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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Robin Tassler is studying at Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim in Jerusalem. She grew up in Paramus and attended Yavneh Academy and Frisch High School. Her family davens at Congregation Beth Tefillah.

Her next stop? MaCaulay Queens

Why did you choose to study at MMY?

I am currently studying in MMY and I chose to go there because of the type of learning they offer; it is very intellectual and chavruta-based so I’m able to take lots of interesting classes while still being able to hone my skills as an independent learner. The location (Baka, Jerusalem) is also a huge bonus.

What kind of goals do you have for the year?

My goals were to improve my reading and translating skills while learning, as well as to learn Halacha more in-depth so that I can better understand what I’m doing as I’m doing it.

What have been some of the highlights of your year so far?

I love how in this country, everything shuts down for chag and Shabbat, and you feel it in the atmosphere. The buses say Chag Sameach and Shana Tova, and the grocery clerk wishes you a “good Shabbos.” My biggest highlight thus far was going on a tiyul in the old city of Tzfat where my school had a concert in Rav Yosef Karo’s shul. The energy experienced during that chagiga—with 90 girls all singing and dancing—was the true definition of “ivdu et Hashem b’simcha.”

What is one of your favorite classes at MMY?

One of my favorite classes in MMY is my machshava class, called “Lachshov Machshavot,” taught by Rabbi Yitzchak Twersky. Each class, we learn a completely new twist or perspective on a classic idea, and I love how he connects seemingly random sources and yet ends up teaching an extremely interesting understanding of how all the sources connect and form into one idea that is considered a pillar of Jewish thought. Rabbi Twersky’s tefillah class is also one of my favorites.

What kind of challenges have you faced coming to Israel?

At home, I know where I am and am relatively good at navigating public transportation or walking to new places, but for some reason, in Israel I keep on getting lost, which hasn’t always been so fun. I also don’t speak Hebrew very well, so the language barrier is a bit difficult to get over.

How has your year been different from your expectations?

The transition was hard in the beginning. Having such long classes and getting adjusted to a different type of learning was a bit difficult. I was always just really tired, but after some time I’ve settled into a routine. Israeli culture is also way more fast paced from what I’m used to, so I’ve had to learn to keep up even if I don’t know where I’m going or what I’m doing.

What are some of your favorite activities to do during your free time?

In my free time, I like to take the opportunity to get in some extra learning about topics I don’t necessarily learn in class. I also just enjoy schmoozing with teachers and students who I don’t get a chance to hang out with during the day.

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

I went all the way up north of Chispin one Shabbat and it was beautiful. The people who live on the moshavim and yishuvim there live in the silence and beauty of northern Israel. I even got the opportunity to see a dairy farm on one of the moshavim and to climb on top of an old army bunker to take in an incredible view.

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

I’m looking forward to continuing to grow in my Torah and studies and my love of Israel. I’m also really excited for Yom Ha’atzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim.