Option Week 2 - Midrasha
The bus ride to our first day on midrasha was filled with mixed emotions. Everyone was apprehensive about what they had signed up for but the excitement overruled these nerves. Everyone ensured there knees and collar bones were covered, and tichels were on, for most of us this was a whole new world.
We arrived at Mayanot and had our first shiur on the differences between Judaism and Hellenism. This insightful topic had us all falling off our chairs and onto our tables and ended with the arrival of the Mashiach holding a tray of coffees for everyone, Baruch Hashem. After our caffeine delivery, we had a burst of energy and everyone was officially awake and ready for the next shiur. We then learned how to chose to judge others favourably and find the good in both others and ourselves. Most of the ideas mentioned in this talk truly resonated in me and showed me that everything in life is up to the individual and what you make of it.
After this we all walked to the shuk to get lunch and experience the rich culture that exists in Jerusalem. Pasta busta and fish and chips were especially busy during our lunch hour.
Following lunch the vibe was electric, everyone could not wait to hear what was coming next. We were pleasantly surprised to see the massive smile on Rav Dov Ber. His unique take on religion and how he connected had everyone so engaged and entertained. Rav Dov Ber discussed many interesting ideas, most of which I agreed with and connected to. Unfortunately, for our next speaker Rav Ber was going to be a hard act to follow. This session at Mayanot was concluded with a question and answer shiur with Rav Noam.
For dinner all the midrasha girls went to Rav Dav's house for delicious sushi and learning. His take on relationships cleared many misconceptions for most of the girls and had almost everyone agreeing with his ideas. We had a powerful close to this amazing day with the kotel kumsits coming to us and playing and singing with us. There was a true sense of unity and sisterhood as we sang and felt together.
On Tuesday we returned to Mayanot and after such a great first day everyone was very excited to see what the next day entailed. Similar to the previous day we had the structure of different shiurim from such special people who's key values we all will strive to have. We discussed the controversial idea of whether mitzvot count if they are performed in the diaspora, how to chose to have a healthy mindset and control your negative thoughts, understanding the job of a religious, female medic, the importance of having a relationship with god, instant gratification, and how we should regard to regret as a positive aspect within our lives. Once again our intense learning was interrupted with another delicious shuk lunch. We had a talent show when we got back to the hotel, and were learned the tragic dreamtime story from our 'Aboriginal representative'. There was a clear winner. We then went to a pyjama themed dinner, in a very intimate setting we had a question and answer session about sexuality and Judaism's outlook on sex.
Our final day was a true midrasha experience. We spent the day at Nishmat, and sat in the classroom doing source based and textual learning. Also visiting the beit midrash with our chevrutot.
We were all so moved after all the knowledge we had gained over the last few days, everyone couldn't wait to put the theoretical concepts we had discussed into actuality and our real lives.
Midrasha was a one of a kind, incredible experience that I am so grateful to have had.
By Shalia Aronowitz