My MMY~Where Are They Now?

Rahel Bayar - MMY 5760


Rahel Bayar studied in MMY in its fourth year.  During that year, she founded what is now the Kedma/Yeshiva University Inter-Seminary Choir Competition, in which MMY won second place this year!  (As an aside, MMY has won first place four times and second place twice - the best record of any seminary).

Today Rahel works as a criminal prosecuter for the NYC District Attorney's office.  She lives in Manhattan with her husband (Tuvia Lwowski) and two daughters, and on the side they are the "Shabbat Campus Family" at Stern College.  This summer, they plan to relocate to Seattle.

It is hard to believe how many years it has been since my Shana Baaretz in MMY. When I left the comfort of my home in New Jersey for a year in Israel, MMY was a relatively new school. Being someone who embraces change, new experiences and the "unknown", I knew that spending a year at MMY would be the start of a new journey.

In high school and in summer camp I had always found that song and music had allowed me to meet people and make close friends. When I arrived at MMY I knew that I wanted music to be a part of my year in Israel. Though we started small, a few of us formed an MMY choir and performed on the roof of the (at the time very new and now very old) MMY building as part of a very spiritual Aseret Y'may Teshuvah program. Though we had no way of knowing this back then, that experience catapulted song into the forefront of the seminary experience over the next decade.

Part of the MMY curriculum was in finding a unique chesed oportunity to be a part of throughout the year. A good friend introduced me to the KEDMA organization and I knew that working there would be a great fit. When I sat down with the head of Kedma and explained that I wanted to volunteer, we brainstormed as to what projects I could involved myself in.

She turned to me and asked "what do you love?"  "Singing, music, activism, public speaking" was my reply. I explained that I loved being part of a choir, that it helped to foster new friendships and that I wanted to create a chesed project that involved choirs and music and raising money for tzedakah. From that conversation the Kedma Inter-School Choir Competition was born. The idea was to make the choir competition a viable fundraiser for tzedakah while creating unity amongst various schools and students. No one ever imagined the Kedma Choir Competition would become a staple of the seminary experience. The lasting effect of a small concept is proof that even the smallest idea can be life changing.

After MMY, I graduated from Rutgers University and entered law school. Though my eldest daughter was born while studying for law school exams, I knew that having a career where I could advocate for others and seek justice was something I wanted to do. Choosing a career as an attorney has been incredibly fulfilling and exciting. Upon graduation from law school I began working as an Assistant District Attorney at the Bronx District Attorney's Office. Over the next few years I was challenged with prosecuting hundreds of cases in both the Domestic Violence and Child Abuse/Sex Crimes Bureaus.

Both my husband and I chose careers that were not in the field of chinuch, but chose to simultaneously complement our day jobs with rewarding work in the Jewish community. We managed to play an active role in synagogue youth programs, serving as the Youth Directors of Cong. AABJ&D in West Orange, NJ for four years. We then spent 3.5 years at Stern College as the Shabbat Campus Couple, facilitating student led programming, running the minyanim, giving shiurim & chaburot and fostering community through a weekly musical havdallah. Living in Midtown Manhattan,working with YU & Stern students while simultaneously being a criminal prosecutor, a wife and a mother to two wonderful girls (Maayan and Noa) has been a tremendously rewarding experience.

My Shana Baaretz at MMY was a year of growth. It's an experience that fostered my creativity and ability to adapt. I learned that often it is the small experiences, the apparent coincidences found in one's daily routine, that can bring some of the most unexpected returns. With a healthy dose of perspective and perseverance- one's creativity and faith can grow exponentially. As we navigate through these experiences, the more confident we are in ourselves and in the paths we choose, the greater the results may be.

"My MMY" Journals

my mmy journal pictures my mmy journal pictures Aliza Kanter Racheli my mmy

Join Zisse on her short walk from MMY to the Kotel

Aviva talks about what it's like at Night Seder in MMY, learning on her own with her chavruta.

Racheli Ambinder recalls how much fun the Galil tiyul was.


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