Friday, November 13, 2009

The Conservative Yeshiva

The Fuchsberg Center at the corner of Agron and King George streets in the center of Jerusalem.
The Conservative Yeshiva (CY) building is part of a complex that contains a beit midrash (two actually, an old one oand a newer one) and a guest house. Classes are offered year round both in person and on line.

This past summer I participated in the second summer session of learning. For three weeks I studied Talmud, Halacha, Psalms and misc other "stuff" with people of all ages from all over the world. My Talmud chevruta was from Oslo, Norway. Lynn was a wonderful chevruta. She is also studying to be a rabbi but through the Aleph program. We both desired to study the text slowly and systematically so that we could later teach what we learned. Our different skill sets were complementary. Between studying with Lynn and learning in class from Reb Mordecai I learned an incredible amount of Talmud in 3 weeks.

The laws regarding head covering from women occupied another portion of each day. In Advanced Halacha with Reb Shlomo we learned the halacha of "kisui rosh" in a chronological fashion. We began by looking at the verses from which the Rabbis derived the law in Bamidbar, the book of Numbers and worked our up to more modern times. Someday I will write about these particular studies and how I ultimately chose to cover my head with something other than my customary kippah while in Israel. However, as the laws are derived from the portion of the Torah that deals with the Sotah, the suspected adulterous wife, I am choosing not to discuss it at the moment. I get very angry/annoyed when I think about it. Enough of that for now.

My final regular course this summer was Psalms with Rabbi Gail Diamond (an RRC grad and Assistant Director of CY),  an excellent class that looks at Psalms as sacred text, prayer, praise and literature all at the same time. This class was also interesting because the students encompassed a wide spectrum of levels of comfort/fluency with Hebrew and text. The summer also included a variety of co-curricular programs and lots of informal schmoozing. As  a recipient of a Legacy Heritage scholarship. I also participated in a additional get togethers that focussed on the needs and skill sets of Jewish communal leaders. It was helpful getting to know others that were as committed to their communities as I am to mine and to have the opportunity to share ideas and programs.

I am currently in the last 6 weeks or so of my studies in Israel. I've mentioned in other posts about the craziness of my schedule and the variety of institutions in which I study (CY, Machon Schechter, Nava Tehilla, Melitz...). I spend the majority of my time at CY and am grateful for having a base of operations where I feel so comfortable and the people are so warm and caring. I'll close with some pictures of CY experiences - some were taken from the CY summer website.
Shabbat Shalom.

Tisha B'Av at the "egal" part of the Wall  (pic courtesy of CY)
A Tu B'Av Kumsitz lead by the incomparable Mark Novak (pic courtesy of CY)
The view outside the Beit Midrash at CY

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