Monday, April 15, 2019

Pesach Mazal Tov's

Mazal Tov to the entire Mayanot Family!
May we all have much simcha and nachas

Camille and Mathew Altman had a baby girl
Monica and Sholom Babayov had a baby boy
Shana and Andy Balkin had a baby girl
Zehava Bracha and Baruch Arky had a baby boy
Kira and Yehonatan Ben-Israel had a baby girl
Nora and Ori Bergman had a baby boy
Miri and Dovid Birk had a baby boy 
Maayan and Yaakov Dahan had a baby boy 
Batya and Kalman Delmoor had a baby girl
BrookeLynne and Shmuel Dukes had a baby boy
Rebecca  and Yaakov Michael Gohds had a baby boy
Chava and Chaim Aharon Green had a baby boy
Yehudis and Nathan Hoffman
Chana and Joel Janovsky had a baby boy
Ilana and Yisroel Dovid Klein had a baby boy
Esther and Gabriel Kushnir had a baby girl
Shifra Chloe and Yaakov Segal had a baby boy 
Lily and Danny Langer had a baby girl
Chana (Engel) and Adam Nisanoff had a baby girl
Chana Leah and Shia Nochum had a baby boy
Sandra and Mendy Paul had a baby girl 
Sara and Beeno Plotkin had a baby girl
Rachel and Thomas Ryan had a baby boy
Sara and Yonasan Sanford had a baby boy 
Chana Michla Efrat and Yosef Yitzchak Shar had a baby girl
Yaella and Mendel Silverman had a baby girl
Chanee and Motti Yarmush had a baby boy
Xany and Shimon Zeidman had a baby girl

Rachel Pittelman and Moishe Chakoff  
Jemma Strauss and Samuel DeFelipp
Devorah Boree and Mordechai Moshe Dorfman
Taryn Melissa Kantor and David Leon Eliezer
Shifra Kornhauser to Yossi Gopin
Hadas Austin and Avrohom Gottleib
Sara Kashani and Yisroel Gutovitch
Stephanie Brown and Yitzi Hallen 
Isabella Sarcher and Eliezer Jensen 
Kaila Reiders and Netanel Kimchi
Yocheved Cohen and Adam Reich 
Schirley Msika and Ronnie Sternberg
Lea Tikva Saragosti and Daniel Wallach 

Special Mazal Tov to Yossi Shemtov (Jerusalem) and Esther Malka Weinberg (South Africa) on their recent engagement. Mazal Tov to the parents, 
Rabbi Dovid & Sara Weinberg and Rabbi Kasriel & Yaffa Shemtov

Special Mazal Tov to the grandparents, Esther & Ari Lauchter on the birth of their grandsons, twin boys born on Purim Katan, 

Mazal tov the parents Dovid & Shoshana Riesenberg!

(The Silverman Family)

On April 1st 2019, the Mayanot Women's Program Alumni 
celebrated three weddings in one night!
(Devorah Boree giving blessings before the wedding)

(Lea Saragosi and Danial Wallach)

(Jemma Strauss with friend and alumna, Esther Fuerster) 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Our 40th Season!

The Mayanot Birthright Summer program is kicking off in May, with over 4000 young Jews from all over North America, set to experience Israel on a 10 day trip, with 40 peers – many visiting Israel for the first time in their lives.

Mayanot has been a certified trip organizer since the inception of Birthright Israel, 19 years ago. Much more than a free trip, it is a gift from the Jewish people to its younger members, aiming to ensure a vibrant Jewish future while enabling young Jewish adults to explore their heritage in an environment of healthy dialogue, and experiential education.

During their 10 days in Israel, the participants will be joined by a group of 6-8 Israelis – either soldiers or students – with whom they will share the journey of discovery, while learning to understand one another's culture. 

Together, they will visit the mystical city of Tzfat in the North, Tel Aviv's contemporary metropolis, Jerusalem's Old City and modern day central marketplace, Mt. Herzl military cemetery, the Yad Vashem holocaust memorial museum, and, after hiking Masada and floating in the Dead Sea, will sit round the camp fire by the Bedouin tents in the Negev Desert.

Registration is still open ..... so if you know someone that would benefit from the trip, definitely send them the link!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Mayanot, The House on David Yellin St.

There is a house on David Yellin St. that’s earned quite a reputation. Three stories of solid white Jerusalem limestone sit behind a small white gate out front and a garden above. It’s a narrow street, just a single lane. This little street sits at the intersection of worlds. 

A half-kilometer to the south is the famous Jerusalem market, the “shuk”. All manner of shops and restaurants and bars push their fruits and sweets on the countless tourists streaming by. Even the Jerusalem folk navigate through the performers, and the visitors, and crowds, every Friday to make Shabbat happen. A little farther north is another big market street. Black hats, and white shirts, and wigs, and heads scarves, distract from the fact that the people here need to purchase food and clothes and support their families, as well. Sandwiched between the fast pace of the modern world and fast pace of the timeless world, are the people that are running about doing their errands and living their lives.

There are a number of houses on this little one-way road, some small, some grand, some loud, some quiet, but none are quite like the white stone house with the rooftop garden. This little house sits at the intersection of worlds. Teachers in black and white, students in colored plaid, men with great beards, boys with some or none, devoted chassidim and young adults from the Western world, all together to learn a shared past and create their future. A place where the old world gives birth to the new.

The house is full to overflowing, feet running up and down and all around all day long. There are classes and prayers and meals and late night conversations. A place where people want to learn and grow and get in touch with who they are. A place where success isn’t measured in fashion or fitness or scholarliess, where proving yourself simply means showing up, both in body and soul. A place that’s right here, in a time that’s right now, with a host of souls all making real bonds.

The house on David Yellin St. is a place where those who woke up one day and realized they didn’t have to be like everyone else soon find themselves. It’s a place run by people who serve others without submitting to them, who demonstrate how to serve something other than yourself. The house is a boiler room of sound, of passion, of fire. It’s a place hot enough to keep warm those in distant lands.

It’s also more than just pretty words. It’s a place where Jews come to learn about being Jews. And where else will you find a yeshiva where Jews can sing ancient melodies with all their heart in the basement one night and wake up for morning yoga on the rooftop, the next? Where else will you learn the mystical insights of simple Bible stories with black-coated chassidim with your fellow Western-born and raised American or South African or Venezuelan Jews?

Many a traveler has found their feet hitting the hard stone floors of the white stone house with suitcases always arriving or heading out. Hardly a week goes by without a new suitcase arriving upstairs. By plan or by providence. Those who connect find themselves surprised how they even arrived, plucked out of their daily expectations to a place that shockingly resonates.

The house on David Yellin St. is rather unassuming on first glance. The first thing a first-time visitor might notice would be the extensive library in every room. Every available space has become a place to hold classes and store books. From early morning till late evening, books are opened and learned and the sound of discussion echoes through the short halls. The main library is unlike most others in the Western world. If it’s quiet here, then something’s deeply wrong. The sounds here are certainly not silence. They’re sharp and alive all throughout the waking hours and often deep into the night.

The voices in this house are warm, personal, and uplifting. It’s an education in living, in being, in understanding identity and learning for the sake of learning. A bad educational system would be an academic rat race where success is measured by the student’s distance from his classmates. A good educational system would be where more knowledge equals a higher degree of responsibility to teach. The main program is meant for those who want to learn regardless of affiliation. No one is turned away for lack of knowledge, only for a lack of professed desire.

So what makes a house a home? The place you hang your hat? The place you legally own? Or is a home something more than a list of qualities, a poem of pretty words, rather a place where real relationships begin? The place where real connections take place, where you feel comfortable expressing more and more of who you are. The place where you are needed, the choice you don’t need to justify.

Not every place that people live is a home, but the house on David Yellin certainly is! This white stone house, only a few stories high with a little garden on top, with a white fence out front, sitting among the tan and winding streets of the growing City of Jerusalem, is a home to countless souls, and I am so grateful I am one of them. 

Written By: Jonathan Stebbins, Current Mayanot Student

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Student Spotlight: Doron Joffe

An interview with Doron Joffe, 2017 Mayanot Alum

When did you attend Mayanot and for how long?
I attended Mayanot in 2017 after high school. I was there for a year.

What was your favorite part of the program?
I loved the Fabrengens with the Rabbis. Whether it was on a Shabbos or on a Chassidic holiday.  It was vital for me to hear ideas about Judaism from Rabbis who are so experienced with people who come from similar backgrounds to me. 

What was your most memorable moment?
I will never forget a Fabrengen I had with Rabbi Wichnin (our Rosh Yeshivah). He was discussing the idea of "Didan Notzach" (we will be victories!) and its every-day life applications. What he said that day has formed the basis for my attitude throughout university life. I would do anything to be in that Fabrengen again.

What were the most valuable tools you took away from the program, academically and otherwise?   
Academically, I gained tools to help me decipher the words of the Gemara and its various commentaries. After Mayanot, I was equipped with the ability and knowledge to stand up and defend my Jewish beliefs in the academic world.

How do you use what you have learnt at Mayanot to help you in your life since you left?
After completing my year at Mayanot I came back with a dedication to Judaism and its values. These principles have helped me in my personal relationships and they have assisted me in the way I approach my academic  studies.  My university successes are no longer the be all and end all. Mayanot gave me the ability to look past the superficial aspects of my life and taught me to strive for what is truly meaningful, it gave me the tools to live a more inspired life.

In terms of being a light and helping other people connect to Judaism, how do you see your Mayanot experience impacting you?
The shluchim (assistant Rabbis) at Mayanot gave me an understanding of what it means to be a light to the nations. Through their attitudes on Mivtzoim I understood that their is no room for timidness when you are encouraging people to come closer to Judaism. Their dedication to this highlighted, for me, the importance of the Rebbes initiatives to help every Jew.

What are you up to now, career wise/ Jewishly and where do you see yourself in 5 years? 
I am currently studying Chemical Engineering at Wits University in Johannesburg. B"H I attend learning classes twice a week and I maintain my own learning schedule. I am active in my Chabad House and after Mayanot, I have a new appreciation to what shluchim (Chabad emissaries) stand for. This has led to the excellent relationship I have built with my local shliach, and I am very grateful for that.

If you could come back to Mayanot to learn, would you
If I could, I would be the first South African back in Mayanot, participating in those beautiful shiurim (classes). Thank you to Mayanot, the teachers, and all the staff for what they have given me and for what they have helped me take away and bring home with me, as well.