Tips for seminary year in Israel


“Make the most of every moment.” That was the message Rabbi David Goldwasser had for young women heading off to study in Israel. Rabbi Goldwasser, a Jewish media personality, is a professor of Judaic studies and the director of the Center for Torah Initiatives at Touro’s Lander College for Women/The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School. His six tips:

•Be open to all that happens around you. Attending classes at seminary is only the start. Every moment offers an opportunity for learning and growth. Go to lectures and Shabbos meals at the homes of respected rabbis and teachers and take note of the way they live their values. Observe the people you pass on the streets; you will see both great leaders and people with great needs. It will prepare you to step out into the world as a young adult when you return to the United States.

•Meet and hear from esteemed personalities. Every teacher, rebbi and rebbetzin has wisdom to impart; your responsibility is to take advantage of the guidance and instruction they offer.

•Visit the holy places and historical sites. There is no comparison between learning about a place and standing on that ground. It is a life-changing experience.

•Become involved in chesed. Being in Eretz Yisroel is an auspicious time to become involved in a caring and sensitive way to help the people and the Land of Israel. Making a difference as a young adult will change the way you interact with the world later on in life as well.

•Cultivate new friendships. A year spent in Eretz Yisroel is a time to connect with people from all over the world. You will learn about different customs, backgrounds and types of homes. You will understand that we are a universal nation. And you will make friendships that have an enduring impact on your life.

•Be aware that Eretz Yisroel is not a nisayon-free zone. The same nisyonos that can and do arise in chutz la’aretz occur in Israel as well. There is heightened spirituality but also spiritual challenges. You must remain vigilant at all times and make sure that you continue to observe all the gedarim of halacha, as well as the rules and guidelines of your particular school.