May 16, 2024
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Rachel Mendelson Loves the Learning Options at Midmo

Rachel Mendelson is studying at Midreshet Moriah in Jerusalem. She grew up in Livingston, and attended Kushner for elementary school and high school. Her family davens at Suburban Torah in Livingston.

Her next stop? Stern College for Women.

Why did you choose to study at Midreshet Moriah?

I chose “Midmo” because of the diversity of the student body as well as the diversity of the rabbanim, teachers and staff. I love the location and, most specifically, I really appreciate our slogan “midmorechoices.” There are so many options for classes and I have had the opportunity to customize my schedule until I really felt I got it right. I love it here.

What kind of goals do you have for the year?

My goal is to mature and grow on a personal level while making lifelong friends. I am already having a memorable and amazing religious experience that I’ll look back on as a pivotal and incredibly meaningful year in my life.

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

A highlight of my year so far was when I went to Hebron for Parshat Chayei Sarah. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was very spiritual being in the place where our Avot and Imahot are buried while listening to the parsha that tells of Avraham buying the me’arah and of his and Sarah’s deaths. Thousands of Jews from different backgrounds were there. And despite the dangers of the area where Hebron is located, there were soldiers everywhere and I felt extremely safe. It was a very moving experience for me on many levels.

What kind of challenges have you faced coming to Israel?

The biggest difficulty of being away from home is having to be self-reliant for the first time in my life. I now have to buy my own groceries, occasionally cook my own food, and take public transportation alone. It has definitely taken some getting used to, but I’ve gotten the hang of it and am enjoying the independence.

How has your year been different from your expectations?

When I first arrived, I faced a bit of a culture shock because I wasn’t so prepared for Judaic classes only, from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily. Thankfully, I am now well adjusted to this.

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

I know I’m repeating myself, but I have to say that my favorite Shabbos so far was definitely in Hebron for Chayei Sarah. Aside from that, though, one of my best friend’s family (Hey, Mollie!) recently moved to Israel and I love going to her house for Shabbos. We always have a homey, relaxing time, which is really important once in a while.

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

I’m looking forward to strengthening my ties to Judaism and Eretz Yisrael. I am also looking to strengthen the bonds and friendships that I have already formed to this point, and I want to continue cultivating new relationships. I look forward to that opportunity with great excitement.

By JLNJ Staff

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