The timer is beeping, the phone is ringing, there is knocking at the front door and I don’t know where to turn first. I quickly dry my soapy wet hands and pick up the phone while turning off the flame under the chicken soup. I scurry to the door and peek through the peephole. Great timing! My friend, Ortal, has come to teach me how to do the six braid with the challah dough that is drooping over the top of the bowl on the countertop. It’s hard to believe that I am really making Shabbat in my own house!
My brother, Daniel, three years my senior, will be home in about two hours and I can’t wait to surprise him with all these traditional Shabbat delicacies that we are usually only treated to at our teachers’ homes. Daniel is largely responsible for helping me become religious. He had explored all the enticements of the great big world and was repulsed by it all. He sheltered me and showed me the value in all that we have been learning in school, Shuvu Rishon L’tzion.
Once my eyes were opened to appreciate the warmth and beauty of Judaism, I have not stopped craving learning and understanding more about it. Although 12 grade at Shuvu Beer Yaakov keeps me quite busy, I joined an evening seminary in Holon. Interestingly enough, it is run by another former Shuvu student, Mrs. Etty Moshayav. Over Chanukah I went along with nine friends to a seminar arranged by the Tzohar Organization. We barely ate or slept. We just jumped from lecture to lecture enjoying one more than the next.
My parents are not religious at all and they are not really on board with the whole idea. They would have pulled us out of Shuvu, but they do not want to give up the superior level of education that Shuvu offers. They have already resigned to the fact that our 8 year little sister, Shirael Esther, is already keeping Shabbat. My parents do respect Daniel and I because we are strong in our convictions.
I know that entering the “real world” will be somewhat scary. I don’t know where life will take me but I daven to Hashem with all my heart that I will get a good job so I will be capable of supporting my future husband in learning. As it stands now, my parents will not see eye to eye with us on this. Maybe one day my parents will come around the bend too. Hey, you never know– all we can do is pray!
Shuvu is now celebrating its 25th Anniversary since its founding in 1990 by Horav Avrohom Pam zt”l. Over that period there have been many challenges to overcome, but, also a tremendous amount of nachas as we see Rav Pam’s dreams being fulfilled. Matzav.com is proud to present a series of nachas stories told in first person by the participant themselves so that you can see for yourself what Shuvu has been able to accomplish with your help.