Meet a Few of Our Married Couples
Michael and Devora Avrukin 2011
Learning at Darche Noam was one of the foundation blocks of our marriage. Not only did it influence who we are as Jews and community members, but who we are as spouses to each other. By investing in building our Jewish identity at Darche Noam, we created a pivotal bedrock upon which to build a family. In addition, as alumni of Darche Noam, we understand ow vital each individual is to building a Jewish community, and we take that responsibility very seriously. We are to grateful for the time we were able to spend in Israel.
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Amittai and Julianne Steindler 2009-2010
We came to know about Shapell’s from a teacher in seminary who thought we would benefit from learning in yeshiva and urged us to consider full time learning in Israel during our shana rishona. She thought Shapell’s would be perfect for us because of their married couples program. Amittai had friends who were already learning there were enjoying the learning.
We moved into the Yeshiva’s couples apartment two months after getting married. The entire staff welcomed us and helped us get adjusted. We worked as kitchen managers for shabbatonim to help with parnassa. As soon as Elul started we made loads of friends right away with other young couples, and hosted shabbos meals for them along with all the bachurim.
We felt like we were an extended family and sharing in an amazing communal experience. As soon as the learning started we both felt that we were exactly where we needed to be -after having spent time at other learning institutions and never really finding our place. At Shapell’s we learned to balance a religiously observant life while living in the real world. We both loved our teachers and were so impressed by the amount of Torah they all offered.
At the end of the year we were transformed into more learned and balanced people and we were zoche to bring a baby into the world -home to our yeshiva apartment. It couldn’t have been a holier experience.
We are so grateful to the Rabbeim for helping us become the type of Jews we want to be and also to the alumni committee for helping us get settled in our new home outside of Eretz Yisroel.
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Baruch and Ariella Rubin 2006-2008
We decided to begin living a traditional Jewish lifestyle when we became engaged in 2003. After spending a year in Michigan working and going to school, we decided to spend a year in Israel learning and connecting to our Jewish roots. Thinking ahead, we applied to the program at Darche Noam a few years in advance as we were in the midst of work and school at the time. Two years later with an 11 week old baby we headed off to Jerusalem.
We decided on the couples program because we wanted to be connected to one community of teachers and students. We had met with Rabbi Shiruin and Rabbi Shoshan and liked what they had to say. We were excited about the opportunity to meet other couples. This was a unique opportunity in Israel that was not offered by anyone else.
Being able to spend our time learning in Israel has been a tremendous opportunity. As we spend more time connecting ourselves to Torah, its depth only continues to increase. There is no substitute for full time learning, time in Israel, and having teachers pass along the inner depth that lies behind and inside the texts. Torah is truly learned from person to person, from heart to heart and we are blessed to have time to be sponges at this stage in our lives.
Having a baby in Israel is great. It is a very baby friendly place. A good stroller is a must and finding child care is a necessity if both halves want to learn in a serious way. We have been able to find everything we need here, especially, time to be bonding as a young family. The other students at the yeshiva give lots of love and affection to our son, like many uncles and aunts who pinch cheeks whenever they get the chance.
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Rod and Tova Jussim 2006-2008
While dating, we spent much of our time talking about our values, trying to decipher if our spiritual path was “in sync”. It became clear relatively early, that although we had both had bits and pieces of yeshiva experiences, neither one of us had really taken the “leap” and committed to full time learning for a long period of time. We kept discussing the process, but the reality of quitting our jobs and going to Israel for a year became both a dream and a necessity. How could we build a healthy marriage and raise children to value learning if we ourselves had not role modeled this behavior?
So, a few months after marriage, we packed up all of our things in Passaic, NJ, quit our jobs and headed for the holy land. From the very beginning, it was very clear that we wanted to be at Darche Noam. We knew many alumni who shared with us the commitment to textual learning at both Shapell’s and Midreshet Rachel. We knew that we both wanted to learn-that was not negotiable. Knowing that we would be learning with the same Rabbis, socializing with other couples, taking special couples shiurim, participating in special shiurim for married women and men-these perks put Darche Noam over the top. Often friends would say-why don’t you stay in America and learn? Going to Darche Noam was twofold-the opportunity to start our marriage in a Torah environment where we could BOTH learn and the ability to do it in Israel. Since we have been here it has been amazing-our relationship has grown since we have centered our lives on Torah learning. We only hope we can continue this growth when we no longer have the privilege to learn full time!
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Gavriel and Devorah Lewin 2004-2006Gavriel, grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana and came to Darche Noam after teaching for 2 years in the inner-city schools in St. Louis, Missouri, as part of Teach For America. Devorah, grew up in Santa Barbara, California and came to study at Midreshet Rachel after completing law school at UC Berkeley. Both were drawn to Darche Noam by its diverse faculty, its emphasis on fostering independence in learning and its focus on developing the whole Jew.
The two were introduced by mutual Rabbeim and were married in Jerusalem. After their wedding, they continued learning in the married couples program, a decision that enabled them to begin their marriage immersed in Torah and surrounded by their mentors. “We are indebted to Darche Noam not only for introducing us, but also for giving us the building blocks to create a home and raise a family dedicated to Torah and mitzvot.”
The Lewins currently live in Baltimore, Maryland, where Gavriel is a secular studies teacher at Yeshivat Rambam and Devorah is a real estate lawyer.
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Daniel and Shoshana Citron 2002-2004
Within weeks of getting married in 2003, we were living and learning in Darche Noam. Immediately on becoming engaged we had submitted our application, with a very, very long cover letter, knowing that Darche Noam was the perfect environment to start off and nurture our marriage. As a bochur in the yeshiva I had seen a number of couples successfully begin a beautiful marriage in Darche Noam.
Despite the fact that the standard of learning in Darche Noam is unsurpassed and the Rabbonim are truly excellent, we did consider other yeshivas, mainly because I had already completed 2 years in Darche Noam. However, the total package that Darche Noam offers a married couple is impossible to beat for couples like us (despite the fact that back in our day no stipend was paid!). Darche Noam is a community, the Rabbis, their famililies, the bochurim etc. are all one big family. Such a strong caring support network is really key for a new couple who have left their families behind in chutz la’aretz. Having said that, two of my brothers had chosen to study in the yeshiva at the same time as me and rumours were that the Irish were taking over! We particularly enjoyed the contrast between the privacy we had in our simple but perfect apartment and the interaction we could choose to have with the bochurim during ‘In Shabboses’ etc. The Yeshiva’s tolerance of all forms of Torah Judaism matched our Hashkafa and we naturally gravitated to a few of the Rabbanim whose derech we admired and wished to emulate. In addition the Yeshiva offered a number of married couples and first year of marriage shiurim which were full of Torah wisdom applicable to building a solid Torah marriage.
Before arriving, Shoshana had just finished a teaching qualification in London and before that she had attended a number of seminaries with various hashkafas. Midreshet Rachel gave her an opportunity to improve her learning skills, exploring new texts and develop close friendships.
All in all, Darche Noam gave us the perfect environment to build the foundations of our marriage in a supportive, Torah focused environment. The amount that we developed in that time was a product of the effort we put in, however the Darche Noam experience certainly helps a couple maximize growth in observance and midot.
We decided to return to London in time for me to get a job before our first child was born. We promised everybody we’d return to Eretz Yisroel within 3 years although we felt that 5 years was more realistic! B”H I found a job almost immediately and within 3 years we have managed to move back to Eretz Yisroel currently living in Beit Shemesh near Rabbi Silverberg and Rabbi Aaronson.
We thank Darche Noam and its staff for all they have given us including this wonderful experience.
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Amos and Ellen Levi 1990
By the time Ellen and Amos met in graduate school, Israel was already a core component of their Jewish experience. They frequently spoke about previous time spent in Israel and how amazing it would be to go back and spend time there as a couple. After they married and settled in Cleveland, Ohio, their spiritual journey together continued. During their second year there, an opportunity arose for Amos to lead a student Israel trip (a precursor to Birthright Israel). Ellen’s employer, the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland, sent her to Israel for a professional conference at the same time. On the plane ride home, Ellen said that she didn’t want to be one of those people who always look back and say “it would have been nice if we had…”. If they wanted to learn in Israel, then they should be doing so. Within two weeks, their minds were made up. The choice of Darche Noam was a “no brainer.” They wanted to be in a place where they could grow together and be guided by the same teachers. They wanted an experience where they could deepen their textual skills and appreciate the complexity and diversity of the frum world. They loved having the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with many of the same teachers and rabbis both in and outside of the classroom. Today their time at Darche Noam continues to impact them as individuals, as a couple, and as a family every day.
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