David Stern

Year '15-'16

One of my lifelong dreams has been to live in Israel for a year.

Through the years, it felt less and less likely that this would actually happen.  Getting stuck in the rat race of the professional working world was becoming more and more difficult to escape.

When I came back from Birthright in the summer of 2014, I realized that the dream wouldn’t come to fruition on its own. I needed to take action to make the dream a reality.  So what did I do? The day after coming home I went straight to my boss and told him that my heart was not with seeking the next promotion in my career (as was the “normal” path to take), but rather that my heart was with Israel.

Once I made the decision to quit my job and move to Israel, I still needed to figure out what to do once I got there. I had spent the past four years working at Red Bull, a fairly young and very innovative company that sells Energy Drinks.  I had been very fortunate to work with intelligent, passionate, and creative individuals who had a similar love of pursuing professional careers and living life to the fullest. But something was missing…there was a spiritual gap in my life. I was feeling the void of not being in a community where people love Judaism, and I needed to find a place where I could connect with other individuals who wanted to explore the rich traditions and history of our religion.

One of my close friends suggested that I check out the website for Pardes.  After going through the information, I was instantly attracted to the fact that Pardes is an institution where people learn for the sake of learning. Not for credit, degrees, or grades, but just for the love and passion of learning.

I am so grateful that I made the decision to come study at Pardes. Each day provides me with new perspectives, challenging discussions, and meaningful friendships.  The extremely passionate teachers provide the students with a variety of tools to explore Jewish text, thought, and practice.

And one of the best parts is that I can actually say that I’m living the dream.

David Stern, LA (appears on the right in the photo)