April 17, 2024
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April 17, 2024
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Talya Erblich Is Meeting Her Goals at Michlalah

Talya Erblich is studying at Michlalah Yerushalayim in the Bayit Vagan neighborhood of Jerusalem. She grew up in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and most recently Elizabeth. She attended Breuer’s and Passaic’s Yeshiva Beis Hillel for elementary school, and Bruriah for high school.

Why did you choose to study at Michlalah?

Currently I’m enrolled in Michlalah’s Linda Pinsky school for overseas students. Choosing this seminary was not an easy decision. There are so many different places in Israel with so many different hashkafot. It is hard to find the place that works best. I decided to make a list of my goals for the coming year, and discussed them at length with my high school teachers and my parents until we were able to find the school that best suited my needs.

What kind of goals do you have for the year?

Around Rosh Hashanah time, our teachers encouraged us to write down our goals for the year. They recommended that students start with smaller, more feasible ideas, rather than larger, although perhaps more idealistic, unattainable plans. I accepted their advice and set up a list of easily achievable goals. Some of them included learning to use the Israeli transportation system, being open-minded about classes that I would ordinarily never take, spending my free time learning to play guitar. It’s still the beginning of the year, but I think that so far I’ve definitely made headway on many of my goals.

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

There’s one project I’ve been working on since day one. I wanted to decorate my room in a way that would speak to me about living in Israel for a year. I wanted to wake up every morning feeling that even the room I was in would inspire me. So, I decided that I wanted to create a mural. Specifically, a large tapestry that would cover a significant portion of my wall. My original idea was to incorporate an ocean motif into my mural. Using only permanent markers from home and lined notebook paper, I began to design the project. However, it did not take long for me to realize that the design needed something more. Just a mural of an ocean would not suffice. So I decided to add a pasuk to the design. Since I was using an ocean design, I wanted to use a pasuk that not only felt meaningful to me, but also highlighted the beauty of water. The pasuk in Tehillim, “Mikolot mayim rabim adirim mishberei yam, adir bamarom Hashem” felt like a perfect match. This pasuk portrayed the beautiful ocean water of my mural as well as my hopes for my year in Israel: To catch a glimpse of the greatness of God. To recognize His depths and His wonders. The project took me an entire month to complete, but in the end, I was really pleased with the results. Now I have my very own Torah version of an ocean view!

What kind of challenges have you faced coming to Israel?

Being away from home for a full year can be really challenging, especially if you’ve never done it previously. Before I went to Israel I was quite nervous about leaving my family. When I arrived in Israel, I discovered that I could live on my own without too much trouble. Thankfully, it was not such a challenging adjustment. However, there have still been some not-quite-so-exciting adventures. One Motzei Shabbat, on the way back to my dormitory, I got lost for four hours and nearly missed my school’s latest curfew. It was not a pleasant experience, but I was able to deal with it accordingly. I could have panicked (being lost in a foreign country isn’t all that fun apparently), but instead I paused and thought. I realized that I was barely lost. It was impossible that I was lost—because my home is Israel, and people don’t get lost in their own homes. With a calmer attitude I was able to find my way back home.

How has your year been different from your expectations?

Jerusalem is a beautiful city, and there’s something about it that makes it different from every other city in the world. The culture here is based around Judaism. Jerusalem is a religiously diverse city, and just by walking down its streets you can meet people from so many different backgrounds. However, no matter how different people are here, I’ve seen every type of person come to the Kotel. It’s beautiful to see that people can maintain their passionate, yet disparate outlooks on Judaism and still unite under the Kotel. I had visited Israel with my family a few times before this year, so I think this might have mitigated some of the culture shocks.

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

There are so many places to spend Shabbat in Israel. My favorite place so far has been Beitar. Two of my friends and I stayed at an Israeli family’s house. We slept in the storage room on the roof. From there we had an amazing view of the sunset and the hills surrounding us. I also learned some fascinating new words like lenasot—to try, and mekak—cockroach. It was quite a wonderful chavaya.

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

One of the most exciting aspects of this year is my free time. On Friday, my school gives a day off. Currently, I am planning a number of Friday morning hiking trips with friends. During my breaks, I want to start learning how to cook nicer meals as well as begin to write the first chapter of my own book. However, this year is not just about the free time. Every aspect of the year will be something to look forward to.

What are your plans for next year?

Ideally, I would love to make aliyah. Of course, there are many considerations that need to be taken into account, including family, financials, language barriers, and the list goes on. I would really love to attend Technion, but that may not be possible for me given the time constraints. As of right now, I’m enrolled in Rutgers University School of Engineering.


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