Class of 2014
Business, Economics and Public Policy Major
I grew up in a Reform congregation, where my family’s connection was more with the rabbi than with the temple. When he retired, we lost our connection to a certain extent. When I entered GW and found Rabbi Edelstein and Maimonides, I reconnected much more deeply than I ever had before.
My sister had participated in an in-depth Jewish learning program that focused on one commandment per week. She loved it and told me I should look for something in my freshman year. The Hillel rabbi at GW put me in touch with Rabbi E. and the MEOR Maimonides program turned out to be a perfect fit.
It was very different from the start because I was choosing to do this. It was more of a self-directed move than being told to study for bar mitzvah. I had expressed interest to Rabbi E. in personal growth and business development books and he quickly drew the link between so much of the content in these books with Judaism and Torah. There was a larger intellectual component that I hadn’t experienced before.
I had just moved to DC and I thought the public policy and economic issues that were talked about there were some of the most important questions. That was quickly dwarfed, however, when you realize you are talking about the meaning of life. It’s a much bigger question.
The other MEOR students were definitely talented intellectually and had a variety of backgrounds. It made for some really great discussions.
I remember one guest speaker who talked about shwarma—how great tasting and juicy it is—as an analogy to how wonderful life is and that we should appreciate it every day. That level of gratitude carried over into the rest of my week. It gave me an appreciation of why I was at school and what I was doing.
I can’t express the level of gratitude that I have for MEOR. It’s an amazing thing to be able to explore something like that with someone like Rabbi E. to answer our questions. I’m very appreciative that the program happened to be where I was. They welcomed me despite my lack of Judaic background and I am very grateful for that.