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    CLASS OF 2015

    Why Leaving Class Angry is Good And Important

    There are times, more frequently than I’d like to admit, that I leave Shoresh angry.  It is not every week, but it does
    happen.  To be fair, it doesn’t take much to make me angry.  

    While leaving class fuming seems like a bad thing, it is not.  In fact it’s both good and important because it means
    that someone disagreed with me or challenged my views or values.  The angrier I leave, the more closely I hold the
    conviction that was challenged. MORE...

    This past year, I probably left the most angry after a discussion that was not directly related to the curriculum.  
    During the discussions of plans for Passover, someone mentioned MORE...

    I left angry.  My opinions were fundamentally challenged, I was forced to defend them, and I left riled up.  I had been
    introduced to a new idea, formulated an opinion, listened to other opinions, and defended my own opinion all within
    a small part of a class.  

    The informal and personal way in which opinions and ideas were able to flow candidly in the classroom are a clear
    demonstration of the Shoresh commitment to teaching more than just the material, but teaching interest.  To make
    me angry about a subject is to make me care about a subject.  I never thought I would ever care so much about an
    orange, but, here we are.

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    To See Torah in Different Ways

    “Stand by the roads and consider, inquire about ancient paths: Which is the road to happiness?” (Jeremiah 6:16).   
    G-d spoke these words to Jeremiah to be passed on to the people of Israel, but I think they are applicable today.

    Through my studies at Shoresh, I have learned to look at the teachings in this way: observe the past and learn from
    it. Even if we can’t all agree on who wrote the Torah, I think we can all agree that we are meant to learn from it.

    Shoresh has taught me that it is acceptable, even celebrated, for people to see the Torah in different ways.  I’ve
    found that I think of the Torah as a compilation of stories that are meant to teach us about our past. They teach us
    how to interact with other people, how to interact with G-d, and, generally, how to be a good person. So I see the
    Torah and the writings as the “ancient paths” that will show us the “road to happiness” for the future.

    In a broader sense, this passage from Jeremiah relates to our lives outside of Torah. What does happiness mean
    in this context? I believe this happiness can refer to a personal sense of fulfillment or to a sense of success for
    humankind. If we think of happiness in the personal sense, everyone has a different view of what happiness is and
    therefore a different road to achieving it. Each person will have to consider different paths already taken or not
    taken. Which one is right for you? But if we think of happiness in the context of the world, this is where the study of
    history becomes important. Why, for example, is it imperative that everyone learn about the Holocaust? So that we
    don’t repeat it.

    From my time at Shoresh, I have learned that the only way to find the road to happiness for everyone is to consider
    all those ancient paths that have either led to success or to failure. In order to ensure a happy, healthy, and safe
    future, we have to build upon and learn from the decisions made by our ancestors.

    I have come to appreciate the rocky history of our religion and our people. We have endured so much, yet we
    thrive today. I can now call upon teachings from the Mishnah when confronted with a question on Jewish law. In a
    way, Shoresh has showed me some of the ancient paths I will use to pave my own road to happiness, whatever that
    will mean in the future.
    The Shoresh Experience in our students' own words
Ulpan Ben Yehuda
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