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Summer 2021 - A Birthright Israel season like no other

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  Mayanot's Summer 2021 Birthright Israel season has come and gone. Like every Mayanot season in years past, stories have been written, memories have been created and journeys have been traveled. But as you can imagine, there was just something different.  After 15 months  without  our Birthright groups on the ground, our first group touched down at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport in the early AM hours of May 27. 20 happy campers and their staff members in tow. Smiles. Awe. Excitement. And, perhaps even a little shock at finally being in Israel after the world was turned upside down by Covid 19.  " Right when we got off the plane the Rabbi said 'Welcome home', and I knew I was right where I belong" said Rachel, who participated in that first trip.  That gratitude and appreciation for being in Israel - specifically at this time - permeated the groups throughout the summer. With smaller groups due to restrictions, each participant felt they had the o

A Young Philosopher’s Search for Meaning

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Michael Hurwitz earns a Ph.D. while learning Torah at Mayanot Institute for Jewish Studies Mayanot  in  Jerusalem  tells many stories. Amid the booming voices of discoursing rabbis coming from the study hall, and the aroma of Thursday’s  bourekas  wafting in from the kitchen, comes a new story of the quiet sound of scholarship of another kind. Michael Hurwitz, from Chicago, became the first student to defend a dissertation and be awarded a doctorate in philosophy while studying a higher order of wisdom at the  yeshivah  in  the Holy   Land . Before this not-so-objective observer behind these words shares his role in the narrative, it’s important to hear from the scholar himself: If not for the hardships of my degree, I would not have discovered  Torah  study or  Chabad . If not for  Torah  study with  Chabad , I would not have finished my degree. My journey with Chabad started during a low point in my graduate work. My doctoral dissertation began to unravel and my adviser suggested I g

Mayanot Birthright Trips to Israel Resumed This Week

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At long last, the renowned Birthright Israel trips with Mayanot restarted. Today, more than ever, Jewish students on college campuses need to connect to the Land of Israel, to the spirituality and holiness of the land. Eretz Yisrael pervades who they are. - Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov, Executive Director, Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies Back in February 2020, Mayanot, one of the top providers of Birthright Israel trips, was on the cusp of running its 21st year of spring and summer seasons. One month later, Corona hit Israel and the US like a bang, slashing global tourism to its knees. As a consequence, thousands of 18-32 year olds missed enjoying the 10-day Mayanot trip they had excitedly longed for. And then hope rose again, when after over a year of Corona, Israel was set to reopen gates to travelers. But as the conflict with Gaza broke out, the opening was delayed. Finally, as of a few days ago - by this time feeling somewhat miraculous -  the gates reopened, enabling Mayanot’s Summe

A Taste of Mayanot Online: Eight Amazing Days of Learning

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The Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies is excited to share the online schedule for the upcoming  Taste of Mayanot Online Learning Program, which runs ,  May 24th to June 2nd, 2021 . The program is specifically geared for college students interested in discovering and connecting to their Judaism. The Mayanot online program gives potential students the ability to learn with world-class educators, engage with Torah classics and connect with Jews from around the world in an authentic and meaningful way.  The online classes are the best way to experience what Mayanot has to offer from afar. The core subjects taught provide students with a well-rounded and comprehensive Jewish learning experience. Courses include: Talmud, Chassidut (Jewish Mysticism), Philosophy, and Chumash (Bible).  Mayanot is offering this eight-day program at a highly subsidized price of only $18 for the full schedule. Please note:  No Hebrew language, previous Jewish Studies background or religious commitment i