We span the globe!
Our student body for the 5783 academic year is comprised of 31 first year students from the Southern Hemisphere, who began their studies in February, joining the Northern Hemisphere group comprising 96 North American and European students.
I am Edan Green. I’m originally from Los Angeles where I attended Valley Torah Girls High School. When I began my search to find the right fit of Midrasha for me, I felt quite clueless and intimidated. When he visited LA for recruitment, Rav Susman explained the approach of HaRova - one that is multi-dimensional. He spoke of the Yom Kippur programming and I was intrigued by the unique idea of the day being filled with celebration, soulful singing and joy. He gave me perspective as to what the HaRova community was really about.
I chose HaRova because I was searching for understanding and intellect when it came to Judaism and laterally so, a sense of depth and meaning within practice. HaRova provided me not only a variety of Torah lifestyle presented among the diverse staff and student body, but through this diversity, conviction and love I was given the tools to develop personal ideals and independent strength of thought.
I am exceptionally proud to have been a student of Midreshet HaRova and continuously live in gratitude for the moments, lessons and experiences shared. I still keep in close contact with my friends and mentors I met in my year of Midrasha. Inspired by the gratitude of the land, the love of Torah truth and respect of Am Yisrael, I realize now that HaRova taught me what everything I was doing was for. This community located in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem introduced me to myself, the real me and how internal everything I was searching for really is.
I greatly attribute my recent Aliyah to Midreshet HaRova. After attending the 2019-2020 year, I went back to Los Angeles in March due to Corona and returned home in July on Aliyah due to Divine miracles. My family joined me in Aliyah to Israel, where I spent a year volunteering through Sherut Leumi and now attend University at Bar Ilan. I hope to pursue a degree in Education so that I too can share the light Midreshet HaRova taught me to look for.
My name is Eliora Habshush and I grew up in New York. After attending Midreshet Shalhevet high school, I spent an incredible year at Midreshet HaRova in 5773 (2012-2013).
I chose to study at HaRova because of the many options of shiurim as well as other opportunities like volunteering and art classes. Meeting people from around the world was something I was excited about. And, of course, living in the Old City won me over.
I view my year at HaRova as a foundation, the experience that I keep growing from. During that year, I came to love Torah and Judaism on a deeper level and really made them my own. There were ups and downs, clarity and confusion, accomplishments and challenges, but through those times I was able to grow. I learned a lot about myself and have so much HaKarat HaTov to Midreshet HaRova and the staff for giving me the tools and support throughout.
Singing is something I've always loved and at HaRova we sang a lot. I came to realize that song is the language of my soul, and singing with HaRova girls is the ultimate experience.
HaRova had brought to the surface my deep love for Eretz Yisrael, and I was shocked to find out that in other Midrashot the love of the land was not emphasized as much. Upon completing my wonderful year at HaRova, I went back to New York to study math at Queens College. I knew I would make Israel my home one day, and nothing was going to stop me. During my college years, I would fly to Israel during vacation and visit the Midrasha and attend Shiurim. I never once doubted that I would make Aliyah, the only question was when would be the right time for me. It was very clear that the time had come when I was on one of my visits to Israel and a few hours before my returning flight to New York I received the phone call of an offer for the actuarial job I had interviewed for in Tel Aviv. I recall responding, "I happily accept and will be back in three months!" That's exactly what I did. I lived in Givat Shmuel for three years and recently moved to Yerushalayim, continuing to work as an actuary.
HaRova remains open to its alumni, which is not the case for other places. I still feel at home walking through the Rova and into the Midrasha building. I know that I am always welcome to visit and catch up with rabbis and teachers. Nothing can compare to Yom Kippur at HaRova. Thank you HaRova for constantly helping me on my journey through life!
Yafit Neiman Felsenstein
I am from Queens, New York originally, and attended Central, the Yeshiva University High School for Girls. I came to Midreshet HaRova for the 2008/9 year, and continued in Shana Bet in fall of 2009. I was blessed to work for HaRova as the Eim Bayit for 2 years.
Harova to me is emet, a family and a home of emet. I learned from people who live what they believe and what they preach people who value Torah in the way in which they live. I have been in close touch with my teachers for over 13 years now as I truly feel they are my family, my guides in life. They gave and continue to give me a foundation upon which I live my life religiously and far beyond in my interaction with my own family, friends, choices, career and more. I am eternally grateful for the family, the strong roots, the love and all the priceless impacts my HaRova family has had on me. I am grateful my bubble crossed HaRova's bubble in the stream of life.
My name is Alana Reichenberg, and I am from Boca Raton, Florida. I grew up in Florida and had the pleasure of attending Weinbaum Yeshiva High School. After high school I attended Midreshet HaRova for Shana Alef and Shana Bet from 2013-2015 (5774-5775).
HaRova gave me a new perspective on life and meaning. It was the first independence I received and the first time I had the opportunity to delve into Torah fully. HaRova is filled with diversity which led me to some of the greatest friends and people I know.
After HaRova, I attended Stern College for Women with a major in Biology and a minor in business management, which then led me to my Masters at the Katz School for Biotechnology Management and Entrepreneurship. Currently, I work as a housing manager and covid coordinator for Yeshiva University and use the skills I learnt throughout my education to help others achieve success.
Abby (Rahmanfar) Lorkis
Hi! My name is Abby Rahman (now Lorkis). I’m originally from Brooklyn, NY and went to Central for high school. I attended Midreshet HaRova 5778/ 2017-2018.
I’m simply grateful I ended up in HaRova. I ultimately chose HaRova for their array of thought-provoking classes, the once in a lifetime opportunity to live in the Old City, and for their diversity of students. It was all that and much more. I got to experience so many special events throughout the year just by living in the Old City - selichot by the kotel, Kabbalat Shabbat multiple times a month, army ceremonies and more. I got to witness all kinds of Jews and gentiles flock to the holiest place in the world on a daily basis, to connect to God and to one another. I get to forever say that the Old City is my home.
For the first time, my Jewish studies were invigorating! The Tanach and Gemara came alive through the passion and wisdom of our talented teachers. I learned Jewish thought and philosophy, being challenged to rethink what I thought in order to come closer to genuine knowledge and truth. I felt connected to my essence as a jew, through my teachers and Torah learning, and through traveling our Holy Land. HaRova took us on many trips throughout our beautiful country, showing us our inseparable history and connection to the land. The friends I made at HaRova are lifetime friendships, a sisterhood based on shared values and ideals. HaRova has inspired in me a lifetime dedication to Judaism, Torah learning, and Israel. It gave me the tools to develop a deep love and commitment to my personal relationship with Hashem, my Torah and my people.
Since my Shana Aleph, I attended Stern College for one semester and dropped out to come back to Israel. I felt that if I truly want to make aliyah a reality, it would be best for me to start planting my roots now, by immersing myself in the culture, learning Hebrew and studying in an Israeli university. After a few months of working, ulpan and figuring out my path, I decided to go to Bar Ilan and study in their Social Work program. For 2 years, I lived in Givat Shmuel with amazing roommates - HaRova friends that have become sisters. I recently got married here in Israel (woohoo!) and I’m completing my last year of my degree BH.
I am Leah Mitchell, from Sydney, Australia. Before coming to HaRova for MTA 2018 I attended Kesser Torah College and Masada College.
I chose Harova because of its fantastic reputation for quality of learning, scope of classes, multi-nationality, and incredible teachers. Additionally, I wanted to attend a Midrasha that would accommodate Southern Hemisphere timings, whilst being on the Bnei Akiva program MTA.
HaRova helped define my religious identity moving into my post-school phase of life. It showed me the scope of perspectives even within Orthodoxy and connected me with amazing teachers and role models. I also gained lifelong friends and a year of incredible memories.
HaRova reignited a love of Jewish learning in me and inspired me to appreciate the process and development of Halacha throughout the ages. It taught me to look for my own answers and led me to incredible teachers who both inspired and challenged me. HaRova also helped me to redefine life as an observant woman in the modern world. It has given me both fantastic learning skills and great knowledge base, as well as deepened my love of Israel.
Since I left Harova, 3 years ago now, I have volunteered as a madricha at Bnei Akiva Sydney, including one year on the leadership board as Vice Director. I have done marketing internships and am currently about to complete a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Marketing.
Hi! I’m Jenna Kershenbaum, and I am from Teaneck, New Jersey. After graduating from the Frisch School, I spent the 2013-2014 (5774) year studying at Midreshet HaRova. Those ten months of my life are among the most meaningful, and they made such an impact on my life that I have chosen to live in Israel. Aside from taking advantage of the opportunity to learn “l’shma,” my year at HaRova enabled me to gain the necessary tools I needed in order to define my Judaism.
Immediately upon returning from my year in Israel, I began my studies at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. Because of the solid foundation that was built during my year at HaRova, I was able to successfully navigate my way through both personal and religious challenges. HaRova served as a sort of guiding compass for me during my years at university, and I am so grateful for the role it has played in my life.
I graduated from Rutgers in May 2018 with majors in History and Jewish Studies, as well as a certification in Public History. I currently live in Jerusalem with my husband, and I work at Yad Vashem on their development team.
Yocheved Sadek Stroll
Hi! My name is Yocheved (Sadek) Stroll. I’m originally from Teaneck, NJ and now have the privilege of living in Rechavia, Jerusalem with my husband.
I’m currently studying education at Michlala Jerusalem in Bayit Vagan, and hope to pursue a career in Teaching English.
I went to HaRova for shana aleph and shana bet from 2016-2018. My experience at HaRova completely changed the course of my life! For starters, some of my best friends today are people I met at HaRova (not only students!! Staff members too!). My time at HaRova was also when I decided that I wanted to live in Israel long-term. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have attended Midreshet HaRova because it truly gave me the confidence and ability to set a direction for my life which enables me to be my best self.
Justine (Brozin) Seeff
My name is Justine (Brozin) Seeff and I am from Johannesburg, South Africa. I went to Yeshiva College school from grades 1-12. I attended HaRova in 2001 as well as shana bet for a few months in 2002: 5761/5762.
Post high school I went on a co-ed gap year program called MTA (Midreshet, Torah V'Avodah) run by Bnei Akiva South Africa. All the girls on this program went to Midreshet HaRova and so I was blessed, Besiyata Dishmaya, to attend HaRova.
My year after school at HaRova quite literally changed my life. I had planned to attend a less religious gap year program which was serendipitously cancelled. I grew up in a traditional South African Jewish home with a big emphasis on family togetherness. We celebrated Shabbos and Chagim in a very warm and cozy way with delicious food, great company and beautiful memories. We always kept kosher at home but it wasn't until MTA and my experiences at HaRova that I decided I wanted to keep Kosher exclusively, even when I went out to restaurants. In my year at HaRova I learnt about the importance of tznius and I made the decision to stop wearing pants. In my experience, the year after high school is the most formative and important year. It set me on a path that guided the course of my life. Notwithstanding the incredible shiurim and holy location of HaRova in the Old City of Jerusalem, for me, the greatest impact and inspiration came from being exposed to and nurtured by the Rabbi's, teachers, madrichot and my fellow students. Twenty years later, I am still in awe of them and the way in which they choose to live their lives - with purpose, with meaning, with a sincere belief and dedication to Israel and their Jewish values and ideals. To attend HaRova is a privilege that cannot be taken lightly. It is something that has to be experienced in order to be fully appreciated. It is to feel an overwhelming love for Eretz Yisrael, Am Yisrael and Torat Yisrael!
After leaving HaRova, I got a BA in Marketing and Communications from UJ (University of Johannesburg). I did my honours in Brand leadership at Vega. Throughout studying I was involved with kiruv as a madricha for Bnei Akiva as well as for the DIJE (Division of Informal Jewish Education). I worked in marketing for Disney South Africa and then decided to resign in order to volunteer in Israel at The One Family Fund (assisting victims of terror) and as a rakezet (coordinator) for Taglit Birthright. After coming back to South Africa I took up the role of marketing manager for the Johannesburg Chevrah Kadisha (Jewish welfare organization) where I helped rebrand the organization. I married my husband Antony and after having our first child, Sara, I stopped working full time and focused on raising our family. Today TG, Ant and I are blessed with 3 kids. I work part time as a brand consultant as well as a philanthropic advisor.
The photo shows my husband Antony and I and our children Sara Basha, Dov Moshe and Noa Leah.