Showing posts from January, 2013

Jerusalem Snow Day!

Having spent eight years living in Philadelphia and four years attending university in upstate New York, snow is something I’ve definitely grown accustomed to.  Certainly, Northeast America as a whole is well equipped to deal with snow; we’ve got an appropriate arsenal of salt trucks and plows ready to go at the first signs of snow.  Most families I know own a snow blower, and everyone is well stocked with coats, scarves, and winter boots.  In short, it takes a pretty serious blizzard to slow things down back home. Israel, on the other hand, is – as you’d probably expect of a Middle-Eastern country – decidedly unprepared for anything resembling snow.  About three weeks after I first arrived in Jerusalem last January, I got a taste of a Mediterranean winter: rain, rain, wind, and more rain.  Snow chose not to show up.  This winter, however, gave me what’s probably a rare opportunity to see how Jerusalem handles real snow.  Spoiler Alert: Everything shuts down.  The day before

“Hebrew for All” at Mayanot

Shlomo Eitan , seasoned educator, is revolutionizing the way Mayanot students learn Hebrew. After teaching Hebrew for 7 years at Mayanot, Eitan, along with Rabbi Chaim Moss , decided to make free Hebrew lessons available to prospective Mayanot students online. That way, students could arrive in Jerusalem with some Hebrew knowledge, helping them maximize their Torah learning experience at Mayanot. Rabbi Moss is very pleased with the effect that Shlomo Eitan’s Hebrew instructional videos are having on Mayanot students. He declares that, “Having students start the Hebrew learning process prior to their arrival is having a profound impact on their progress toward our goal of Hebrew independence.” “Hebrew for All” was born in May 2012. Eitan started uploading videos of himself teaching Hebrew, packaging each lesson into a short, easily digestible YouTube video. He believed that it was essential to produce these videos and make them accessible for free to the general public, since

Mayanot Women’s Program 5th Annual Anniversary Dinner

Last night, hundreds of women gathered in the Mayanot Shul to eat, dance and be merry in celebration of the Mayanot Women’s Program’s 5 th anniversary. The energy in the air was palpable, as women greeted each other, embraced and reveled in each other’s company. The evening, which was organized entirely by Mayanot students, included a reception hour, followed by a buffet dinner and entertainment. As MC, Rachel Willins introduced the first speech, which was given by Mayanot student Dayna Driscoll. Dayna thanked the women who host Mayanot students for Shabbat, saying that “they physically and emotionally welcome Mayanot students into their homes” and “feed our neshamas (souls) with their generosity and warmth.” Afterwards, a video of the Rebbe was screened, wherein the Rebbe articulated the importance of a Torah education for women. Mayanot student Rachel Bennov gave a Dvar Torah on this week’s Parsha, Parshat Va’era. She explained that according to the Alter Rebbe, the Exodus from

Mayanot Winter Shabbaton to Tzfat

One week into the Mayanot Winter Program, we had our first Shabbaton of 5773 to Tzfat. Although our large bus had some difficulty navigating the narrow streets and alleys of Tzfat, we arrived safely at the Hotel Ron, where we threw our bags down and headed into the Artist’s Colony for a glassblowing exhibit. During our tour, we learned that as one of the four holy cities in Israel, Tzfat is the city of air, which was undeniable as we walked around the holy city prior to Shabbat. Even a quintessential city girl like myself was able to appreciate the relaxed atmosphere of the secluded city and the spirit of its residents. Upon lighting candles together in the hotel lobby, we departed for the shul of our choice, for a spiritual Carlebach prayer experience. Having been a proud Mayanot student for the past three months, I can say with certainty that during our Friday night meal we sang the most nigunim we have ever sang in one night. During Shabbat dinner, we heard a dvar torah