May 19, 2024
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Joe Amster Loves Learning at Lev HaTorah

Joe Amster is studying at Yeshivat Lev HaTorah in Ramat Beit Shemesh. He grew up in West Orange, attended JKHA/RKYHS for elementary school and high school. In the summers, Joe attended Gan Israel in Morristown, Camp Dora Golding, Yad B’Yad and, most recently, Camp Nesher and Camp Moshava. He was also very involved in the West Orange chapter and New Jersey regional boards of NCSY. His family davens at Congregation AABJ&D.

His next stop? Yeshiva University.

Why did you choose to study at Lev HaTorah?

I chose this program for a few reasons: my brother David had attended this yeshiva a few years ago and I was therefore already familiar with its positive reputation as well as the great experience he had there. Additionally, when I researched Lev further, I saw that all those positive things I heard about really seemed to be true. I wanted to spend my year in Israel in a nurturing, warm and positive environment that encouraged me to be the best person I can as well as provide me with unique Israel experiences. Lev HaTorah is known for all of those as well as always managing to gather an extremely kind-hearted staff and group of guys. I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my year in Israel anywhere else.

What kind of goals do you have for the year?

Going into the year, the goals I had set for myself were mainly to work on myself as a person in my spirituality, connection with Hashem, midot with others, and learning. Learning is very important to me, but for this year, even more important than learning as much Gemara as possible was gaining the ability to be confident in my Judaism, learning how to best serve Hashem, and gaining the skills that, even if it meant not as much this year, would allow me to take everything that I gain from this year and use it for the rest of my life.

What have been some of the highlights of your year so far?

I would say that my biggest highlight from this year has been the Eilat tiyul. It had a perfect mix of everything. Nothing in Israel is more fun than going tubing in the Red Sea and jumping off boats. In addition to the fun we had, spending time in Eilat really inspired me and allowed me to see the greatness of Hashem. Whether 3,000 feet up on a mountain looking over enormous mountain ranges, or 6 meters under the water scuba diving, immersed in a totally new and awe-inspiring world of coral and fish, you can’t help but be inspired. Additionally, on the first night of our tiyul, we had a kumzitz on the beach where all the guys I had spent the last two months with came together and sang and were open with each other, which created a real sense of unity.

What kind of challenges have you faced coming to Israel?

I think the biggest difficulty for me being in yeshiva has been the transition from an eight-hour school schedule to a 14-hour yeshiva schedule. Thankfully, Lev HaTorah did a good job transitioning us into the change in schedule, but it’s still definitely something that requires some getting used to.

How has your year been different from your expectations?

Before going into yeshiva, I tried my hardest not to have any preconceived notions, but I think yeshiva life was more or less what I expected. Nevertheless, adjusting to Israeli culture was more difficult. Trying to learn the transportation systems, interact with the people, and understand how the country runs was something I had to learn. I think just being here is the only way to overcome this, and, before you know it, you don’t even think twice about it.

Where is your favorite place to go for weekends/Shabbat so far?

My favorite place to go for Shabbos so far has been the Old City. There’s nothing like being in the crowded Kotel on Friday night davening with all different types of Jews.

Which is one of your favorite classes at Lev HaTorah?

One class that I particularly enjoy and feel I benefit a lot from is my halachot of doing chesed taught by Rav Mordechai Machlis. It gives me and the rest of the class a real understanding of the importance of giving yourself to others and how to impact those around you in a practical way.

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

For the rest of the year I’m looking forward to being able to continue to build on the goals that I set for myself, as well as strengthening my relationships with my friends, rebbeim and Hashem. I’m also excited to see what Lev HaTorah has in store for us next.

By JLNJ Staff

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