April 11, 2024
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Amichai Malek Grows in Torah and Avodat Hashem at Har Etzion

Amichai Malek is studying in Yeshivat Har Etzion (“Gush”), in the Alon Shvut community in the Etzion bloc of Judea. He grew up in the country club neighborhood of Teaneck and davened at the Young Israel of Teaneck until his family moved to the “other side” of Teaneck, and they now daven at Congregation Rinat Yisrael.

His plans for next year? Yeshiva University

Why did you choose to learn at Gush?

The warmth of the rebbeim, intense learning and its environment of fostering growth were all major factors in my decision to come to the yeshiva.

What kind of goals did you have for your year?

Going into the year, my two main goals were growing in Torah and Avodat Hashem as well as gaining a greater connection to the Land of Israel.

What has been one of your biggest highlights of the year so far?

The most exciting time of the year was probably our Golan trip, where we went hiking and rafting. The most inspiring moment of the year was Rav Yaakov Medan’s (the rosh yeshiva) speech before Ne’ila at the end of Yom Kippur.

Which rebbeim do you feel that you connect to particularly strongly?

So far in my time in yeshiva, there have been two rebbeim who have shaped and impacted my year. Since the first day of shiur, Rav Kaye has been a big part of my year in the yeshiva. He is always open to answer questions and concerns, and his shiur is both intellectually challenging and enjoyable. I consistently approach Rav Kaye for advice and guidance and no matter how busy he is, he always makes time for me as well as the rest of his talmidim. Another rabbi who has had a lot of influence on my year is Rav Taragin. His shiur has exposed me to an extremely high level of Gemara learning and his enthusiasm and sense of humor gives the shiur a fun atmosphere. Most of all, his five-minute mussar idea at the beginning of each shiur always serves as a meaningful start to the day. Like Rav Kaye, Rav Taragin has given guidance and advice that has changed my Gush experience. I am grateful to Rav Kaye and Rav Taragin for all they have done for me this year and look forward to continue to learn from them, both inside and outside of the classroom.

What has been one of the biggest challenges you have faced coming to Israel? Did you feel prepared for your experiences or did you have a culture shock?

The hardest things about being in yeshiva is being so far from my family, avoiding distractions and managing time. Being in a yeshiva with an Israeli majority did take some time to get adjusted to, with there being some subtle differences in culture. However, it has really improved my Hebrew and they are really great guys.

What is your favorite place to go for Shabatot/weekends so far?

My favorite place to go on Shabbat is to my childhood friend who lives in Beit Shemesh—it’s been great reconnecting with him.

What are you most looking forward to for the rest of your year?

I look forward to continue learning and growing in my Avodat Hashem as the year continues.

Have a relative, friend or neighbor learning in Israel this year who’d you like to be featured in JLNJ’s Israel Spotlight? Please contact JLNJ’s Israel Desk for more information: [email protected].

By Tzvi Silver/JLNJ Israel

 

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