Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sydney's Unlikely Journey to Mayanot!

Hello everyone and good Shabbos. 
This winter-break I had the opportunity to spend three amazing weeks in Jerusalem studying on a Mayanot program. The Mayanot program I attended was an all-girl yeshiva, or as the rabbi there would say ..it is not a religious program, but a Jewish studies program.
Now, if you would had asked me 3 years ago if I would have even considered going to study at a yeshiva… willingly for 3 weeks, I would have thought you were crazy. I was always that girl in Sunday school never paying attention to what the rabbi was saying and occasionally getting kicked out of the class...  (sorry rabbi zev)
But through Chabad on campus and the Sinai scholar’s program I was exposed to a different view on Judaism that I found interesting and that I wanted to incorporate more of Judaism in my life.
Getting off the plane at Ben-Gurion, I was very nervous because I was going into a yeshiva program without knowing anyone there, I had no idea what to expect and was worried that the other girls would not accept me because I was not raised “religious”.. It also didn’t help with the cab driver even ask me if I was in the right place because girls who go into this building are always wearing skirts…  However, my expectations were totally inaccurate.
The moment I walked through the gate of Mayanot, friendly faces greeted me as if I have been there for months and had just returned from a holiday. I felt so comfortable around these girls and the Mayanot community made me eager to learn right away.  The girls in the program came from all different religious backgrounds and from all around the world and were there for the same purpose, to learn and study together. Since everyone grew up in different Jewish backgrounds this made the classroom discussions unique. Everyone brought something different to the table. And naturally the different classes spoke to us individually.
My favorite class there was on Sunday mornings where we would learn about the torah portion of the week.  While I was there, we were reading the Book of Exodus. Before Mayanot I barely knew what the book of exodus was about,sure I knew when it was when the Israelites were leaving Egypt, but I never knew or understood the main message behind it. Who would have thought that Moses was so humble that he was constantly asking Hashem why him, or the plagues had a significant reason behind them.
Along with the Torah studies, we were also taught skills on how to be a Jewish women, and positive habits that we should incorporate into our lives to become more balanced . these classes  encouraged giving and receiving in our relationships with family and friends. With these class we were taught skills from a book called the 7 habits of highly effective people. These habits ranged from being proactive=which means you can’t just sit around and expect things to happen….As well as having the end in mind and putting important things first.
One of the first classes I was in we learned the story of Rabbi Akiva. Long story short. He was a man that was traditionally Jewish, however he was not educated in Jewish studies. At the age of 40, he was encouraged by his wife to go to school, where he learned for 14 years, and became one of the greatest rabbis in history.
The moral of the story is. No matter of your background or religious background everyone has the potential to connect with their relationship to G-d.
It sounds so cliché, but all of the classes that were in the program were truly incredible. The courses were taught by Rabbis and Rebbetzins that were so full of knowledge and enthusiastic about their subject it was impossible not to participate and want to learn.
If you are interested in hearing more about the program, feel free to come up and ask me! I would definitely recommend the program to anyone that is interested in learning more about Judaism.

From Sydney Brobjorgs Speech.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Ingryd London’s Story of Self Discovery

As most girls would tell you, Mayanot changed them and their lives. Similarly it has done the same for me. I began my journey extremely unsure of myself and what exactly I wanted from my experience. I doubted everything put in front of me and I never really stopped to think.

I came to this institution filled with caring teachers and pupils who were both driven and motivated. Judaism, I am sad to admit, had become a background in my life. I saw it as a secondary 'thing' and found myself shying away from it.

Being in an environment that allows you to explore Judaism through Chassidus at your own pace and ask the questions that have been holding you back has enabled me to face the challenges I had with Judaism.

On my last day I walked through those blue gates one last time with a heavy heart. I felt sad at the thought that I would be leaving a place that not only permitted me to grow as an individual but in fact encouraged me to get in touch with the true me. That voice and desire that has become so small inside due to exterior pressures and demands.

In my application I wrote that I wanted to leave Mayanot with the tools to live a Jewish life that I can understand and appreciate. I needed the foundation to build my life upon and please G-d a home one day. Mayanot has done just that. I cannot begin to explain how much I have learnt whilst I was there.

Although I know my efforts didn't always shine through, I need you to know that due to past experience I have developed this 'wall' that sometimes stops me from expressing true feelings. When I speak about Mayanot I mostly find myself laughing and smiling on the inside whilst I remember all the amazing people, the lessons and simply the Mayanot magic!
There is no other place like it. It is a family that continues to grow and support individuals like myself that weren't sure where or how exactly yiddishikeit fitted.

It was only really towards my last month in Mayanot that I began to understand what it was you meant by leaving 'your ego at the door'. I try and live by that where I can. So thank you.
As a result of all of this, I am now pleading that you change the Mayanot name since "Institute of Jewish studies" is a gnevat daat!

Mayanot is no institute. It is a home.

Wishing you and Mayanot only the best,
Ingryd London

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Mayanot Community Purim Party

For all those in Israel for Purim:

Come join us at the Mayanot Shul in Jerusalem,
28 Narkis Street, Nachlaot 
Start your Purim off Persian style! 

Free Entrance 

Pre-show with Ethan Press at 6:30pm
Megillah at 7pm (main shul) & 8:30pm (downstairs) 
Courtesy of Asher Kaplan 

Featuring the Solomon Brothers Band from 7:45pm -10pm

DJ Rivka Adina from Holy Simchas:
for an all women's dance party 10-11pm 

Amazing Drinks and Snacks

For more information contact: [email protected] 
Come Dance, Celebrate and Enjoy!!!