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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Talia and friends at a Beitar Jerusalem FC football (soccer) match (Credit: Talia Levie)

Talia and friends painting pottery (Credit: Talia Levie)

Talia Levie is studying at Midreshet Moriah in the Beit HaKerem neighborhood of Jerusalem. She is from Teaneck, and enjoyed every day of her four years at Frisch School. Her family davens at Congregation Keter Torah.

Her plans for next year? Stern College for Women, where she hopes to pursue a career in dentistry.

Why did you choose to learn at Midreshet Moriah?

I chose to study here because of the wide range of classes and teachers. Every class slot features four different topics, which gives us the opportunity to study subjects we are genuinely interested in—we’re so excited to go to every class. I had also heard that a lot of amazing girls were going here this year, which made my decision easier.

What kind of goals do you have for your year?

This year, I intend to strengthen my Torah knowledge and gain a greater sense of emunah in God. I also want to fill the gaps in my Judaism and get answers to my questions. I hope to reinforce my foundation in Torah and mitzvot for my life moving forward. I also looked forward to meeting so many new girls and making great role models.

What has been one of the biggest highlights of your year so far?

It is always exciting and inspiring to see my beliefs and knowledge growing. A few months ago, we went with my rabbi to do kaparot. Around eight girls came along, and it was so cool to see how many people came out to do kaparot together.

It’s just amazing to be able to learn and daven at the Kotel whenever I want.

On Wednesdays, I work at Sha’arei Zedek Hospital in the nursery, changing and feeding the newborn babies—this is such a fun and meaningful activity which is exciting and inspiring every time I go.

What kind of challenges have you faced coming to Israel?

Meeting 72 new girls can be extremely overwhelming, so in the beginning it was hard not to have my own space to reflect and relax in, but, after I adjusted, some of the things I found difficult are my favorite parts of being here. Learning until late at night tested my concentration in the beginning, but, as the year progressed, I began to want to find more time to gain knowledge.

How has being here been different from your expectations? Did you feel prepared for your experience or did you have culture shock, and how so?

I felt pretty prepared for the Midreshet Moriah curriculum, and feel that I have been set up for success here. I’ve been given so much information growing up religious, and here I am able to learn the deeper meaning to it all and internalize everything so that I will have it in my foundation for the rest of my life.

Where is your favorite place to go for weekends/Shabbat so far?

Shabbat is an amazing time to learn about different communities in Israel. I have gone to Ashkelon by the beach, to a kibbutz and even to Beitar for Shabbat at a rabbi’s house. Every place is so different and each place has given me ideas of what I want to bring to my home life in the future.

What are you most looking forward to from the rest of your year?

I hope to continue to grow and form relationships, to learn all of the halachot I will need for my life, and, even though that will probably not happen, I hope to gain the skills to be able to at least find out what information I’m lacking. I also plan on continuing to discover this amazing land through trips, activities and Shabbatot.

By Tzvi Silver/JLNJ Israel