Showing posts from September, 2016

A Special Thank you!

(Front row, from right: Miri and Sheldon Adelson, philanthropists,  Gidi Mark, CEO of Birthright,  Rabbi Shlomo Gestetner, Dean of the Mayanot Institute,  Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov, Executive Director of Mayanot,  meeting with the Birthright Academic pilot trip )  Fortunately for Mayanot, we receive wonderful thank you letters, from past students and Birthright Israel participants on a regular basis, but this letter was extra special and we wanted to share it with you. As you are our supporters and help make all the magic happen, we hope you feel as inspired as we did! This beautiful letter came from a Washington University student who attended our Birthright Academic, pilot program, this past summer.  To the entire Mayanot team, After finishing up my Birthright Academic paper, I wanted to share a few thoughts with you. Wow it's hard to believe that just over a month ago I was meeting 26 amazing people and 4 incredible staff members.  Rather, it is more amaz

First Israel Alumni Hakhel BBQ

During this Hakhel year, following the Rebbe’s directive of gathering the masses, Mayanot hosted its first ever Israel Alumni event on Sunday August 28 th , 2016. A family friendly BBQ in Gan Sacher welcomed over 80 attendees and 30 children, across from the location of the new Mayanot World Center, on 7 Ben Tzvi, in Jerusalem. There were alumni present spanning over 20 years of Mayanot’s educational programming. Many were excited to share their experiences from their Yeshiva and Seminary days, and how their experience at Mayanot continues to impact them. (From Left: Alumnus Sam Schubert and Rabbi Chaim Moss, Educational Director of Mayanot) Sam Schubert , originally from Dayton, Ohio, made aliyah a few years ago and attended Mayanot in 2012. When asked to reflect on what he gained from his experience, he simply stated, “I will only marry Jewish now”. Kira Waxler , an alumnus from 2013, enthusiastically shared, “I never thought I would end up in a Yeshiva, but I

This Sunday, Mayanot International Alumni Hakhel Day

We are very excited to invite you to the very first: Mayanot International Alumni Hakhel Day This coming Sunday! Mayanot Alumni from around the world will be gathering to celebrate this auspicious year of Hakhel, representing Jewish Unity and Ahavat Yisroel on Sunday September 25th, 2016 , in communities around the world. There are many gracious host across the globe, that have offered to open up their homes for fellow alumni. We want to thank them for their generosity and willingness to help the Mayanot community. Each location will be skyping in with a different Mayanot teacher, fabrenging with a local guestspeaker, and sharing some wonderful Torah, and good times. We hope all of our Alumni can join us! See below for more information for each of the global locations. If you don't see your home city, don't worry. We will be posting a recording of a skype call on our men's and women's facebook pages! https://www.face

First Mayanot Essay Contest Winner

Mayanot Women’s Program, First Essay Contest Winner  Chassidus on Campus By: Emily Seynaeve 8 Av, 5776 August 12, 2016 I discovered Chabad for the first time at an info fair during my first year in college. I had a strong interest in Judaism and wanted to know about the lives my ancestors had. What holidays did they celebrate? What traditions did they have? After a lot of introspection and soul searching, I knew I found the right direction for my life and I made a commitment to learn and practice Judaism. However, I was still struggling with developing faith and spirituality. Our sages already commented on this issue because of the fact that we are commanded to love G-d. We recite in the Shema every day, “ You shall love the Lord your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might” [1] but how can we possibly be commanded to feel something? Maimonides states that,             “The 3 rd mitzva is that we are commanded to love G-d (exalted be He

Two Souls: The Jewish Wedding

The dancing, the simcha, the ceremony; one of the most distinct Jewish traditions, is the Jewish wedding! Getting married is an incredibly important land mark in any individuals life, however according to the Jewish tradition, the Jewish marriage is important for not only the individuals involved but it is a celebration for the entire community. A unity of two souls rejoining as one and continuing the tradition of our ancestors.  The Mayanot Women’s learning program was lucky enough to be invited to join in the celebration of the wedding of Mayanot Director, Rabbi Shlomo Gestetners daughter,  Aidel Gestetner  to  Levi Margolin.  It was such a memorable experience for all of the women of the summer program, but it was especially memorable for Nikki Glebatis, as it was the first Jewish wedding she had ever attended.  Nikki was raised Catholic, but became interested in Judaism at a relatively early age. She remembers learning about the Old Testament in her Catholic schoo

Mayanot Reunion In NYC

A few weeks ago, on a beautiful Friday night in New York, Chabad of Midtown and the Mayanot once again teamed up for a great event, to reunite Birthright Israel: Mayanot alumni from all over the state. Over 120 returnees from various Birthright Israel: Mayanot trips came together for a lively and enjoyable Shabbos meal at Chabad's regal 5th Ave location. After many participants arrived and had a chance to mingle, for a while, the women were lead in Shabbos candle lighting with Rivky Namdar , a past Mayanot staff member, who had recruited a large amount of participants. Everyone listened closely and learned about the significance, history and meaning behind the beautiful ritual of candle lighting, as well as the relevance of bringing extra light into the world. Amidst much singing and enthusiasm, the crowd heard Kiddush and explanations about the  Friday  night laws and customs from Rabbi Dov Oliver , who serves as Mayanot's alumni coordinator in NYC. Many of