They are leading and creating organizations and businesses of all kinds, responding to humanitarian crises, writing novels, educating at all levels, creating works of art, and so much more! In celebration of Pardes’s 50th, we are highlighting 50 standout alumni whose accomplishments exemplify the rich texture of the Pardes community worldwide.
Linda Gradstein is a freelance journalist for Voice of America, CBS Radio and the Jerusalem Report. She writes the restaurant reviews for The Jerusalem Post. She also teaches journalism at NYU-Tel Aviv and recently taught at NYU-Abu Dhabi.
CAN YOU SHARE A SPECIAL PARDES MEMORY?
It was February 9th and I was walking to Pardes from my apartment on Shimoni Street. I was looking forward to a day of learning and remember wishing I could just freeze time and stay in this day forever — a beautiful Jerusalem day and a day of learning ahead. I remember thinking that both my fellow students and my teachers were among the smartest and brightest people I had ever met.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE CLASS AT PARDES?
My Mishna class with Dov Berkovits. I remember spending hours thinking about the wording of various mishnayot and what they were trying to tell us. Once I got stuck and Dov told me to take a long walk through the streets of Jerusalem and maybe I would find the answer. He also introduced me to his father, Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits. When I got engaged to my husband of now 31 years (!!) I asked Dov to do the wedding and he said that first he wanted Cliff and I to spend a Shabbat with him in Shiloh. Only then did he agree to perform the wedding which was so special. I was also the last of my chevre from Pardes to get married so there was a lot of simcha!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PASUK, PASSAGE OR TEXT?
What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the principle and the rest is commentary.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SPOT IN JERUSALEM?
My favorite spot is the tayelet overlooking the Old City, especially at night.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY SHABBAT GUEST, WHO WOULD IT BE?
My mother died many years ago and I still miss her. I would love to see her again and I’d ask her what happens after death. I was with both my parents as they died and I could actually feel their neshamot leave their body. I don’t know what happens afterwards but I have no doubt that there is a neshama that is separate from the body.
WHAT DOES THE JEWISH WORLD NEED MOST RIGHT NOW?
A way to discuss our differences without hating each other. I am concerned about the political discourse in this country.
HOW DOES PARDES CONTINUE TO AFFECT YOU TODAY?
At Pardes I learned that each person is created “Btzelem Elokim” and that is a principle I have tried to live in both my personal life and professional work.