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STUDENT REFLECTIONS

I attended Tzohar in its seventh year. Personally, it was a life changing year in many ways. Having been in a Bais Yaakov school for most of high school, Tzohar was the first time I learned Chassidus in a way that changed my perspective on Torah, giving my relationship with G-d so much more meaning and understanding. Through all the amazing teachers classes at Tzohar, each of us absorbing in our own ways, we received an incredibly deep foundation of knowledge in Judaism. It’s not just a year of learning, but an all encompassing experience that nurtures growth as a person. My year at Tzohar showed me that it’s not enough just to learn. It’s about what you do with the knowledge. How you make it yours, how you implement it in your life. I didn’t realize the power of art before I came to Tzohar. With the guidance of the arts faculty led by Mrs. G we experienced what it meant to go through the ups and downs of the creative process and to come out the other end with a new understanding of yourself, and with something real and beautiful to show for it. The impact of the presentations and the work that went into preparing for the projects we did was unforgettable and will always be with me. I was able to write music for the first time and explore a part of myself that I never would have otherwise. Pittsburgh will always feel like home, and I’m so grateful for the relationships and the memories I made in Tzohar.

- Sheva Lipsker, class of 2018

I didn’t always plan on going to seminary, but when I started considering it I knew exactly what I needed in a program: small, open to questions, close to home, diverse, and accepting. When I discovered Tzohar, I knew it would be all of these things and a great fit. I’m creative and I like writing, theater and singing, but I never thought of myself as an artist. That changed once I got to the magical land of Tzohar. I had found people like me, and by the end of my year there I was well on my way to finding myself. I had never dreamed of spending a year in a seminary that focused on both chassidus and creativity, but it was exactly what I needed. The dual curriculum, warm environment, brilliant teachers and friendly classmates were critical in helping me develop all aspects of my life and personality in ways that I had never been able to before. It was an incredible environment that fostered my growth as a Jew, an artist and a young woman. The year I spent at Tzohar, on the brink of the rest of my life, prepared me for the rest of my life in many ways. It gave my adult life a strong foundation in Yiddishkeit – both in knowledge and spirituality. It gave my artistic side a voice, validation, and instruction. And it provided me with friendships that still haven’t faded. And it My year at Tzohar Seminary had a profound effect on me then and I will continue to carry it with me for rest of my life.

- Avie Robbins, class of 2013
 

I came to Tzohar knowing that I enjoyed writing but having nothing more than some angsty poetry written in the back of my high school classroom to show for it. I left Tzohar with an acceptance letter to Stern College for Women and have since written for multiple magazines, small businesses, and agencies while pursuing a degree in journalism. I came in not very sure of where I was headed or what form I wanted my writing to take.  I left Tzohar with a new home with a new family and support system cheering me on, and I left with a better understanding of myself, my past, my Torah and my Rebbe, my writing, and my future. Our lives in seminary together paint a picture of a world where who you are is celebrated and who you want to become is attainable.  Tzohar is still a significant part of me. I especially find it in the ease with which I’ve entered the secular creative world while still proudly maintaining my Jewish identity. Not only can these two parts of me coexist, but they can and do infuse one another. Tzohar was the beginning of my career as a writer and I feel so blessed to have started that path in a place of Torah and truth.

- Miriam Herst, class of 2012

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