Friday, February 03, 2023

(Courtesy of Midreshet Lindenbaum) Ten young women recently returned to their homes across the USA after spending four fun-filled weeks in Israel. Summer “fun” for this particular group of girls was different than one might expect from high school sophomores, juniors and seniors. Their program focused on high-level, intensive Torah and Talmud studies in the famed Midreshet Lindenbaum beit midrash—alongside touring the country and “giving back” through volunteer chesed opportunities such as baking desserts to deliver to soldiers and packaging food for needy families.

“Participating in Lamdeini has helped me grow in so many ways,” said Shira Kaplan of Teaneck, who will soon be starting her senior year at Ma’ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls. “I have gained new Torah learning skills and new perspectives on the texts, and I made wonderful friends. I really hope to come back to learn at Midreshet Lindenbaum again after I graduate high school!”

“There was such a diversity of classes that we all got to learn what we love,” added Naomi Rosenbluth, a sophomore at Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston. “I especially loved the classes where we learned life lessons, and I loved gaining tools to learn in chavruta, as well as navigating the texts on my own.”

Moreover, continued Rosenbluth, “It was wonderful to be with a group of girls who all feel as passionately about learning and who see it as so much more than something to do in school.”

“I had a fabulous time at Lamdeini, Midreshet Lindenbaum’s summer learning program for high school students,” said Rena Kaplan of Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, who will be entering 11th grade at the Baldwin School in the fall. “I really appreciated the program’s unique commitment to providing engaging, high-level shiurim. The faculty not only taught us meaningful material, but were also interested in speaking with us outside the classroom and even welcomed us into their homes for Shabbat. It was a bracha to spend my time in the Lindenbaum beit midrash with a remarkable group of peers and mentors.”

“The teachers really were outstanding,” affirmed Eliana Waghalter, an incoming 11th grader at YULA Girls High School in Los Angeles. “I’ve gained a real appreciation for the textual sources behind so many of the things I do every day.”

On the group’s tours of Israel, their teachers integrated what they learned into their trips—for example, a visit to the location where the Jewish People crossed into Israel followed by a water hike in the area.

The word “lamdeini” means “teach me,” and reflects the motivation behind the program’s establishment. “After running a Zoom summer program for high schoolers when the COVID pandemic began, a number of high schools throughout the USA suggested we open an in-person program this year, specifically for students who crave a continuation of their Torah learning over the summer in a thriving beit midrash,” said Rosh Midreshet Lindenbaum Rabbanit Sally Mayer.

“This is the only summer program in Israel for high school girls that includes serious study of Gemara,” elaborated Rabbanit Rivky Kresst, senior Tanach teacher at Midreshet Lindenbaum and coordinator of the Lamdeini Program. “In addition, the girls also studied myriad other subjects: They explored leadership, the development of Jewish customs, the textual basis of Jewish laws, and characters in Tanach.”

“It was inspiring for these bright, impressive, inquisitive young women to see our beautiful beit midrash, filled with women learning Torah,” said Krestt. “They were truly empowered by the midrasha’s amazing teachers to take ownership of their Jewish journeys.”

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