The Sweetness of the New Year;
The Sweetness of Torah
Published in Koach on Campus, Fall 2000
By Shoshana Winograd-Hutner
Student, Brown University in Providence, RI.
As we enter into the holiday season, we wish each
other a "Shanah Tovah U'metukah" (a good sweet year.)
This New Year, the memories of my summer in Israel
leave a sweet taste in my mouth. This summer I studied at the
Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem. I hope to
carry into the New Year the sweetness of the summer that still lingers
Learning at the Yeshiva was a wonderful experience.
Because the summer program was small we were able to create a real
learning community. We had two classes, one in Mishnah (a part of the
Talmud) and one on Parshat HaShavuah (the weekly Torah portion).
We studied in hevruta, groups of two or three
students, for an hour and a half and then we had a shiur, a class, for
another hour and a half. What is wonderful about the structure is that we
all had a chance to struggle with the material and figure it out in small
groups before coming together as an entire class.
The rabbis who taught us were very knowledgeable. The
shiur was always fascinating because the rabbis would add depth to what we
had figured out in chevruta. The shiur also gave us a chance to talk about
our opinions and compare them with the other students.
Studying in the Beit Midrash and hearing the noise
generated by all of the different groups arguing about the meaning of a
sentence in the Mishnah is such an amazing experience.
The thrill of figuring out a difficult sentence, or
the excitement of finding connections between the weekly parshah and a
story somewhere else in Tanakh is truly wonderful. What was even better
about studying at the Yeshiva is that everyone there was excited and
interested in the learning. We were learning simply for the sake of
All in all, it was a wonderful environment. I am
really looking forward to going back and studying for a full year at the
Yeshiva. The morning liturgy says "V'ha-arev na…et divrei toratekha b'finu…,"
"May the words of Torah be sweet in our mouths." The sweetness of this
summer is the perfect way to start the New Year. Shanah Tovah