Sunday, June 17, 2018

A Worthwhile Way To Spend Your Time?

It is obvious that today’s world is fast moving. Every piece of information is available in our pockets, people can talk face-to-face with their friends on the other side of the world, and kids hover around on electric gadgets.  We are living in a 1950’s science fiction novella.  

This seeps into our subconscious, and many people find themselves moving from experience to experience, while still finding it difficult to take in the moment.  With all of our advancement, and the benefits that comes along with it, we also suffer the pitfalls of not being fully attached to our reality.  

This issue, however, is something that can be worked on, believe it or not, by dedicating time towards learning in Yeshivah! A person can begin to develop a sensitivity towards how we spend our time, while learning Torah.  

Time is a space in which we live our lives, and it is divided up into moments; and, it is within these moments that life is experienced.  It is easily missed, but when it is experienced you know that you have been a part of it.  The instances that make up the definitive events of our lives often take place in the most subtle and mundane experiences.  Simply commonalities, such as the way two friends greet each other with a side-ways handshake.  Picking up on these subtleties and enjoying them requires that we be attentive to our present surroundings.  

Investing time in authentically learning about one's heritage, identity and the benefits of dedicating time to discuss ones connection to Judaism, is difficult to describe in words, or replicate in any other setting. The positive impact of dedicating time and 'taking time out' to learn can allow us to live in a more conscious way.

The delusion of the world passing us by can be terrifying.  Learning Torah in a full time manner places a person at odds with the expectations that are placed on us in the outside world.  It is, in a true sense, a stepping out of the paradigm that is set for us by the world and our society.  In doing so, it becomes possible to really live in the moment.  

For example, a person is inevitably going to be faced with challenges or discomfort in their life.  It is possible to deal with this in one of two ways; we can run away from the discomfort into some sort of distraction or we can face the discomfort head on.  By choosing the latter, we are given a space to grow.  

The Yeshiva environment creates a space where a person can learn how to dive into the uneasiness and mine out the pieces of gold that are hidden beneath it. In other words, gaining practical tools in how to deal with life's challenges. What an unbelievably worthwhile way to spend ones time, gaining skills that will help one succeed in every aspect of life. Who wouldn't be interested in such a meaningful en-devour? Actually taking time out, to be able to deal with ones time and those special moments that are the sum total of our lives. 

Written by: current men's learning program student, Ben Shannon


Ben has been studying at the Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem for the past two years, gaining all that he can from the amazing teachers and mentors. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Partnering With Amazing Leaders

We are so honored to work with such incredible Rabbi's 
and educators, who make such a positive impact. 

Rabbi Chaim Lipskier (kneeling, bottom left) 
with the group of students from the May Birthright Israel: Mayanot trip.

Rabbi Chaim Lipskier, co-director of Chabad at the University of Central Florida, returned home tired but happy after leading his 18th Birthright Israel trip. More than 700 students have joined Rabbi Lipskier on the Birthright Israel: Mayanot tours over the last nine years, while another 600 have gone on trips organized by Chabad of UCF.

The 10-day trip travels all around the Holy Land, seeing ancient and modern sites, taking in Israel's history, culture, politics and stunning natural beauty. The intensive tour gives the participants a deep insight into their Jewish identity and its connection to the Jewish homeland.

Rabbi Lipskier joined the trips to act as a spiritual leader, while expert Israeli tour guides taught the students about the history and meaning of the sites they visited, from museums to beaches, and deserts to archaeological digs. The groups also spend a meaningful and restful Shabbat in Jerusalem.

"My experience as a participant on Mayanot Birthright was one of the most special experiences I've ever had as a young Jewish woman." said Sadie Weintraub, who went on Birthright with Rabbi Lipskier in May. "Being able to spend Shabbat at the Kotel added not only the connection to my Judaism, but also to the land of Israel."

Rabbi Lipskier encourages students to take part in the transformative Birthright Israel trip, and many of the participants are inspired to become active in Jewish life on campus on their return.

"The Mayanot trips are always wonderful experiences and it's great to get to know the students so well and see them learn and grow," said Rabbi Lipskier, "But the most important thing is the lasting impact that it has on so many participants, giving them an inspirational grounding on which they can build a lifelong commitment to their Jewish Heritage."

Mayanot works in partnership with more than 250 Chabad on Campus centers around the world to provide Birthright Israel trips.

Rabbi Lipskier is already looking forward to his 19th trip, planned to take place this winter.

To find out more about Mayanot's many trip options, click here.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Your Glowing Reviews

We reached out to our amazing Facebook community of students and alumni and requested our followers share their experiences at Mayanot with us. Here are a few of the glowing reviews we received. (Yes we are shamelessly self promoting, but we knew our readership would appreciate these, almost as much as we do!!!)

Thank you to everyone that responded and shared their experiences with us!
To view all 50 recommendations or write a review yourself, click here.

Mayanot Women's Program is not a one-time experience, but a place that continues to provide warmth, support, and family for the rest of your life. I came to Mayanot at two different times in my life, and I was amazed to find that it completely adapted and was able to fill the role that I needed it to during those different times. Mayanot allows for a lot of independence and flexibility in Jewish studies, and therefore attracts the most incredible, dedicated, curious girls to the program. 

The staff and teachers are supportive, unique, and approachable (and often funny!), and they're so talented at what they do - not just teaching, but also guiding young women who come from such different backgrounds and are heading down different paths, but all are exploring their Jewish roots. Mayanot continues to be a place that I go back to every chance I get, whether to sit in on a class, visit a friend or teacher, or pop in for one of the social events. More than any one thing, it's the general spirit of Ahavat Yisrael, love of your fellow Jew, that makes Mayanot such a welcoming, positive, and uplifting organization.
-Meital Boim 
It's all about the people at Mayanot. The director of education, Rivka Marga, treats other with an incomparable love and warmth. She is the voice of reason to thousands of alumni and students who continue to turn to her for advise long after we've left the Mayanot doors. 

Freidy Yanover, the Dean of Student Affairs, came to the scene with expertise in chassidus and teaching women in a deeper and more thoughtful way than most of us have experienced before. She pays attention to every student in the class and is able to teach a class to students of various levels while making everyone feel comfortable yet challenged. 

Mayanot hires only the creme of the crop in terms of shluchos (counselors), and they really make the program what it is. The shluchos work day and night to enhance the student's learning experience, making nightly activities, farbrengens, bonding sessions, seder niggunim, and more. 

And of course, the students, who come from every single type of background imaginable, from being the only Jew in a tiny rural town in Georgia to being a convert from a South American country to growing up Modern Orthodox in LA to growing up Chabad in Crown Heights. Learning from and with the other students is a totally unique and special Mayanot experience. 

Mayanot is an incredible oasis of love and acceptance and challenging, honest Jewish learning in Jerusalem.

-Bracha M. 

Mayanot was the most meaningful experience of my entire life! The faculty and staff members are warm, inviting, and SUPPORTIVE!!
-Sophia B. 

Mayanot is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. I have never seen a program as dedicated and caring for theirs students. Every part of the program is geared towards the students so that they will have the most meaningful time possible.

Mayanot gives the students an authentic Jewish experience, while respecting the level of observance of every person and not pushing anything on them. Mayanot is a life changing experience and one of the most incredible non-profits out there!
-Faigy D.