By COLlive reporter
Nestled in the picturesque landscape of Kingston, Upstate New York, a group of college students were introduced to the beautiful ways of exploring their rich Jewish heritage.
This year’s Jonas M. & Sadie Rennert Jewish Summer Fellowship, also known as the Ivy League Torah Studies Experience (ILTSE/JSF) was a life-altering experience for many of its participants.
Under the auspices of the NCFJE organization and founded by Rabbi J.J. Hecht OBM, individuals from various backgrounds come together for 6 weeks in the summertime, integrating Judaism into their lives.
Thanks to Rabbi Chaim Schochat and Mrs. Baila Hecht, the program completed yet another successful year enjoying an integrative lifestyle of Yiddishkeit, in 5-star accommodations hosted by Agudus Achim, Chabad Ulster County.
This year, there was a warm blend of girls from Paris, Ukraine, England and all across the USA. Each were attracted to the program for a variety of reasons. One said that “the subjects covered a wide range of topics to give us a strong background in all areas.” Another commented that “This program filled in the gaps in my knowledge that I’ve been searching for and missing in my Jewish education.”
College-age students generally prefer to spend their summers interning, studying or working. This program combines all these aspects in beautiful harmony- the students learn about and connect to their heritage, as well as earn money for their “work.”
Madrichot for 2014 were Chaya Zirkind, Yosefa Jalal and Chana Tzukernik who taught, mentored and provided chayus and ruach to the program.
The program prides itself in its unique experiential approach: When the students learn about a concept, they experience it. Classes were held in unique places: Kashrus at the ‘Culinary Institute of America’ (CIA); Jewish Wedding at Oholei Torah Ballroom.
Challah baking and candlestick creations after understanding the beauty of Shabbos. All the while introducing students to authentic Judaism; guest lecturers, trips to 770, the Ohel, a mikvah tour, local Chabad Houses and more.
Teachers and lecturers included Dayan Berel Bell (Montreal, Canada), Rabbi Shea Hecht, Rabbi Shmuel Lieberman (Hofstra University), Rabbi Mendel Rubin (Albany, NY), Rabbi Yitzchak Hecht (Ulster County, NY), Mrs Cipi Junik, Rabbi A. L. Raskin (Brooklyn Heights, NY), Rabbi Levy Zirkind (Fresno, CA) and Reuven and Esther Rochel Russell, to name a few.
To learn more, visit http://myjsf.org