A flock of spiritually open and intellectually curious college students from around the globe landed in Tsfat this week, ready for the trademark life-changing immersion into full spectrum Judaism in an accepting environment that defines Machon Alte’s long-established summer program.
Aided by Mrs. Chaya Schurder of Chabad on Campus’ initiative that facilitates yeshiva experiences for students worldwide, including paying air fare for qualified students, more than 30 women will spend 1-2 months at the first of a kind women’s yeshiva. They will learn about Jewish philosophy, Jewish mysticism, Judaic law, Jewish home life, singing, dance, bond and tour the mountainous and breathtaking regional sites of the upper Galilee.
This year’s summer retreat marks the 18th annual program, founded in 1978 as a women’s year-round yeshiva in Israel to offer beginners the full complement of Torah subjects, from the legal aspects to Jewish mysticism.
Yeshiva founders Rabbi Yosef and Mrs. Rochel Leah Rosenfeld, Director Rabbi Chaim Rosenfeld, long-time summer scholars-in-residence Rabbi Eli and Mrs. Hindy Silberberg, and the balance of the Machon Alte staff bring a personal touch to the table that makes the program an unforgettable experience for most participants.
“Although I was really nervous, and wasn’t 100 percent sure yeshiva was for me, I was welcomed by the most accepting and warm counselors and teachers with special summer program rabbis and rebbetzins,” said summer enrollee Brittany Goldberg, 22, a recent grad of University of Connecticut in Hartford, whose native home is Chicago. “They have a special way of helping the girls adapt comfortably and not feel pressured in any way, from the religious to the secular.”
One Yeshivacation alum from Los Angeles described the experience as “being like no other anywhere in the world.”
“There is an energy that goes beyond just the surface to touch and uplift your soul,” said graduate Ruth Parker, 21. “I learned things that I never thought I would learn, and discovered things inside of myself that I did not know existed.”
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