May 20, 2024
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May 20, 2024
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Find Meaning and Inspiration With Matan’s Summer Program

Solidarity mission volunteering at a farm down south.

Matan’s summer program is a unique opportunity to spend three glorious weeks learning and touring with some of the most preeminent and illustrious female Torah scholars in the world. This year there will be an added element of volunteering and helping where it’s needed most, which is vital during these challenging times.

Each year a theme is selected for the program that reflects what is going on in Israel and around the world. Sarina Novick, a graduate of the Matan Bellows Eshkolot Educators Institute and director of the summer program, explained, “We are constantly shaping the program based on what is happening now.” For instance, during Covid, Matan created a program called “Seeing Beyond,” which built a community of over 60 people on Zoom.

This year’s theme is “War and Peace: Finding Strength, Hope, and Purpose in Jewish Thought and Text,” a learn, tour and volunteer program that will bring participants to sites around Israel while exploring the broader topic through different angles of Jewish thought, Tanach and other sources. An integral volunteering component will be introduced, to assist the IDF and other organizations and populations, whose needs have grown since October 7.

Delivering special care packages to female soldiers and chizuk concert.

The summer program begins on Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, July 7, and runs until July 25. It will start in the Old City, together with all the Matan branches, with an inspiring Rosh Chodesh tefillah, breakfast and guest lecture, overlooking the Kotel. The program takes place Sundays through Wednesdays, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.. Participants will enjoy three lectures a day, and on Thursdays there will be a tiyul that combines touring and volunteering.

For the first tiyul, they will head to the Galil with Tamar Weissman as their guide. The following week, they will make their way to Gush Etzion to learn from Rabbi Alan Haber about the battles and wars that raged there. The final tiyul will be led by Shulie Mishkin when she takes the group to the recently opened Sha’ar Hagai Heritage Museum, to visit the interactive exhibit there, while examining the parallels between 1948 and today. Volunteering opportunities will be incorporated throughout.

“Every year it is inspiring to me to hear the reflections of the women who attend the summer program” Novick said. “There’s a tight-knit feel and a warm sense of camaraderie.” The program’s attendees are a mix of Israelis and people who come from abroad, and Novick marvels at how they form a bond every year “and have each other’s backs in a very beautiful way.”

Last year’s program theme was “Kings, Queens, and Jacks,” which explored different positions of leadership and authority in Jewish thought and text. Novick said that at one point during one of the lectures, women went around and shared who they considered to be their “queen,” or someone they looked up to. “So many women spoke about other women within the group, which was really special.” One told Novick how grateful she was to be exposed to stellar women educators who she never would have met or heard of were it not for the Matan Summer Program.

This year, some of the scholars who will be teaching include Dr. Yael Ziegler, Dr. Tanya White, Rabbanit Shani Taragin, Dr. Yosefa Fogel Wruble, Tamar Weissman, Rivi Frankel and more.

Based in the Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem, Matan’s story began over 36 years ago with Rabbanit Malke Bina who felt there was a need for greater and more advanced Torah learning opportunities for women. What began as a class around a table in one woman’s home with a handful of women students grew and grew, giving opportunities and multiple options for advanced, high-level learning. Matan is now an internationally recognized phenomenon that boasts thousands of students and a wildly popular weekly podcast on the parsha and other Torah-centered topics. Matan is proud that it has become the largest learning community worldwide.

Chaya Bina-Katz, Matan’s CEO, said that she is “delighted that, please God, people will be coming to Israel this summer, during these challenging times, and that they will be part of a very special learning and volunteering experience. It is a wonderful way to connect and show achdut with Am Yisrael.”

Matan is also pleased to invite interested women to participate in the Bellows Eshkolot Yom Iyun on Sunday, May 5 at 10:15 a.m. in Teaneck. The featured lecturers will be Rabbanit Shani Taragin and Rabbi David Fohrman. Learning is in the memory and merit of Dr. Joseph Walder, z”l, a pillar of the Jewish people.

For more information or to register for the Matan Summer Program visit www.matan.org.il or email [email protected], or call 646-905-0380.

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