Articles

 

 

Higlights of a wonderful year shared by MMY 5778 Slideshow-

 

Click on the image above to see our Banquet Slideshow.

 

Song-of-Riddles

We are excited to announce the publication of Song of Riddles by Mrs Geula Twersky.

In addition to teaching and facilitating MMY’s weekly Art Chug Mrs Twersky has an MS in Judaic Studies from the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies and an MA in Bible from Bar-Ilan University. Geula is also an award-winning professional artist who has exhibited her paintings in the Knesset and in galleries around the world. She has published several scholarly articles on topics in Bible in a variety of academic Bible journals, such as Jewish Bible Quarterly, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Hakirah: The Flatbush Journal of Jewish Law and Thought, and Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament.

Her new book, Song of Riddles is an inquiry into the meaning behind the metaphors that animate the Song of Songs, based on a wide range of source materials and scholarship. The core question prompting this inquiry into the Song of Songs is whether, given the opaque literary confines of the text, it is possible to access the Song's intended subtext, using the text itself as a guide in uncovering its underlying theological message. The nexus between metaphor and meaning in the Song lies at the point at which the three planes of dream-fantasies, riddles, and love wisdom intersect. Understanding how the Song functions simultaneously on these independent trajectories is the first step toward arriving at the concealed meaning of the Song's seemingly impenetrable metaphors.

The research presented in this book demonstrates the Song to be part of the rare literary genre of riddles, and points to the two lovers in the Song as hinting to the Temple keruvim. These angelic figurines were the sequestered keepers of the Holy Ark and the Divine law, as well as the representatives of the nation of Israel before the Divine presence. The approach to understanding the Song presented in Song of Riddles seamlessly and authentically merges the traditional rabbinic allegorical approach to the Song with the plain sense of the text.

To see more of Mrs Twersky’s art, please visit her website here.

And to buy the book click here!

meditation-567593 640

 

As the class of 5778 ventures forth from the Beit Medrash, it is time for them to utilize all the skills and lessons they have learnt in the past year. This year, they have an extra arrow in their collective quiver, Mindfulness.

This year, MMY introduced a new Mindfulness Chug into its Wednesday evening programming.

Mindfulness can be described as learning how to pay attention, on purpose, in the present moment, with an attitude towards ourselves of kindness and self-compassion.  Through the practice of mindfulness, we can learn to become more aware of our thoughts, as well as of our feelings and emotions, and of the physical sensations we are experiencing in our bodies as reaction to these thoughts and emotions. This perspective enables us to consciously respond to whatever we are experiencing with clarity and focus, rather than reacting out of the habitual patterns that we are automatically used to, but that are not always so helpful for us. It opens up the possibility of interacting more wisely with difficulties, and choosing to act in ways that are helpful to ourselves and to others.

The way to learn how to do all these things is to learn how to have a different relationship with our thoughts, as well as our feelings. In this chug, we explored different ways to do that. This included meditation, awareness of our breathing, awareness of our thoughts, and learning how-to identify and soothe difficult emotions as they arise.

This year, the chug was taught by three different teachers who focused on different aspects of mindfulness. Mrs. Brofsky opened the year with general introductions to the principles of mindfulness, and mindfulness exercises such as breathing mediations, body scanning, and awareness of thoughts and emotions; particularly difficult emotions such as anxiety. Mrs. Laurie Duitch continued by focusing on her area of expertise, mindful eating. The course was rounded out by Mrs. Janis Joseph, who focused on ways to use mindfulness to help deal with practical issues students often confront, such as to enhance friendships and relationships.

Many students who joined this chug were attracted by the buzzwords that they had heard discussed on social media and in the news, but they soon discovered that the concept of mindfulness has intrinsic Torah values. “Being mindful involves recognizing the Hand of Hashem in all events and not succumbing to intense worries about future prospects,” Olivia Mann explained.

Shira Shicker joined to develop a life skill that will serve her well both in and outside of the seminary experience. “I have become more aware and present in the moment which has made my MMY year so much more meaningful. I am learning to cope with stress, anxiety and other emotions which is a huge challenge in the modern age.”

Mrs. Moskowitz2

Sometimes it’s the most familiar faces that we most need to take the time to get to know better! Mrs. Elana Moskowitz has been a member of the MMY faculty for 16  years and her impact is clear for all to see. But how well do we know her story?

I grew up in the Five Towns and spent my early education at HALB where my principal was Rabbi Dr. Armin Friedman. He was an incredible educator, but even more impactful was the shadow he cast as a Holocaust survivor. In an attempt to gain insight and understanding into him and others like him I have devoured Holocaust literature ever since 6th grade.

In High School, I imagined my future; married to a wealthy professional and living near my childhood home. I was a "lip-service Israel lover", I knew the right things to say and even the right posters to have on the wall but it wasn’t a deep, meaningful connection.

I came to Israel to attend Michlalah for a year after High School and stayed for Shana Bet. That is where my love of Israel was ignited. Walking the streets of Yerushalayim I realized that this is THE place where I could be the best Eved Hashem, and it would be the most conducive for living the life that mattered to me.

I was the example of every seminary parents’ nightmare; I got engaged the summer after my Shana Bet amd my Chatan was studying in Yeshiva. I enrolled in Michalah College for the next year and we went back to America to meet the families and buy dishes. At the end of Sheva Brachot our suitcases were packed and in the hall! It was a smooth transition, I never experienced adulthood in America, I never had my own home a short drive from my parents, where I pilfered their pantry for groceries or asked them for help with the kids in the afternoon. Raising my family in Eretz Yisrael was natural - the only reality I have known.

After spending some time teaching English to disinterested and challenging Israeli children, I was looking to change lanes and my career plans. Through a series of moments that I can only describe as Hashgacha, I got my first Torah teaching job and it grew from there. I joined MMY 16 years ago as a Rakezet and have been part of the faculty ever since.

I am now teaching Mefashi Rashi, Sefer Bamidbar, Topics in Hashkafa, Writings of Rav Dessler and Agadata. I love teaching at MMY; it keeps me young. The students have energy, they share their excitement and are always making discoveries in their learning. I enjoy connecting with the students and learning with and from them. As the year progresses I love watching them get into their groove and delve deeper into the learning. For me, the great love of teaching Torah is taking something that I believe is emet, sharing it with someone else and watching them see it as emet as well. I am lucky to spend my days helping people come closer to Hashem and realize that they have been put on this earth to accomplish something and that the whole rest of their life is meant to figure out what it is and how to achieve it.

Mrs Moskowitz lives in Yerushalayim with her husband and 7 children. If you want to get in touch or reconnect with her, please do – by emailing her This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

Nechamit

Nechamit Rosen, MMY 5770 - 5771

When it came time to choosing what to do after High School I knew two things with certainty; I wanted to spend a year in MMY and I wanted to become a pastry chef. I had researched culinary schools for years, well before I knew anything about individual seminaries, but I knew for me it would be seminary first and then culinary school.

There was no question in my mind that I was going to MMY, I had my role models in the form of friends and camp counsellors who had attended MMY, I looked up to them and wanted to emulate them. MMY lived up to my expectations. It allowed me to acquire strong textual skills as well as build strong connections to friends and teachers. I also had the opportunity to develop my hashkafa and relationship with Torah & Halacha.

I had found the Jerusalem Culinary Institute (JCI), years earlier and was very excited about the prospect of studying there. I used one of my first free moments after arriving in Israel to visit the campus, and instantly fell in love.

With the help of the MMY administration, I worked out the logistics. I stayed for Shana Bet and at the end of the first semester I continued living there but divided my time between learning and JCI.

Throughout my years in the MMY dorms I had many opportunities of sharing my food with others. I cooked Shabbat meals at my teachers homes for their families and student guests, I prepared dinners in my dira with roommates and friends, and I even cooked Purim Seuda with one friend for all our classmates to enjoy.

When January of my Shana Bet began, so did my first day of culinary school. I’m not sure who was more excited, me or my fellow students and teachers, who simply could not wait to see what was in store for me! Leaving Rechov Najara and travelling to Talpiyot each day on the bus gave me a new perspective on life in Jerusalem. At the end of the return journey each day, there was a welcome party of excited girls waiting for me and the new delicacies I brought home for them. Living in MMY and attending culinary school was really the best of both worlds. I was able to attend night seder and join in activities and tiyulim, which helped me continue to strengthen relationships and give time to my Torah learning.

After my time in Israel, I returned to Chicago where I interned with Laura Frankel of Wolfgang Puck at the Spertus Museum, and then moved to New York, where I completed my training at The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts (CKCA). There were only two kosher culinary schools in the world – I gained certification from both of them! I then interned again, this time in New York, with Village Crown Caterers, where I was able to help cater some prestigious events, including Mayor Bloomberg’s Chanukah party.

I am now the pastry chef and kitchen manager at Village Crown - Esprit Events in Manhattan. I also do private baking orders and demonstations out of my apartment in Washington Heights for residents of the Tri-State area.

It can be a challenge being the only religious person in the kitchen. I stand out in my skirts instead of chef pants and am often the in-kitchen expert on halacha. However these challenges are also helpful and vivid reminders of my priorities and who I am at my core.

When the chaggim are approaching and my hours in the kitchen are crazy long, baking well into the night, I always say that baking is my spiritual preparation for the zmanim. This is especially felt when I am immersed in hamentaschen production 7-8 weeks prior to Purim or all the detailed apple sugar decorations on cupcakes for Rosh Hashana and all the fried sufganiot for Chanukah.

Making wedding cakes for a special kallah or extravagant dessert buffets for a young girl’s Bat Mitzvah party is especially rewarding.  

Standing at a buffet, laden with miniature desserts and a molten chocolate fountain, a young child once turned to me and said, “you make magic!” In a way I do. The act of giving food often puts the biggest smile on someone’s face. That is my magic and it’s what keeps me going every day.

To read more about Nechamit and see her incredible work please visit her website: http://www.nechamit.com/

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