Showing posts from January, 2015

Great Expectations

A Mayanot Students reflection:
Last year I had the privilege of coming to Mayanot. The moment I left, I began planning my return.
This trip, I had great expectations of Mayanot based on my previous experience, but I was warned that I should not expect this trip to be as powerful.

Fortunately, Mayanot has not let me down and has exceeded all of my expectations. After a long year of waiting, I came home and was welcomed by new faces who immediately became my sisters.

Being in South Africa for the past year was a struggle in terms of learning, trying to stay in touch with Judaism and being who I want to be. However, it did allow me to truly appreciate how lucky I was and am to be at Mayanot.

Mayanot gives us the opportunity to learn with understanding and experienced teachers. it enables us to reach a potential that we did not know existed within us. And more importantly, we are able to be our true selves without pressure or expectations.

My second time at Mayanot is incomparable to the …

You Could Win $10,000!

Apply Chassidus and Win $10,000
Why shouldn't a Mayanot Student, Alumni or Teacher WIN? Spread the Word and Apply using this Link!
The Meaningful Life Center is publicizing theMyLife: Essay Contest, In honor of the Alter Rebbe’s 202nd yahrzeit on Chof Dalet Teves, and corresponding to the first anniversary of theMyLife:Chassidus Applied series.You are encouraged to submit an essay applying a concept or idea in Chassidus to solve a contemporary life issue or challenge. A panel of judges will select the winning essays. The best of Luck to all that apply. 
1st Prize: $10,000
2nd Prize: $3,600
3rd Prize: $500 Gift Certificate
Entries must be uploaded to their site by midnight,Thursday February 19,Rosh Chodesh Adar to be eligible for consideration.

7th Annual Mayanot Women's Gala

7 Years of Mayanot Women Gathered  to Celebrate the Annual Gala Dinner.
This special evening took place on the 24th of Tevet and several Mayanot alumni were in attendance for this year’s celebration. It was a pleasure to hear how the skills they gained and the friends they made during the Women’s Program have stayed with them over the years.
One such student Batya Mayer, remarked, “Mayanot has been one of the best experiences of my life. All the students here are serious about learning and bettering themselves, everyone is kind to each other and we are all good friends”.
Alyssa Kirsch, a current student with a particularly interesting story, retold, “I chose Mayanot because my shlucha at the Roitman Chabad Center of Cornell, highly recommended it”. Her Rebbetzin, Miri Birk is a Mayanot Alumni from the first year program in 2006. Seeing as how the evening’s slogan was ‘Coming Full Circle’ it seemed very appropriate for Alyssa to speak.

Entertainment included the Mayanot Women’s Choir, a v…

Mayanot Moment: Parashat Va'eira

Our very own Mrs. Rivka Marga Gestetner, assistant director of the Women's division of Mayanot, is featured here on TorahCafe. Check out the video and leave a Comment.
We always love hearing from our students and Alumni! 
Rivka Marga Gestetner compares blood to water, in this week's Parsha Video. Water is represented by cold analysis, while blood represents excitement and passion. These aspects together complete each other. According to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, when conceptualizing an idea, take the time to be passionate and enthusiastic about it!

Have a wonderful Shabbas! 

Saying Goodbye to my Inspiration

Sharing a post from our dear Alumni, Ettel Irwin's blog 'The Trip Continued'!

I've only had my heart broken once.

It happened on an adventure. My companion grabbed my hand like a trusty friend and told me to close my eyes. He led me to a sunny field where the air smelled fresh and the birches donned a silvery glow. We stood there squinting at the sky as our faces flushed with warmth, then he clutched my shoulder and drilled his gaze into my soul. "Stay here forever," he urged. He whispered promises of progress and transformation if I would make this place my home. Then he released his grip and fled.

His name is Inspiration.

We've all known him. He's the one whose first appearance happens when we are most in need. His arrival is spontaneous. He's the sudden surge of momentum that enlivens our cumbersome journeys, he's the headlight that clarifies clouded paths. He makes us fearless. We travel to far-off places without a blink, we shed the safet…

Rabbi at the Gate was our 'Bashert'

We are so proud of our Alumni.  Rabbi Yosef Romano, of Oakland is just one stunning example of why! By Alix Wall -Jweekly

A few months ago, my husband, Paulie, and I were on our way to Baltimore to be with his dying mother. A Chabad rabbi was in the security line at Oakland airport, just a few people behind us. For those flying through New York’s JFK, of course, this might be a common occurrence, but in Oakland, not so much.

Because of my work in the Jewish community, I have come to know many Chabad rabbis in the area, but I didn’t recognize this one. He was young, so I thought he probably hadn’t been here long, or maybe he was just visiting. On the other hand, with Chabad’s explosive growth here, there are rabbis I haven’t met.

Some Jews consider Chabadniks to be more authentic Jews than the rest of us, that their higher observance level gives them a more direct line to the Almighty. I can’t say I buy that. However, a rabbi is a rabbi, and I found myself asking Paulie whether we shoul…

We Must Try!

Here is a special Dvar Torah on this week's Parsha from our very own Mrs. Birnbaum

This Dvar Torah was taken from the Mayanot Women's Program 5th anniversary Dinner Brochure, a memento of Lighting and Educating!


Because of Pharaoh's evil decree to kill all Jewish baby boys, Yocheved tried to hide her newborn son. When she was no longer able to hide him at home she decided to try to save him by floating him on the Nile in a papyrus box. His sister stood on the side to watch and see what would actually become of him. She was witness to an extraordinary episode.

Pharaoh's daughter went to bathe in the Nile. She saw a basket in the water, took it to her, and found a baby. She realized that the baby is Jewish, has pity on the baby and eventually raises it as her own.

The Torah doesn't even tell us her name when it relates this episode. Here she is just called "the daughter of Pharaoh". This adds to the drama of the story.

It isn't just any…

Mayanot Spotlight: Post Chanukah Goodies

Mayanot Spotlight, the new blog segment where we catch up with our alumni, find out about their Mayanot experience in retrospect and see how they’re impacting their current communities.
Here we are joining up with Rabbi Yisrael Shurack, and learning all about the new project he is working on, since finishing Mayanot 8 years ago.
This is what he had to say, “I attended Mayanot 3 times, because I loved the program so much. Once in 2001, a second time in 2003 and a third time in 2005. My favorite part of the program was the relationships I formed with the Rabbi’s.  They weren't just teachers; they were family”.
Rabbi Yisrael also mentioned that his most memorable moment at Mayanot was when Rabbi Levinger agreed to sell him the 2nd Aliyah on Yom Kippur, if he would commit to attend every single Chassidus class, in the morning, for 6 months. He not only agreed, he said “I didn’t miss a single class”!
Presently, Rabbi Yisrael is working on a cooking show that combines great recipes and …