With guest blogger, Max Gruber:
I am immensely grateful to OU-JLIC’s Summer in Jerusalem program for giving me the opportunity to grow on a religious, professional, and social level. Each morning I begin my day with a minyan of dedicated college students from around the world who care deeply about their religious commitments. Following Shacharit, I walk to my internship nearby in the JVP Media Quarter Building and am greeted warmly by my co-workers. I am the Business Development Intern for a start-up company called Inpris, which has developed an in-car infotainment system that does not require drivers to take their eyes off the road. My work includes market research, analysis of competitors, and strengthening their public relations. I now have an understanding of the Israeli workforce, and what it entails. My work includes market research, analysis of competitors, and strengthening their public relations.
Walking back from work to my cozy apartment in the Old City of Jerusalem is spiritually uplifting; I try to cherish each day I have walking along these stony paths, in which many historic moments of Jewish History have taken place. After our communal Minchah, the learning program begins. I decided to primarily dedicate my learning time this summer to Tanach, in order to strengthen my connection to the basic teachings and values of Judaism.
Because of Miriam Schwartz’s shiur on the five Megillot, I have found meaning and enjoyment in learning Tanach, and am determined to continue learning after the program ends. In class, we discuss the characters, themes, and language of the text in a discussion led by Miriam, who keeps the conversation engaging with her insights and constant effort to keep the class involved. Our classroom is a space where we feel comfortable sharing ideas, asking questions, and challenging our classmate’s (and even our teacher Miriam’s) opinions and assumptions of the text.
In the weeks before Tishah B’Av, our class learned about Megillat Eicha and its relevance to our lives today. I was asked to introduce Perek Bet to the entire group, and successfully helped the community connect to Yirmiyahu’s heartfelt words on the tragic day. Reading Megillat Eicha as a group a few hundred feet away from Har Habayit (the Temple Mount) the night of Tisha B’Av was an experience that I will never forget.
The entire program was filled with impactful moments and meaningful memories, whether it was hiking with Rabbi Menachem Liebtag overlooking the beautiful landscape of Israel, working with start-up companies that are healing the world, and connecting deeply to G-d and His Torah through learning with passionate, world-class Jewish educators. Spending the summer with the Summer in Jerusalem program has deepened my connection to the Jewish People and has inspired me to be a Jewish leader wherever I go.
OU-JLIC’s Summer in Jerusalem Program is run in partnership with Orayta and World Mizrachi, with the generous support of Nefesh b’Nefesh.
Max is a junior at Yeshiva University majoring in Business Intelligence and Marketing Analytics.