April 20, 2024
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Meir Tolchin Enjoys the Learning and Warm Environment at Orayta

Meir Tolchin is studying in Yeshivat Orayta in the Old City of Jerusalem. He is from Teaneck, New Jersey, and attended Yeshivat Noam and TABC. His family davens at Congregation Beth Abraham.

His plans for next year? Staying for at least part of shana bet at Orayta, then afterward Yeshiva University.

Why did you choose to learn in Orayta?

I chose Orayta for a few reasons. I wanted a place with serious learning and great guys, one that offered all of the standard aspects of yeshiva. That being said, I also wanted to learn somewhere that had a bit more of a diverse curriculum; a place that was serious about Gemara study but also had a strong focus on Tanach, philosophy, etc.

However, what really sold me on Orayta was when I visited in January of my senior year of high school. Upon walking into the beit midrash I was overwhelmed by an incredible buzz and energy in the room. I was greeted by one of the rebbeim, who gave me a tour of the yeshiva and introduced me to some of the students. I was sold immediately on the warmth and excitement in the yeshiva and never looked back.

What kind of goals did you have for your year?

My goals were to enhance my text-based skills so I could use them to learn Torah at a higher level, enhance my connection to Hashem and Judaism, and work on my personal character growth.

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

In the beginning of December, our yeshiva went on a three-day tiyul to the Negev where we left our phones and all electronics behind in yeshiva. The purpose was “disconnect to reconnect,” time to appreciate the little things in life and grow closer to each other.

What kind of challenges have you faced coming to Israel?

The biggest difficulty I’ve faced has definitely been being away from home for an entire year.

How has being here been different from your expectations?

My year hasn’t been so different from my expectations. For better or worse, Orayta is in the Old City, so I haven’t really had to adjust to Israeli lifestyle. I definitely felt prepared and comfortable coming into my yeshiva year, partially due to being a youngest child in my family and having two siblings who’ve already gone to yeshiva and seminary.

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

I wouldn’t say I have one favorite place to go. Depending on the week, I like to go to friends in Beit Shemesh or Chashmonaim, or sometimes try a destination that is a bit more interesting, like a Hesder Yeshiva in the Golan.

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

I definitely love the daily grit and grind of yeshiva, but it’s definitely nice to get out and see the country a little bit. I would say I’m most looking forward to future tiyulim and getting to explore more of Israel.

What are your plans for your first Purim in Israel?

I will be in yeshiva for Purim. Since Orayta is in Jerusalem, we as a yeshiva will be keeping Purim on Shushan Purim, the day after everyone else, a first for me. I also can’t wait to celebrate this special chag with my friends and rebbeim.

Have a relative, friend or neighbor learning in Israel this year who’d 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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