Machon L’Yahadus Women’s Yeshiva is a unique school in Crown Heights where young Jewish women at all points on their Jewish journey learn, live and love Judaism.
Students from across the globe are from diverse socio-economic backgrounds and varying Jewish upbringings. They come to study for as little as a week or up to two years.
Liron Avrahami, from Maslul, Israel, is a first year student. From a traditional Jewish family, she arrived at Machon L’Yahadus at the start of the school year.
“In a very short time, Machon L’Yahadus became like my home,” she shares.
“After Simchat Torah, when I heard about the massacre, what my family was going through (Maslul is less than 15 miles from Gaza), and that some of my friends had been murdered,” remembers Liron, “the Machon family did everything possible for me. Staff constantly reached out.
“They helped me channel my devastation into positive actions. In between zooming into a funeral of one friend and a very somber wedding of another friend, I led the pesukim assigned to Machon L’Yahadus at the zoom rally for all of the Chabad seminaries.
“Then one of the teachers got me busy organizing girls to pack and give out Neshek. And they were concerned not just for me, but also for the Israeli girls whose flights had been cancelled. We made a Melave Malka in the dorm for 100 girls. It was so healing for all of us. I have no words to even begin thanking Machon L’Yahadus for everything it does for me, my fellow students and our brothers and sisters in Israel.”
Another current student, Ronni Rosenbaum from Fort Meyers, Florida, joined for last year’s twelve-day Winter Program – and is still studying at Machon L’Yahadus!
“I started in the Winter program and I loved it so much. I was learning more than I ever imagined.” Ronni studied Secondary Social Science Education at Florida Atlantic University. “My desire and need to know was being fulfilled. I decided to continue as a full-time student. I was studying topics that I never even imagined existed. I had questions and got answers to my questions. My new knowledge creates new questions and I’m getting answers to these questions, too! I really love it.”
Our students speak for themselves here: https://vimeo.com/886438663?share=copy
Machon L’Yahadus students immerse themselves in a rigorous curriculum that ranges from the basics of learning to read Hebrew to delving into the deepest concepts in Chassidus.
And they are guided in their journey by a dedicated, devoted, non-judgmental staff headed by Rabbi Shloma Majeski.
Rabbi Majeski shares, “For many students, their involvement and pursuit of Yiddishkeit in general is already raising eyebrows and challenging to their relationships with family and friends. When they decide to study in a yeshiva the challenge is even greater.
“It is inspiring for us to see how their desire to deepen their knowledge and connection is so sincere and deep that they are ready to make sacrifices and overcome these challenges to pursue Torah study. With the hope of course, that one day their friends and family will understand and appreciate this change,” concludes Rabbi Majeski.
There are definitely those who appreciate and benefit from the changes that Machon L’Yahadus students make in their lives.
Tal Fishman is one of those young women whose life-choices and changes are benefitting others. Tal came to celebrate Shavuos at the President Street Machon L’Yahadus dorm in 2017. Tal grew up in Israel, in a secular Sefaradi home. After serving two years as a medic in the IDF, she came to America to teach Hebrew at Vassar College as a Language Fellow. At Vassar, Tal met shluchim Rabbi Daniel and Dalia Sanoff.
The Shavuos weekend experience turned into two years of studying at Machon L’Yahadus. Today, Tal and her husband Rabbi Asi Fishman are shluchim at Ben-Gurion University of Eilat.
Tal recently shared with a Machon L’Yahadus teacher, “While the sounds of airplanes and sirens, and taking my kids out of their beds and running to the building’s shelter, has become a regular part of our days and nights, I take a moment to send a message to a student inviting her for a class. Words and memories from my classes at Machon L’Yahadus come to me and I dwell on them. Honestly, since I left, I took and take Machon L’Yahadus with me, but these days more than ever.
Tal continued, “The tools and lessons we learned, and that we were being taught in the deepest ways by our teachers at Machon L’Yahadus, gives me the opportunity to bring real life and light into these kind of situations and to those around me. The ability to feel the pain and yet work on simcha and wait for Moshiach…I learned this at Machon L’Yahadus. Being a Machon L’Yahadus student is a blessing for life and for generations.”
Explains assistant principal Mrs. Yehudis Cohen, “When prospective students are concerned about how they will be able to afford tuition costs, we tell them, ‘Our mission statement is to enable young Jewish women to study Torah. We are committed to working things out; finances will not get in the way.’
“We give out scholarships even when there is no money to back it in the bank and no pledges to cover the scholarships on the horizon. We rely on people who realize what a precious opportunity it is to partner with us in educating and empowering these young, remarkable Jewish women.”
Machon L’Yahadus invites everyone to partner with them in raising $360,000 at https://raisethon.com/machonly
Machon L’Yahadus is under the auspices of NCFJE