At all key stages of the Torah-study journey—from the gap year in Israel to college and synagogue communities—the common thread is that the journey never ends.
Yet after English-speaking high school graduates from the Diaspora complete a year (or more) of yeshivah study or seminary in Israel, their Torah journey often reaches a crossroads at which they face defining questions and choices.
- Do I remain in Israel or return to my home country?
- If I stay in Israel, what are my options for a high-quality college education?
- How can I continue my Torah learning while pursuing a college degree?
- Where can I comfortably engage in both academic and Judaic studies in English?
It can be quite daunting to answer these questions, even in the absence of a war in Israel, which makes matters even more complex.
At the same time, it is incumbent upon Diaspora students to strive for answers. They must not give up on the dream of living, learning and growing in Israel. This is because the center of the Jewish future for Hebrew-speakers, English-speakers or speakers of any language is in Israel. The rising tide of antisemitism in the United States and around the world has made that unmistakably clear.
This is precisely why the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) is offering a new option to such students by bolstering its English-language Torah study environment. For more than 50 years, JCT has staked its reputation on excellence in technology, engineering and business education for both Israeli and international students. The college has also been a place where students can successfully navigate the often-elusive balance between academics and Torah study despite a jam-packed schedule for those who are prioritizing both disciplines.
Nevertheless, substantial challenges have persisted for many English-speaking international students who want to remain in Israel and are looking for ways to earn a college degree while continuing their Torah learning and Torah growth at a single institution. With Rabbi Shalom Rosner joining Machon Lev (JCT’s campus for men) as the new head of English Judaic studies, the college will provide a unique solution by expanding its shiurim (“lectures”) and overall Judaic-studies program in English.
In doing so, we are creating a home for English-speaking college students that enables them to simultaneously earn a prestigious degree and continue their growth in Torah study while remaining in Israel. They will have access to everything they would expect from a high-quality yeshiva program and will continue their Torah growth even after leaving full-time Torah-study environments.
Once again, the Torah-study journey never ends. It should be viewed as a continuum that extends beyond the walls of the beit midrash, wherever students continue their learning and wherever life takes them.
Through continuity in their journey, young adults will play their part in enriching the collective Jewish future.