An interview with Doron Joffe, 2017 Mayanot Alum
When did you attend Mayanot and for how long?
I attended Mayanot in 2017 after high school. I was there for a year.
What was your favorite part of the program?
I loved the Fabrengens with the Rabbis. Whether it was on a Shabbos or on a Chassidic holiday. It was vital for me to hear ideas about Judaism from Rabbis who are so experienced with people who come from similar backgrounds to me.
What was your most memorable moment?
I will never forget a Fabrengen I had with Rabbi Wichnin (our Rosh Yeshivah). He was discussing the idea of "Didan Notzach" (we will be victories!) and its every-day life applications. What he said that day has formed the basis for my attitude throughout university life. I would do anything to be in that Fabrengen again.
What were the most valuable tools you took away from the program, academically and otherwise?
Academically, I gained tools to help me decipher the words of the Gemara and its various commentaries. After Mayanot, I was equipped with the ability and knowledge to stand up and defend my Jewish beliefs in the academic world.
How do you use what you have learnt at Mayanot to help you in your life since you left?
After completing my year at Mayanot I came back with a dedication to Judaism and its values. These principles have helped me in my personal relationships and they have assisted me in the way I approach my academic studies. My university successes are no longer the be all and end all. Mayanot gave me the ability to look past the superficial aspects of my life and taught me to strive for what is truly meaningful, it gave me the tools to live a more inspired life.
In terms of being a light and helping other people connect to Judaism, how do you see your Mayanot experience impacting you?
The shluchim (assistant Rabbis) at Mayanot gave me an understanding of what it means to be a light to the nations. Through their attitudes on Mivtzoim I understood that their is no room for timidness when you are encouraging people to come closer to Judaism. Their dedication to this highlighted, for me, the importance of the Rebbes initiatives to help every Jew.
What are you up to now, career wise/ Jewishly and where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I am currently studying Chemical Engineering at Wits University in Johannesburg. B"H I attend learning classes twice a week and I maintain my own learning schedule. I am active in my Chabad House and after Mayanot, I have a new appreciation to what shluchim (Chabad emissaries) stand for. This has led to the excellent relationship I have built with my local shliach, and I am very grateful for that.
If you could come back to Mayanot to learn, would you?
If I could, I would be the first South African back in Mayanot, participating in those beautiful shiurim (classes). Thank you to Mayanot, the teachers, and all the staff for what they have given me and for what they have helped me take away and bring home with me, as well.
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