Yeshiva University Students Enhance Shavuot Celebrations in Communities Across North America and the United Kingdom
This Shavuot, more than 70 Yeshiva University students traveled to 17 communities across North America and the United Kingdom to share their love of Torah and enliven holiday celebrations as part of the Aaron and Blanche Schreiber Torah Tours.
“Every chag we are impressed with our students who take of their time and energy to go out and learn, grow and inspire another Jewish community in need,” said Naomi Kohl, director of the office of student life on the Israel Henry Beren Campus. “This year in particular, only a few days after finals the students prepared exciting and meaningful shiurim [lectures] and programs and brought them on the road with their YU spirit to communities all over for Shavout.”
Stern College for Women sophomore Yael Blau’s team traveled to Merrick, New York. “I had always heard about Torah Tours and was excited to have the opportunity to participate in the program,” she said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. All the people we met were so friendly and welcoming. It was beautiful to see how the everyone in the community came together for a huge oneg [celebration], and I loved being a part of it. I am already planning to visit Merrick next year.”
Rachel Fried and her teammates were touched by the warmth and hospitality of the community they visited in Columbus, Ohio. “Joining Torah Tours this Shavuot was a wonderful opportunity for the four of us to get to know a community outside our own, work on our skills, and reach out to the greater Jewish community, all while having a really fun time,” she said. “It was a humbling experience and an empowering one. I can’t wait to join Torah Tours for future chagim as well.”
“It was an unbelievable experience to be involved in the leil [night of] Shavuot all-night learning program in our community, in which we had the opportunity to give shiurim to the adults as well as spending meaningful time with the teens and youth of the community,” said Stern College student Devorah Meisels, whose group traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “Our group gave shiurim ranging from topics such as the lessons we can learn from fidgetspinners to the themes of Har Habayit, Yerushalayim, and Eretz Yisrael and how they converge on aliyah l’regel [traveling to the Temple in Jerusalem for the holidays], as well as running thought provoking games such as the Jewish Future Game. It was extremely inspiring for us to see that the youth of the community were enthusiastic about staying up all night to learn Torah, engaging us in deep conversation, and even bursting out into an impromptu kumzits after the Gala Barbecue at 2:45 in the morning.”
For Hedva Tirschwell ’17S, her trip to Charleston, South Carolina, was her second Torah Tours experience; she initially signed up for the program because she wanted an opportunity to share the Torah she had learned as an undergraduate with new communities.
“From the Torah slam to the night of learning to a cheesecake competition and Torah on the lakeside, Shavuot in Charleston had it all, and we were able to become a part of an amazing community to enhance their Shavuot experience with youth programming and divrei Torah,” Tirschwell said. “The chagim give us an amazing opportunity to enhance our relationship with God, our families, and other Jews throughout the world, and there is no better opportunity to accomplish this than Torah Tours.”
Her teammate, Yeshiva College junior Ezra Felder, was also moved by the experience. “I feel like I’m walking away with a sense of community and nationhood that is even bigger than before,” he said.