With guest blogger, Jared Feingold:
When planning out my summer six months ago, I was torn in two directions. My soul nurtured by years of yeshiva education demanded its due portion of my time, while the college environment at Johns Hopkins University espoused a summer internship as necessary to building towards a successful career. I knew that I needed to take time this summer to reinvigorate my davening and learning, but I felt strongly that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for valuable job experience. Thankfully, I found the OU-JLIC Summer in Jerusalem program. SIJ has addressed both of my goals, giving me a balanced summer full of both Torah learning and important work experience.
Working at BrainQ, at the Hebrew-U Givat Ram campus, has exposed me to the high-paced nature of Israeli start-up life. BrainQ is developing a unique treatment for stroke and spinal cord injury patients. Using AI to identify high resolution spectral patterns in EEG scans, BrainQ is able to customize an electromagnetic treatment protocol for individual patients. They were recently named by Google as one of the top-4 companies to change healthcare through artificial intelligence, and they have received positive clinical results. My fellow interns and I have been working on building BrainQ’s market strategy for their eventual movement into the US healthcare market, and hopefully the company will be able to take advantage of our work soon.
After a long day and the 45-minute commute back to Jerusalem’s Old City, I jump straight into the 2 hour gemara iyun shiur by Rav Schrader. Rav Schrader does an amazing job of teaching to all levels, keeping the shiur challenging but understandable. With his patented focus and intensity, Rav Schrader is able to elucidate the daily material in a clear and concise way. The Beit Midrash is popping late into the evening. Although official programming ends at 11 p.m, the kol torah continues until 12, when people finally go to bed to prepare for their internships the next day.
The SIJ program attracts the unique college student that is straddling both the professional and religious worlds. The participants are passionate and engaged, intent on taking advantage of every opportunity offered to them. Torah learning is approached with energy and appreciation, and meaningful conversations abound. Rabbi Elie and Miriam Schwartz (OU-JLIC educators at University of Maryland) are role models of a healthy, Torah-driven relationship to Judaism, and the madrichim, Jeremy and Yifat, are a constant logistical and existential support.
The OU-JLIC Summer in Jerusalem is a balanced program full of well-rounded people interested in growing in Torah and contributing to society through multiple pathways. We have been able to grow together, learn from each other, and I look forward to the rest of the summer together.
OU-JLIC’s Summer in Jerusalem Program is run in partnership with Orayta and World Mizrachi, with the generous support of Nefesh b’Nefesh.
Jared is a rising sophomore studying physics and computer science at Johns Hopkins University.