Showing posts from January, 2017

Alumni Spotlight: An 8 Part Series with Rebecca Bader

      For  Rebecca Bader,  coming to Israel to learn only became real for her, after a Mayanot representative visited the Chabad for her school, the University of   Hartford a few years ago, where she and her, then fiancĂ©, now husband  Eric Maurer  were regulars. The rabbi suggested that she and Eric might both want to learn at the women’s and men’s programs (respectively), so they could connect more deeply with Judaism – and with each other. “It’s so nice to be both on the same page,” says Becca, who spent many of her growing-up years in   Alabama but whose family lives in Maryland.   “Never would I have thought that I would come to a yeshiva in Israel but I’ve learned so much more about my Judaism, connected with Israel and really grown as a person in ways I can’t even describe.” Before she arrived, Becca was “a little nervous that the ideas would be radical, but Mayanot brings in so many aspects; we hear from women from all the different sects and the teachers come f

Ever wonder what your first day would be like?

This past Sunday, I embarked on a journey to the Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies , in the holy city of Jerusalem! Over the past few years, I have become more aware of the immense amount of ideas, history, and intellect that there is to learn about Judaism. As I learnt stories from the Bible and laws that were commanded to the Jewish people, I couldn’t help but wonder about the why, where, when, and how of it all. Everything I learnt evoked more questions and curiosity. Who is G-d and why has he put us here on earth? Why does hate exist and how can we find peace within ourselves, our relationships, and on earth? How can I uphold the responsibility of a Jew to be “a light onto the nations?” With so many questions building up, I just decided to go for it.  In less than a week, I booked my flight and said, “see ya later”. I packed six months of belongings into two suitcases, and thank G-d, I arrived safely in Israel. One of my classmates was on the same flight as I

Alumni Spotlight, an 8 Part Series: with Elisheva Rina Kruse

Twenty-five-year-old Elisheva Rina (Rayanne) Kruse  told Mayanot about the summer that changed her life. Over pizza and a salad, she told her story. Her first exposure to Jewish life (her maternal great-grandmother had been Jewish) began the moment she answered an ad for a babysitter. Who opened the door but the wife of the Chabad rabbi in Flagstaff, Arizona who was in the market for an extra hand with her growing family. Working with the family, Elisheva “began to feel the connection with Judaism and Israel too.” So much so that, five years later, she found herself delving deeply into Jewish life and learning in Mayanot’s women’s program. Snuggled between homes in Jerusalem’s Katamon neighborhood, the women’s center is quite simply, she says, “an experience that has changed my life.”  Raised with little in the way of religion, --- years ago, Elisheva got happily hooked on Jewish learning -- and the joys of Shabbat – at the Chabad Center that serves the campus of Northern Ari


JTA — Saul Kaye never wanted to be a “Jewish blues” player. In his opinion, the Jewish music he had heard growing up in Northern California’s Bay Area ranged from “really bad to horrible.” In 2009, he was touring as a rock musician, playing hundreds of shows a year with various bands at bars and clubs. And though he had never been very religious, he experienced a bad breakup and felt the need to do something spiritually “radical.” So Kaye decided to take a Talmud course at the Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies in Israel. One morning, a fellow student approached him and left him with an intriguing prophecy. “He says, ‘Saul, there’s a reason you’re at a yeshiva and you know who Muddy Waters is — you have to figure it out,’” Kaye said. “I let that marinate for a while and I thought: Why is there no Jewish blues music? It doesn’t make sense. Our people have suffered forever, and blues is about suffering, blues comes out of the slavery experience. How come no one has put t

Mayanot Community Comes Together In A Big Way!

Mayanot educational center in Israel is raising $2,500,000 to build a new, state of the art center to help them continue to connect young Jewish people to their heritage and future. Mayanot opened its doors in 1996, in their warm yet modest home. Their goal then and now, is to connect young Jewish people from around the world to their past, present and future, truly acting as crossroads of Jewish life for many throughout the years. From the birth of the Women’s Program in 1998, and the launch of Mayanot’s Birthright Israel program in 1999 to the start of the Post High School Gap Year program just last year, Mayanot has always been building the Jewish community. Today, Mayanot is moving to the next phase, building the Mayanot World Center. The Future World Center, located just beyond Jerusalem’s city entrance, boasts five floors and will more than double the size of Mayanot’s current facilities. With it’s rooftop, panoramic views of the city, the new center will become

Mayanot Spotlight: An 8 Part Series, Featuring Hanna Bergman

1.        It was only after her mother embarked on a spiritual journey that  Hanna Bergman  learned about Judaism, not because her father is a Holocaust survivor from Czechoslovakia. In fact Hanna was already 13 when she learned of her father’s past. That’s when her Christian-born mother’s wide-reaching religious search ultimately led the family to the door of the local synagogue. One Friday afternoon in 1997, Hanna returned from school to a novel sight. “The table was all in white, filled with food and candle holders. My mother sat us down and said, ‘We’re Jewish now. We’re going to start keeping Shabbat. We don’t use electricity on that day and we’re going to keep kosher.’ I had to phone my friend and tell her I wouldn’t be going out with her that night.” After an intensive year of her mother reading and learning, the next year the entire family converted. “It made my father very happy,” Hanna recalls. And that’s when they learned his whole story. Having lost his f