Hannah Kaplun, Ridgewood, New Jersey
Ridgewood High School
Machon Maayan 2018-2019
Why did you choose to attend Machon Maayan?
I chose to attend Machon Maayan because I felt that it would be the best option for me. Coming from public school, I had practically no Jewish education, and so I wanted to find a place where I would be able to keep up with the classes, but also be challenged. I also really like the diversity of the girls that Machon Maayan attracts. Coming here, I knew I wouldn’t be the odd one out who didn’t grow up religious or go to a Jewish school.
What’s one thing that you learned this week?
We had a guest speaker who talked about the Jewish communities in Africa. He spoke about the evolution of the communities, and even how some have come to Judaism on their own. The community in Madagascar learned how to lain from the internet. Many other communities have very few sfarim, yet they are able to learn so much. It was so inspiring to hear about communities who have very little, yet fight so hard to keep Judaism alive.
What was one time that you felt proud to be Jewish?
Every year, CTeen has an international shabbaton in February. Motzei Shabbat, they have havdallah and a concert on the red steps in Time Square. The whole area shuts down, just for CTeen. They even have everything live on the huge screens, including the American Eagle one! It’s incredible experiencing havdallah, and singing “Am Yisroel Chai!” in Time Square. Being surrounded by over 2,000 Jewish teens from all walks of life, and all different countries is just incredible.
Where is your favorite place in Israel?
I love the Old City, and the beach/board walk of Tel Aviv.