Rachel Dingman

Summer '14, PCJE '15-'16

Pardes trips are such an important part of being in the Pardes Experiential Educators Program (PEEP). The Negev tiyul was an incredible, hands-on practice in experiential education. I observed my teachers in the field bringing learning to life, I saw Hebrew leap from the pages of text into modern vocabulary and I participated fully in the trip’s Jewish communal life.

Whether on the bus or on a hike, our guide and one of my history teachers in the PCJE History Seminar, Jamie Salter, brought alive the things I had just learned in class where we studied Jewish life from biblical times until 1948 and then from 1948 until the present day. In the Negev, I saw Jewish communities that were founded prior to 1948 and still thriving today. We also examined why Jewish communities put down roots where they did in the pre-State era.

As a student in level aleph who didn’t know any Hebrew before she came, it was exciting for me to hear the words I’m studying in Sefer Shmot used during the tiyul, words like desert, goats, shepherd. The language came alive for me in a way it hadn’t in the classroom.

Finally, I helped organize the egalitarian tefilla option and stood in front of my peers and teachers to give a dvar Torah on Shabbat morning. I realized that I’m practicing what it means to be an adult – exploring my place.

Rachel Dingman, Poconos, PA
She received a BA in Philosophy and Psychology from Allegheny College. She also holds an MA in Organizational Leadership.