TRY’s goal is not only to expose our students to life in Israel, but also to create a model Conservative Jewish kehilla (community). Students are given a variety of tools to create both a kehilla, on the program and to help them determine how to live their Jewish lives upon its completion. TRY has an emphasis on the following Jewish values:
תפילה Tefilla (prayer)
There are three daily minyanim (prayer services) on TRY which all students attend. The goals of tefilla are to teach students synagogue skills, to help students develop their spirituality, and to help students learn the meaning behind the prayers in the Jewish tradition. TRY has an emphasis on both traditional and creative tefillot, creating a balance between the Jewish values of kevah (fixed prayer) and kavana (intention during prayer).
As TRY is a Conservative program, kashrut is observed on it at all times. The dining hall on campus is strictly kosher, as is all food eaten on and off campus for special programs.
As a long-term program, TRY has the opportunity to present many different ways of observing Shabbat. When Shabbat is held on campus, students go out to local Jerusalem synagogues for Friday night and Saturday morning services, share three Shabbat meals as a group, have an oneg Shabbat filled with joyous singing, and have time to relax and enjoy the campus and their friends. There are also shabbatot held in religious communities (such as the Conservative Kibbutz Hanaton or staying teenagers’ homes in the town of Efrat), opportunities to be hosted by Masorti families in the Jerusalem area, and host shabbatot in which students visit family and friends throughout the country. Students are exposed to many different kinds of Shabbatot in Israel, and are encouraged to share their existing customs and traditions with the group as well as take home new ones.
חגים Chagim (Holidays)
TRY students experience a number of Jewish and Israeli holidays while on the program. TRY students take part in a Tu Bishvat seder and a Purim celebration complete with a costume parade, carnival, megilla readings, and mishloach manot. TRY students also participate in ceremonies marking Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) and Yom HaZikaron (Israel’s Memorial Day), the celebrations of Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day), and all-night learning and sunrise services for Shavuot. During Pesach, students go off to families and friends for Seder, and join the group for the remainder of the holiday, which includes a Sea to Sea hike and a stay on a Conservative kibbutz in the north. Some of the holiday celebrations are as a small group, others include our campus community, and yet others expand into the Jerusalem community (and beyond).