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Mayanot Women’s Program Marks Two Years of Growth

College Students Drawn to Program of Academic Rigor in Spiritual Environment

Jerusalem, Israel

( Mayanot, a provider of Taglit-Birthright programs and Jewish learning ­initiatives for college-age students, celebrated the second anniversary of its Women’s Program at a dinner this week, at the Mayanot Synagogue in Rehavia.

For more than a decade, the Mayanot Men’s Program has provided high-level learning in an open-minded setting for students from diverse backgrounds. Two years ago, the Mayanot Institute of Jewish Studies opened an equivalent program for women. “It was clear that there was a demand for a similar track for women who wanted to engage in serious learning and, at the same time, be spiritually inspired,” says Rabbi Shlomo Gestetner, Dean of Mayanot. The school, he says, is unique in that it caters to College and Post-College students, and integrates “sophisticated, rigorous learning within a nurturing environment, conducive to spiritual growth.”

The program offers a combination of Talmud, Chumash and Chassidut classes, with the opportunity for students to participate in a range of extracurricular activities, including social action projects, excursions and Shabbatot at host families in Israel.

“It is very different from other programs,” says Naomi Faumon, a student in the 2010 program. “The program directors don’t expect that students will all be the same and they also recognize that we have diverse learning needs.” The program, she says, is geared both to students seeking text-based skills and those interested spiritual growth. “We are encouraged to find our own niche within the program.”

Enrollment numbers have shown steady growth, say program directors.

Rabbi Meir Levinger, Director of the Women’s Program says that the program’s popularity  proves that women are in fact interested in an environment that succeeds to blend  “intellectual rigor and spirituality,” and that the two are not mutually exclusive.

At the dinner, Mayanot recognized its major supporters, among them: Lead Investor Mr. George Rohr, Founding Chairman Rabbi Josef Gutnick, Chairman of the Board Mr. Yaakov Cohen, Guest of Honor Mrs. Susan Shapell and Board Member Mr. Mordechai Haller.


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