All Night Mishmar
by Devorah Chait
Although Thursday night mishmar extends our formal learning later than usual, most girls don’t think twice about staying up until 11:00 pm. This past week, on the other hand, required a bit more effort. As we all learned in Rav Mishkin’s mishmar, New Year’s Eve is not a Jewish holiday. Lindenbaum decided to present an enticing alternative to watching the ball drop: all-night mishmar with Rav Leibtag and Shani Taragin.
The night opened with about fifteen girls, Tanachim, and ice cream. Rav Leibtag showed us the origins of the Jewish year תשע״ו through the Tanach, classical history, and a bit of math. We followed the accounts of Persian kings in Tanach, noted gaps of information, and saw how Chazal filled in the years to create a Jewish identification with the Greek year, deepening with the advent of the Christian year.
By 1:00 am, we were exhausted and enthralled. Most girls went to bed at that point, but a few of us continued learning (or took power naps) until Shani joined us from 2:45 am-4:00 am. Yes, we all ate Shani’s deli roll at 3:30 in the morning, and yes, it was delicious. Shani concluded her three-part shiur on the canonization of Tanach, broadening our understanding of how the book we are spending the year studying became the cohesive unit before us.
All in all, the night was pretty fantastic. Thank you once again to Rav Leibtag and Shani for coming out in the late hours of the night/early hours of the morning to continue teaching us Torah!
Keep Jerusalem Tour
by Helena Lustig
On Tuesday, December 29th, the Understanding Israel class went on another tour, with an organization called אם אשכחך, also known as Keep Jerusalem. Keep Jerusalem’s platform is to educate the public about the importance of a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty.
The tour was introduced with a few key issues and questions: What is Jerusalem? Who lives in which parts? Who has legal rights to Jerusalem? What does the UN say? What do Palestinians say? What does the Israeli government say? What are the rights of Arabs in East Jerusalem? How are they treated? What are Israelis’ rights? What should we do about this conflict — is there any solution? We addressed these issues by learning and discussing historical facts and unpacking the numerous UN Resolutions.
At the first stop we went to, Nebi Samuel, we sat outside and learned about different international resolutions. A listening bystander stopped our tour guide and asked him what he thought the solution to the conflict of disputed territory and borders should be. Rather than get into a long argument with him, our tour guide simply told the man that he was relaying the facts to us, and that there is a difference between land that is split in ownership and land that — under international law — belongs to a single owner that is allowing others to live under their government. It was most definitely eye opening to see a confrontation like this, as most of us have only experienced the conflict within classroom walls.
At the second stop, we went to Givat Shaul in Tel-el Ful. We stood in the remains of the palace, overlooking Shu’afat and the surrounding Arab neighborhoods. There, we talked about ‘Permanent Residency’ and the rights that Palestinians are given, as well as the difference in socio-economic status between Israelis and Palestinians. While I listened to what the tour guide relayed, I couldn’t help but think back to what the Ir Amim guide had said about this same issue, and the much more negative view she had expressed on how the Arab population is treated.
As our trip with Keep Jerusalem was a different — more right wing — presentation than our previous tour, it was interesting and important to hear both this side of the conflict and what we had previously learned from Ir Amim. Throughout the trip, students brought up seeming contradictions between the two tours. It was both a highly educational outing, and a necessary one.
by Rachel Nordlicht
On Tuesday, Midreshet Lindenbaum had the pleasure of hosting a ceremony for women who have recently received Gets, after being denied them for various significant amounts of time. The program started with a speech from Rabbi Riskin, one of the people in charge of Yad L’isha, an organization that helps women struggling to receive Gets from their husbands.
Following Rabbi Riskin, a Knesset member who advocates strongly for women’s rights, gave a speech about her experiences, her views about the organization and her involvement. She spoke about her role in the Israeli government as a women, which was particularly interesting to me.
After her speech, there was a ceremony honoring three women who recently received their Gets, in which they were each given gifts. One of the three women spoke and shared her story with us. She spoke about how her husband disappeared one night — leaving her penniless, and how she struggled to finally find him in order to be granted a proper divorce. The organization seemed to have changed her life — and many others — for the better. I felt privileged to witness such an event and to learn so much from women who have experienced and overcome such awful injustice.