Showing posts from December, 2016

Alumni Spotlight: An 8 part series with Augusta Niles

Since she was little,   Augusta Niles   has always been a person who’s hungered to know “the why and the how of the world-- that’s why I went into engineering, to figure out exactly how things work.” That’s also why many years later, the Vermont native landed herself in Jerusalem, for the opportunity to learn at Mayanot. “I grew up with very little religion in my home, and I didn’t know where to turn,” says Augusta, who was in the midst of her conversion process. One day she picked up a copy of Harold Kushner’s classic, “To Life!” and following that, “A Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Judaism.” Before long she was listening to  shiurim  online, test-driving Shabbat and every week adding more observances and attending services at the Harvard Chabad and Hillel, all the while taking her Master’s degree in engineering and business at MIT. At Chabad, she met two women, both Mayanot alumnae, who told her that Mayanot is a “good place to grow into your Jewish skin.”  S

Inspired to Inspire

“Troubled Times” By Rocky & The Goldstein Mayanot Men's Program Alumni Yerachmiel Goldstein and Isaac Schapira collaborated on this incredible project to bring music to the masses. Have a listen!  Although I can take credit for the music, the lyrics of Troubled Times were entirely composed by a Mr. Isaac Schapira. The songs tells of trying times, hard earned lessons from our fathers and a simple trust in the L-rd above, TROUBLED TIMES Lyrics by Isaac Schapira Music by Rocky (Yerachmiel) Goldstein When I was very young My old man told me son This whole world will put you to the test But when things in life go bust You must have the simple trust That everything in life is for the best It’s hard to stand your ground When the wolves are circling round Sometime I think I lack the strength to fight But I remember my old man Drinking beer straight from the can Telling me that things will be alright You’ll see troubled time my friend And I know you

Alumni Spotlight: An 8 Part Series with Joshua Zimmerman

It took Joshua Zimmerman till he got to college to see how stunted his Jewish education had been up until that moment. “That’s when I began to see that, if you stopped your learning at your bar mitzvah, you go through the rest of your life with barely a seventh grade Jewish education,” said Joshua. “If you were an engineer, how could you do your job with barely a seventh grade education? Sorry but you couldn’t.” Since he figured he wouldn’t have adequate knowledge to be able to accept or reject something he didn’t understand, Joshua knew he needed to learn more about his own religion. Fortunately, at the University of Central Florida he encountered a rabbi named Chaim Boruch Lipskier , who had a profound impact on him, inspiring in him the desire to become more observant and wear a kippa every day. More than four years ago he became Shomer Shabbat and, when he finished his degree in archaeology  and film three years ago, he began seriously considering a yeshiva experience i

You'll never guess who made Aliyah

We are very proud of our Alum who recently made aliyah and was featured on Shayna Driscoll, originally from Brooklyn and now in ulpan & living in Jerusalem, attended Mayanot in 2012 and made aliyah in 2016. Shayna grew up as a self-proclaimed “Rosh Hashanah Jew”– reformed and secular, with Israel totally off her radar. That changed after coming on Birthright and returning for seminary at Mayanot, but Shayna still wanted to “fit the mold”– to get a job in New York, pay off her student loans, and eventually settle down. But that was not the path her life took. Shayna made aliyah this July, leaving a great job at the United Jewish Federation of New York as a Development Associate and her beloved parents, who are now reluctant empty nesters. Shayna chose to go against the grain and fight for her long-held desire to move to Israel. Now, Shayna is focusing on her Hebrew learning at Ulpan Etzion in Armon Hanetziv, making life-long friends, and soaking up Jerusa

Alumni Spotlight: An 8 Part Series featuring Josh Crisp

Joshua Crisp ’s first real introduction to Judaism was the day he walked into the Chabad House at his school, the University of Sussex in England. He’s not sure exactly just what pulled him in, but once he got the taste of Jewish life and learning, he found himself wanting more. A junior investment analyst with a degree in economics and finance, Joshua was raised with some sense of his own identity as a Jew but, he said, not much. “Growing up I didn’t know much about Judaism,” he noted. Until he began to “get inspired” at the British South East Coast Universities Chabad House. “Even though I was a real beginner, for some reason I wasn’t intimidated or overwhelmed, just interested, very interested”. That was only one and a half years before he decided to attend the Mayanot Men’s Learning Program, because, although he enjoyed the learning at the campus Chabad, he knew that, after graduation he’d be ready to pick up the pace of his Jewish journey.  That’s when he discovered the Ma