Darche Noam welcomes new Silvian Foundation Married Fellows

Newlyweds Matan and Kayla Zucker will leave their full-time jobs to come to Jerusalem and study to Torah for a year.

Kayla and Matan Zucker, the new Silvian Foundation Married Couples Fellow. Credit: Courtesy of Shapell’s/Darche Noam.
Kayla and Matan Zucker, the new Silvian Foundation Married Couples Fellow. Credit: Courtesy of Shapell’s/Darche Noam.

Shapell’s/Darche Noam and Midreshet Rachel v’Chaya (MRC) are proud to announce that Matan and Kayla Zucker have been awarded the third Slomo and Cindy Silvian Foundation Married Couples Fellowship. They will begin their studies in June, just before Shavuot, a most fitting time for this newlywed couple to begin their intensive Torah studies.

College basketball devotees may recognize Matan as the 2023 captain of the Yeshiva University basketball team. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2022 Skyline Championship and the All-District Team in 2023.

But Matan, who at 6 feet 4 inches will presumably be Shapell’s tallest student, knows that he needs more than just that short stay in a yeshiva in order to go to the next level in his Jewish growth.

“I never had a real formal Jewish education where all I did was focus on Torah. I know that a year of committing to learning in Israel will enhance my life tremendously,” said Matan. “I believe that a year in the Married Couple’s Program will be an investment in our future. I am leaving my full-time job in pursuit of learning because I believe it is more important for the life I want to live. I have gaps in my Jewish education, and attending Shapell’s will be the kick start I need to reach new heights in my learning.”

Kayla is also a star both in Jewish growth and leadership. The daughter of Persian immigrants to the United States, she grew up in a traditional home and went to Jewish day school for elementary school. After graduating public high school, she attended the Bar Ilan XP gap-year program. She credits that program with saving her Jewish life and enabling her to choose for herself to be a committed Orthodox Jew.

This led to her changing college plans and studying at Stern College (of Yeshiva University) where she studied Torah and majored in psychology. Later Kayla helped start a branch of Moishe House, assisted with a program for homeless New Yorkers, started work with the Friends of the IDF … and met Matan who quickly impressed her as someone who was focused on his love for G-d and Jewish growth.

Matan and Kayla were recently married. They are leaving full-time jobs to come to Jerusalem and spend a year learning Torah and growing together as a couple. Matan will study at Shapell’s and Kayla at Midreshet Rachel V’Chaya, and, together, they will participate in special programs designed for young married couples who will serve as future leaders in the Jewish community.

The Silvian Foundation Fellowship, awarded in partnership with American Friends of Darche Noam, will provide them with full tuition, half board and subsidized housing for their time in our yeshiva and midrasha.

Like the Jewish people at Mount Sinai, Matan and Kayla are truly of one heart and one mind ready to accept the Torah and devote their lives to building their Jewish family and the Jewish community.

“The first year of marriage is where the foundation is created and having mutual teachers and mentors who can guide us cohesively, especially given our drastically different upbringing, is vital. We want to live a Torah life,” said Kayla. “We want to build a strong foundation for our marriage. We want to inspire the people around us. We want to raise our children in a religiously observant and loving household. We both know that there is one place where we will be given the proper time, space and guidance to achieve all that and that is at the Shapell’s and MRC Married Couple’s Program.”

Matan added, “We aim to come out of Shapell’s and MRC with an even deeper connection to Torah, along with a passion and ability to inspire young Jews to grow in their Judaism.”

The Slomo and Cindy Silvian Foundation memorializes the Long Beach, N.Y.. couple who were well known and respected for their friendship, business leadership, civic-mindedness, and their philanthropy. Shapell’s/Darche Noam and American Friends of Darche Noam are grateful for the foundation’s support and proud to again be one of the many important organizations it so generously supports.

Matan and Kayla are also profoundly grateful. As Kayla said, “We are beyond grateful for the Silvian Foundation providing us this once in a lifetime opportunity. We cannot thank them enough for helping us develop in our Torah studies and marriage. With their assistance, we will strive to build and inspire Jewish homes wherever they may be!”

For more information about Shapell’s/Darche Noam and Midreshet Rachel v’Chaya, please visit www.darchenoam.org.

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In the heart of Jerusalem, Shapell’s / Darché Noam and its affiliates: Yeshivat Darche Noam/ David Shapell College of Jewish Studies, Midreshet Rachel v’Chaya Women’s College of Jewish studies, Married Couples Program, Executive Learning and the Jack E. Gindi Pathways Israel programs provide expert Torah study and instruction together with responsible guidance in spiritual growth. We have been changing lives and impacting communities for over 45 years. True to our vision of Deracheha Darché Noam, we aim to help Jewish young adults develop in their own way while fostering a deep respect for different ways to be a Torah Jew.
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