Testimonials

Ariella Newberger

Summer '16

“My start at Pardes goes back to when I was 18 and here in Israel. I was studying in a wonderful seminary but I came here for a day of learning with my sister and she brought me to Pardes. I remember how crazy normal it felt to be studying Jewish texts but not in a way that was meant to shape you into a certain direction and produce a certain kind of product that I knew my seminary was intending…I knew that I would eventually end up here. So Pardes has always held a seat in my head for the past, oh, at least 10 years. It feels amazing to actually be here, and it hasn’t disappointed at all because now I’m coming here as a Jewish educator who has a responsibility to convey Judaism as I see it in an authentic and knowledgeable way, and I can’t think of a better place to fortify you for that task than Pardes…in terms of the learning, I’ve kind of always assumed that I would never be able to find a Rebbe because I’m very feminist and I seem like a people-pleaser in many ways, but deep down I’m really tough to even please myself in certain intellectual ways, and I think I really found it in the form of Nechama Goldman Barash. From reacting personally and very emotionally to texts but then being able to come to someone who is so very knowledgeable and not judgmental about your reactions, and talk to her about the honest experience of what it means to be a Jewish woman who cares deeply about these texts and these traditions, but also the pain from them…that’s been an incredible part of this experience as well. To just be able to finally say, “yeah, that’s my Rebbe.”

Ariella Newberger, Manhattan, New York
Teacher at Solomon Schechter School of Westchester