Showing posts from February, 2017

Alumni Spotlight: An 8 Part Series featuring Eric Maurer

1.        Eric Maurer will tell you that two summers ago, was one of the most intense experiences of his 24 years. Arriving in Israel with a freshly minted degree in Jewish studies from the University of Hartford and his then fiancĂ© Rebecca Bader (whose adventures in Mayanot’s women’s program you can read about   here ), “I didn’t really know what to expect.” Raised in what he calls “an active Reform family,” Eric got interested early on in what was going on in both the Hillel and Chabad associated with his campus. “But when I got to the first Shabbat at Hillel and couldn’t follow the service, I realized how very much I had to learn.” It was at Chabad that Eric found a warm and welcoming community with Rabbi Yossi Kulek and his family and it was there that he was able to begin to learn in earnest. “I knew from the start that I needed to come and learn in Israel,” he says. And when an online course he took qualified him for a scholarship, the dream quickly became a reality.

A Mayanot Alum Making Big Waves in the Jewish World

Elad Nehorai, a Mayanot alum from 2012,  now living in Brooklyn,  New York, is making big waves in the Jewish world, and we are very proud! An artist who is making the most of the Internet is Elad Nehorai, a creative writer and the founder of the fledgling Hevria, an online community for “Jewish and spiritual people who are ‘creators.’” On, writers post their work, and musicians have a clearinghouse to sell their albums.  While Hevria is now a blog, Nehorai is trying to turn it into something bigger. And, just 12 days into a crowdfunding campaign, he had raised more than double his $4,500 goal to do so.  “I am trying to bring more creativity into the Jewish public sphere,” Nehorai said. “It’s about giving a voice to Jewish artists. The problem is that the Jewish art world is not funded, and there needs to be a venue that is supporting these artists.” Nehoria connected with the ROI Community, a Schusterman initiative that supports creative innovators in a quest t

A New Era of Torah Learning

Gone are the days when people actually had to attend a class in-person. Having to get out of bed, drive their cars or walk a long way in order to hear a speaker or to attend a class, is no longer a requirement. We live in a digital age where things that were never thought possible, are now easily accessible. We can share ideas, thoughts, and messages with the click of a wireless mouse or the by sending a voice memo on our phones. We have so many channels for receiving and providing information. Podcasts, Soundcloud, Google Play, iTunes, Overcast, Pocket Casts and so many more online channels for information sharing. The audience is growing larger and larger every day, listening to literally everything and anything one can think of. In the words of Alex Blum, host of the hugely popular podcast  This American Life, "There's far more room for audio in our lives than even video; we can listen to podcasts while we do dishes, mow the lawn, ride the subway, even whi

From Jersey to Jerusalem: A Journey of Self-Discovery

Mayanot Alumna, Vera Hinsey, shares how coming to the Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies impacted her university experience & how much she gained learning in Israel.  Vera Hinsey graduated last May from Rutgers University, with a Major in Women’s and Gender Studies, a concentration in Anthropology, and a Minor in Spanish.  While at Rutgers and throughout the past year as a post-graduate, Vera has developed a passion for spirituality, instilling her life with a greater sense of purpose and appreciation. Her story is not only inspiring to college students, but to people of all ages who are seeking fulfillment and an optimistic outlook on life. Life can get stressful at times, sure. However, Vera chooses not to allow the trials and tribulations of life weigh her down. Why not celebrate life? What were you involved in when you were a student at RU?  I was president of the Jewish organization Rutgers Jewish Experience (RJX) and I was involved in Hillel, which I really enjoyed

Vegan Birthright trip takes flight in August

For the first time in its nearly two-decade long history of sending young Jewish adults to Israel for a free 10-day immersive cultural experience, Birthright Israel: Mayanot will be offering a trip specializing in the vegan diet and lifestyle. The announcement was made by Mayanot’s partner in this endeavor, Jewish Veg, last month. Registration is open now for the trip, which takes place Aug. 13-23. Space is limited to 40 slots, 10 of which are going to vegan young adults in Israel, “adding to the experience,” according to Jewish Veg’s press release. Along with traditional Mayanot activities – among them spending Shabbat at the Western Wall and climbing Masada – the forthcoming vegan trip will include a uniquely tailored diet as well as meetings with vegan leaders in the nation state and visits to specialty farms. “I give Mayanot a ton of credit for recognizing this was an unmet need,” said Jeffrey Cohan, executive director of Jewish Veg, a more than four-decade old nonp