Israel trip. "The group atmosphere, the peer experience, were all very similar but, here, you're dealing with people with real life experience under their belts. That's a totally different ballgame."

The eight day journey began up North, visiting the Galil and Golan, including a visit to Tzfat and then traveled south to Jerusalem, the desert and finally, Tel Aviv where the journey came to a close. 

For more information regarding our upcoming Mayanot Legacy trips, please email or check out the website 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Mazal Tov To The Entire Mayanot Family!

May we only continue to celebrate simchas together.

Mazal Tov to Mayanot participants Nick & Jillian, 
who got engaged on the top of Masada last week! 

Irina and Pesach Alpert had a baby boy
Kayla and Alex Bodner had twin boys
Chava and Yehuda Bolotin had a baby boy and made an upshernish within a week 
Serena and Levi Cohen had a baby girl 
Ariella and Joe Craven had a baby girl 
Mandy and Etan Efrati had a baby girl 
Tanya and Amit Friedlander had a baby girl 
Gani and Aaron Lazer Goodman had a baby girl
Nechama Dina and Rabbi Avraham Hendel had a baby boy 
Shmuel and Margalit Hoffman had a baby girl 
Elana and Elliot Kahan had a baby boy 
Leigh and Daniel Kohn had a baby girl
Yehudis and Abraham Levitan had a baby boy
Rebecca and Eric Maurer had a baby boy
Miriam and Eli Meltzer had a baby boy
Nechama and Levi Yitzchak Pevsner had a baby girl 
Yutty and Avrohom Polinger had twin boys
Yehoshua and Chaya Rubin had twins, a boy and girl 
Naomi and Gabe Schwed had a baby boy 
Musya and Menachem Mendel Shemtov had a baby girl
Eliana and Elya Silfen had a baby girl 
Natalie and Aaron Vasquez had a baby girl 
Shifra and Yedidya Witt had a baby boy

Mazal Tov to Chana Boaz who became a grandmother to twins, a boy and girl
Mazal Tov to Beverly and Andy Liggett on their granddaughters birth 
Mazal Tov to Friedy Yanover's son and daughter in law who had a baby boy

Mayan Heller and Chaim Allen
Chana Reich and Aharon Tzvi Altman
Kira Waxler and Yonatan Ben Israel 
Deena Schanowitz and Sholom Ber Wolberg
Batya Amin and Kalman Gavriel Delmoor
Marina Grumberg and Akiva Shimon 
Marlene Jacobi and Slav Perushev 

Mazal Tov to Devori Hirshler's son, Aron Hirshler and Pnini Shedrowitzky

Ruthy Miller and Aryeh Lev Cistia
Tikvah Feiglin and Mendel Gestetner
Cheved Krasnianski and Moshe Krasnjanski
Malka Gestetner and Sholom Ber Kudan
Penina Romanek and Eli Taylor
Batya Liba Vitkute and Yissacher Weiss 

Mazal Tov to Inga and Jay Barsky on the bar mitzvah 
of their twin boys, Noach and Shlomo Aryeh!
Mazal Tov to Alissa and Ben Rosenthal who just celebrated 
a bar mitzvah for their son!
Mazal tov to our esteemed teacher, Chana Boaz, 
who has a book available on Amazon, 'The Dynamics of Dating'.
Mazal Tov to Daniel and Leigh Kohn for their new home in Jerusalem, 
May it be a true Beit Chabad filled with Joy and Light! 

The L'chaim of Aharon Tzvi Altman and Chana Reich

Bolotin Upshernish in Massachusetts, 
with Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov, Executive Director, in attendance

 Natalie and Aaron Vasquez's baby girl, 'Menucha Chaya' 

Barsky Family Bar Mitzvah Boys visiting Israel, 
with Rabbi Shlomo Gestetner, Mayanot Dean

Please email us to share your good news!
 Send your images and Mazal Tov's to: 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Brothers Uplift At Mayanot Visit

Brothers Rabbi Chuni Vogel and Rabbi Nechemiah Vogel visited the Mayanot Yeshiva in Jerusalem for more than one reason.

The Delaware Jewish community might not be the largest or as well known as communities like New York or Los Angeles, but relative to their size the community is having a great international impact.

Under the direction or Rabbi Chuni Vogel, Director of Chabad of Delaware, the community has been bolstered greatly, and the Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies, in Jerusalem, is experiencing the positives effects of all the students that have come through from Delaware.

Current students, Zach Horowitz and Isaiah Coplon of Wilmington Delaware, are just two examples of inspired individuals, who are excited for the upcoming year.

“After only a week, my experience at Mayanot has been very eye opening; it is a fantastic feeling to be in a place where I can learn, grow, and experience authentic Judaism in an environment surrounded by passionate, G-d loving people. There is no doubt that this year will continue to be one of immense positivity and growth for me, and I’m so looking forward to the many more experiences to come,” says Horowitz, CTeen champion of 2016.

(Horowitz and Coplon) 

Starting the new semester off right, Rabbi Chuni Vogel, and his brother Rabbi Nechemiah Vogel of Chabad of Rochester, came to visit the students, in Jerusalem. They lead a fabrengen and discussed what the students’ goals were for their upcoming year of growth. The students were grateful for the visit, the ability to fabreng with their shliach, and for being welcomed to Mayanot in a supremely unique way.

Rabbi Chuni Vogel related, “The time in my youth that I spent in Yeshiva has been the source and foundation of all the good in my life and that of my family. Visiting Mayanot and seeing how the individuals from our community are now having that same life altering experience, brings me inner joy that can't be adequately put into words.”

“It is a wonderful opportunity for new students to be greeted, at the beginning of the new academic year, by the shluchim that helped inspire them to come. For these individuals, the learning experience can be even more transformative”, said Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov, Executive Director of Mayanot.

Motti and Rachel Flekshtein also grew up in the Chabad of Delaware community and came to learn at Mayanot in 2005. Today they themselves are shluchim in Delaware. The Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies is proud to partner with Chabad of Delaware to inspire our youth and help create Jewish leaders like Rabbi Motti and Rachel Flekshtein, who are impacting hundreds of Jewish teens in their home community. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Rabbinical Ordination at Mayanot

We are very pleased to announce, a group of new rabbis have recently received their rabbinic ordination from the Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies.

Mayanot has offered this exclusive rabbinical training program for the past 15 years. Our graduates have gone on to assist Jews in all corners of the globe, initiating a variety of learning programs in their home communities. A number of these ordained Rabbis have proceeded to found their own Chabad Houses worldwide and help their Jewish communities in a multitude of ways.

The Smicha program is headed by Rabbi Yisroel Noach Wichnin, Rosh Yeshiva of the Mayanot Men's Learning Program and Rabbi Shimon Garbose, of the Rabbinical ordination track within the Mayanot Yeshiva. Together they have spearheaded this remarkable program, teaching, training, and mentoring these 'Rabbis in training' to go onto to build their home communities and inspire Jewish involvement and engagement with the knowledge and confidence to become great leaders. The rabbinic ordination is signed by the renowned halachic authority, Rabbi Zalman Nechamia Goldberg, of Jerusalem and by Rabbi Shimon Garbose.

 Within the Mayanot Men's Learning Program the 'Rabbi's in training' program is a fully integrated track within the Yeshiva. These students are able to mentor and tutor students in other tracks, which is a unique opportunity that has resulted in close-knit friendships over the years, meaningful life experiences and shared inspiration.

“The students have gathered this year from all over the world, for a very rigorous program of learning. We expect a lot from our rabbinic students and this year’s group has risen to the challenge”, Rabbi Wichnin, shared. “In addition to the Yoreh Deah they have also gone through the Alter Rebbes Hilchot Shabbat. The students, thank G-d, did very well, infusing themselves with the study and application of Jewish law, through the special energy and life that chassidis provides”.

The following students from the 2017 program are:
Menachem Blasberg
Nissen Eichorn
Hershy Gutnick
Menachem Loebenstein
Shmuli Michaan
Yoni Rubin
Mendel Schochat
Nachie Smetana
Mendel Toron
Dovid Tsikman
Menachem Mendel Zakon

Mazal Tov to all the new Rabbis, and their families; may you all be blessed to go on to do great things!

(From Left: Rabbi Wichnin, Rosh Yeshiva & Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov, Executive Director) 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Mayanot Hires New Student Dean

Mrs. Freidy Yanover is the new Dean of Student Affairs at the Mayanot Institute in Jerusalem, boosting the Women’s Program.
The Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies is bringing in the New Year with exciting additions, introducing new faculty to the Women’s Program in Jerusalem.

Mrs. Freidy Yanover has been appointed to the role of Dean of Student Affairs. With years of experience in teaching, counseling and mentoring, she is an invaluable addition to the staff at the Mayanot Women’s Campus.

As a senior lecturer at Bais Chana International, and a licensed coach, she has brought in the fall semester with a fresh approach to morning chassidut, and a strong one on one environment for student counseling. Students can now feel more confident than ever before sharing any questions they have regarding their personal growth process.

As the Scholar in Residence at Mayanot over the summer, Mrs. Yanover brought her depth of Torah knowledge and her ability to teach the esoteric concepts of chassidut in a contemporary and relevant fashion. We, at Mayanot, know that in her new role, she will continue to impact the women positively, encouraging questions, open discussions, and a healthy learning environment.

Mrs. Rivka Marga Gestetner, Educational Director at the Mayanot Women’s Program shared, “It's been amazing having Mrs. Yanover join our team. Her love and care for each student is felt by all, including their campus and community shluchim, who she is also in contact with.”

Shoshi Glass, a 2017 summer student remarked, “The Mayanot Summer Program was my first experience in a seminary setting, and Mrs. Freidy Yanover immediately made me feel at home. Her wisdom, warmth, and support create a beautiful energy that radiates throughout Mayanot and I'm beyond thrilled she returned (like me), for the Fall Semester. Her Tanya and Chassidut classes are accessible and profound, and speaking with her one-on-one about emotional, intellectual, and spiritual issues continues to foster my growth in immeasurable ways.”

Mayanot is encouraging shluchim and anash who know students between the ages of 19-29, who would benefit from the Mayanot learning experience, to be in touch with Mrs. Yanover directly: .

Interested students can contact Mayanot at: (women's), (men's) 
or check out for more information on joining our 2017/ 2018 program.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Mayanot Celebrates 50 Years to the Liberation of Israel’s Capital

For their a gala celebration, 
the Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem 
tracked down the whereabouts of 5 alumni, 
and the results are impressive!

Written by: Anav Silverman

The Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies recently celebrated the miraculous victory of the Six Day War and the renaissance of Jewish education that has flourished in the Jewish people’s eternal capital ever since its reunification, in a special Jerusalem Jubilee evening on Sunday, June 18.

Held at the Menachem Begin Center in Jerusalem, the co-founders of Mayanot, Rabbi Shlomo Gestetner and Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov honored some special supporters of Mayanot’s educational programs, which have impacted thousands of young Jews around the world.

“Mayanot has brought over 50,000 students to Israel through Birthright Israel and other programs,” said Rabbi Shemtov at the opening of the event. “Each year, we bring around 5,000 participants. Thousands have made aliyah to Israel following our programs.”

Mayanot offers annual semester, winter and summer as well as post Birthright Israel study programs for women and men age 20 and over no matter their background in Jewish studies.

David Horovitz, the founding editor of The Times of Israel, who previously worked at the Jerusalem Post and Jerusalem Report, delivered the keynote address at the Jerusalem Jubilee. Mr. Horovitz discussed what it meant for him and his family to come to Israel.  He illustrated what it is like being a part of this great nation, with all its challenges and successes, “when for the first time in 2000 years the Jewish nation got their country back, how can you not want to be a part of it”.

(Mr. David Horovitz giving the keynote address) 

Honorees of the evening included Martin and Melanie Glatt who were the recipients of the Jerusalem Award for their work in enhancing the Jewish experience at the Western Wall through the Kotel Foundation and as dedicated partners in the educational work of Mayanot as well as their leadership of the Jewish Interactive.

Benjamin and Susan Shapell were the recipients of the Aliyah Award for their support of Jewish education and programs that improve life in Israel.

Nicky Newfield, a passionate Jewish educator and founder of the educational technology production house, Jewish Interactive, was the recipient of the Education Award for her pioneering work in Ed-tech.

(From Left: Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov, Rabbi Shlomo Gestetner, Johnny & Nicky Newfield, Aviva & Jeffry Kashuk)

“I don’t feel I deserve any kind of award. Twenty years ago, I went to the Gestetners’ home for Shabbat, and they have been role models for me ever since then. Their home truly inspired me,” said Newfield, who made aliyah from South Africa with her family, four years ago.

David and Eda Schottenstein of Florida, were honored for their philanthropic projects including their support of the new Mayanot World Center and were the Recipients of the Leadership Award.

“We see the dividends of our investments in Mayanot. Everywhere we have met Jewish people, we are told about the time they spent in Mayanot and what a positive impact it had on the direction of their lives,” said David Schottenstein upon receiving the award. His wife, Eda, added that Mayanot has “an amazing domino effect that doesn’t seem to end.”

(From Left: Eda & David Schottenstein, Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov) 

One particular spiritual domino effect that Rabbi Shemtov highlighted during the evening was The World Tefillin Campaign that began 50 years ago in response to the imminent danger facing the State of Israel before the outbreak of the Six Day War. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, initiated a campaign to encourage Jewish men and especially IDF soldiers to put on tefillin, as a mitzvah to provide spiritual protection. When Israel had liberated the Old City and the Western Wall, the Rebbe immediately sent a telegram to set up a stand by the Kotel where any Jew could put on tefillin. Fifty years following the Six Day War, the Tefillin Campaign is still alive and strong. 

(From Left: Rabbi Shlomo Gestetner, Martin & Melanie Glatt, Aviva & Jeffry Kashuk, Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov) 

Martin Glatt initiated and sponsored, in partnership with Mayanot and Chabad at the Kotel, a new and improved Tefillin brochure to be used by the Western Wall. This was in honor of the 50th year anniversary of the World Tefillin Campaign and the liberation of the kotel, and every guest was gifted a copy.

Both Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Dr. Michael Oren, acknowledged the important work of Mayanot in letters shared in the event journals given out during the evening.

“Mayanot has contributed to the renaissance in Jerusalem through their Jewish Studies programs, their thriving synagogue, and their leadership in bringing thousands of students to Israel through Birthright Israel,” wrote Mayor Barkat.

“Through Mayanot, thousands of young Jews have developed a deep connection to Israel and the Jewish nation,” noted Oren, who was the former Israeli ambassador to the United States. “Tonight’s honorees are outstanding examples of our people’s commitment for tikkun olam.”

Guests were honored by a special video presentation of Mayanot alumni impacting society and Israel.

The presentation focused on Etan Efrati’s work at OurCrowd an Israeli Start Up, Eugene Kontorovitch’s work as Director of The Kohelet Policy Forum, Esther Fuerster’s work at the Ministry of Justice, Tzvi Maller’s work as co-owner of Crave gourmet street food in Jerusalem, and Danny Sack’s work as Director of the Mayanot Birthright Israel division.

One audience member, Scott Spiegel, 23, of Miami, who was visiting as part of a Birthright Israel: Mayanot trip, said that his first visit to Israel had been amazing.

“I haven’t felt connected to Judaism that much since my Bar Mitzvah. This trip with Birthright Israel: Mayanot has made me appreciate my Jewish heritage so much more. I know this experience will continue to inspire me in the future.”

To view the live stream of the keynote address, click here.

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