Class of 2012
Planning extended studies in Israel following graduation
I was raised in a Conservative family, went to Solomon Schecter for elementary school and then public high school. I also went to Camp Ramah from ages 9 -16 and grew up knowing how to read and write Hebrew.
I did not have many Jewish friends because our town in Connecticut was not very Jewish.
One of my brothers went to Penn and did the Maimonides program. He became very close with Rabbi Lynn, so I knew who he was years before I went there too. MEOR at Penn has been going for seven years and they have really made a name for themselves.
Rabbi Lynn is unlike anyone I’ve ever met. Not only is he brilliant and charismatic, which make him a good educator in general, but what he teaches is central to who he is as a person and what he strives to be every day. He is so passionate and it comes out clearly.
Most students don’t really know about Judaism. Whatever they were raised with and don’t like, that’s what they think it is. It’s like having a six-year-old’s appreciation, instead of understanding something that really brilliant people have lived their lives by for generations.
I went on a MEOR Israel trip after freshman year and it blew me away. I saw so clearly that this is what I want. Later, however, I was confused. I was inspired, but I was not ready to have a debate with anyone. It was more like a feeling in my gut than something I could verbalize.
I felt I had to figure this out on my own. At one point, Rabbi Lynn emailed me the perfect response. “However I can help in your journey – its always a pleasure and privilege,” he wrote. “For the time being, let’s take it slow and we’ll have the chance to speak regularly over the year, if you like. I’m happy to make the time!”
Since junior year, I’ve been right where I want to be. I’d like to get better at reading and translating Hebrew. If I’m not fully literate in the language, I don’t think I would ever be where I want to be in terms of the depth of the things I could learn. There’s a difference between sitting and listening to ideas, vs. being able to delve into the ideas. I would like to be able to do both.