I had the privilege of learning in MMY in 2004/2005, one of the most influential, enjoyable and exciting years of my life! I made friends with people from all over the world, some of whom are still amongst my closest friends. After leaving MMY, I began studying Economics at London’s City University. As much as I enjoyed university, my true passion was in community work and Jewish Education – two major influences as a direct result from my time in MMY.

After marrying my husband in 2007, and the birth of our son in 2009, a work opportunity for my husband presented itself in Hong Kong. Having lived my entire life in my beloved Golders Green community in London, it seemed that I would be moving to half way across the world to a very different Jewish community in Asia.  We agreed we would give it a shot as a short-term experience, a stepping-stone for our family before settling in Israel.

Read more: Shoshana Domnitz, MMY 5765

Although it was 18 years ago, my year at MMY has stayed with me and continues to impact my life until this day. I was part of MMY’s second cohort when it was still in somewhat of an experimental stage and could not be more grateful for such a positive experience. It was a year filled with learning Torah with very little distractions. Looking back, I realize how rarely that opportunity presents itself. I am still in touch with many of my friends from MMY and I was lucky to stay involved with MMY, both personally and professionally, many years after I left my year in seminary.

My year at MMY helped me realize that I was passionate about Jewish education, I returned to the states and studied political science at Columbia University. MMY had a major influence not only on my learning, but also on my desire to be an active member of my community. This led me to become the first female president of the Orthodox community at Columbia University.

Immediately after graduating Columbia in 2002, I made aliyah and moved to Jerusalem. I began working as Executive Director of Yavneh Olami, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and motivating gap year and college students to be engaged with Israel and nurture their Jewish identities. At Yavneh Olami, we ran a summer internship program for college students interested in spending the summer in Israel. This program gave me the chance to work with MMY as a professional, since MMY hosted a special track to enable women to learn Torah while doing an internship in Israel.

After working at Yavneh Olami, I went on to work as the Senior Advisor for the Director of the Education Department at The Jewish Agency, an organization dedicated to connecting the global Jewish family by providing meaningful Israel engagement and facilitating Aliyah.

After working at the Jewish Agency for many years, I realized that I wanted to combine my interest in social action with Jewish education. I soon became a volunteer, then board member and finally Executive Director of an amazing organization called BeMa’aglei Tzedek, which uses education and social action campaigns to create a more just Israeli society informed and inspired by Jewish values. During that time, I founded Siach, an international network of Jewish professionals involved in social justice and environmental activism.

I have recently started working as Executive Director of OLAM, a collaborative venture and shared platform to promote global Jewish service – volunteering and service learning, international development and social justice advocacy – in order to support communities in need around the world. 

This past summer, I married my husband Zeev Ben Shachar, who also shares my passion for Jewish education and activism. This year he started teaching a class at MMY through an Israel advocacy organization, Jerusalem U, and am thrilled that he too is now part of my MMY family. It’s incredible that I have been able to track where MMY has helped lead me and I look forward to all that lies ahead!

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