Today’s learning is sponsored by
Robin and Leonard Gurin
Ilana and Mark Meskin
In honor and celebration of their son’s ordination
Mazal tov to Rabbi Benjamin Caplan-Meskin Gurin!
Today, Benjamin Caplan-Meskin Gurin will be ordained as a rabbi by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. A native of Fishers, Indiana and a proud Hoosier from the IU class of 2012, Ben came to Pardes as a student in the Year Program in the fall of 2012, just before starting rabbinical school. Today, Ben graduates as a full-time Teaching Assistant in the USC Jewish Studies Program, teaching 100 students each semester, with plans to apply to PhD programs in the fall to continue to pursue his goals as a student and teacher of Torah.
When you mention Ben Gurin’s name to anyone who knows him, their immediate response is “He’s the best! I love that guy!” While Ben is an accomplished student and teacher, what sets him apart is the way that he cares for the people in his life. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “What we need more than anything else is not textbooks but text people. It is the personality of the teacher which is the text that the pupils read; the text they will never forget.” Ben Gurin is most certainly a “text person.” As his students will attest to, it is the combination of Ben’s passion for Jewish studies, his humor and his attention to the needs of each of his students, that makes his teaching impactful. Ben’s time at Pardes was a critical part of his journey, and there is no doubt that the “text people” who teach at Pardes have been important role models on Ben’s journey to becoming a rabbi.
As you approach the end of your year of study, we hope that like Ben, you take a moment to appreciate the “text people” who have been your teachers this year, and that you find new ones who continue to inspire you along the way, wherever your journeys may take you. Your learning in Ben’s honor today is the greatest tribute any student and teacher of Torah could imagine, and to thank you, our family would like to offer you this blessing as you come to the end of this year of learning, adapted from Brakhot 17a:
When study had been completed in Rabbi Ammi’s school, students would say to each other:
May you see your world in your lifetime…
May your eyes sparkle with the light of the Torah, And your face shine like the brilliance of the heavens.
May you speak words of wisdom, and may the deeds of righteousness you do fill your body with joy.
And may your feet hurry to hear the words of the Ancient of Days. Amen.
(adapted from a translation by Danny Siegel)