By Sara Schatz, Layout Editor
On June 19th, renowned Israeli journalist and recent World Mizrachi icon, Sivan Rahav-Meir, announced on her Facebook page that she will be living in Manhattan for the year with her husband and five children. They will be shlichim (missionaries) for World Mizrachi and this largely involves her teaching students at Yeshiva University. The plan is to broadcast her weekly parsha shiur (which currently takes place at Hechal Shlomo in Jerusalem) every Wednesday at Stern College in both Hebrew and English. In addition, Meir intends to stay at Stern for one or two shabbatot on campus, have one-on-one meetings with students, and guest lecture in multiple classes, including Professor Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt’s Features Writing class, GPATS classes, and Professor Maria Blekher’s Sy Syms class on Israeli Business Environments.
The idea to teach at Yeshiva University came into fruition after Meir spent a significant amount of time in the States as a scholar-in-residence after her weekly parsha shiur gained massive popularity. “It was so amazing to me because all I do is discuss the parsha — what I find interesting,” she noted. “Suddenly, I found myself ten times in the states — from Washington to Baltimore to Los Angeles to New York.”
As her visits increased, and her understanding of Jewish life in America expanded, Meir’s tours grew more and more meaningful. Then, Rabbi Doron Peretz, the president of Mizrachi, and Rabbi Dr. Stu Halpern, Senior Advisor to the Provost of Yeshiva University, suggested that she come to America for an entire year. Though it was a difficult decision to make, she eventually concluded that living with her brothers and sisters in America was an opportunity she could not pass up. Together with her husband and five children, she hopes to create a dialogue with American Jews, in addition to “teach[ing], learn[ing], experienc[ing], hear[ing], absorb[ing]… any other verbs?” she joked.
Rav Reuven Taragin, Educational Director of the World Mizrachi Movement, noted that the idea stemmed from the relationship Meir and her husband, Yedidya, had with the diasporic community in general, particularly World Mizrachi. The goal of World Mizrachi, the first Religious Zionist organization in Israel founded in 1902, is to connect Jews around the world to Israel. They accomplish this in numerous ways, most significantly by bringing the best of Israel’s religious content to diasporic communities.
“I think she brings something very unique to the YU world,” Rav Taragin stated. “On the one hand, she is a very religious woman, while on the other hand, she is someone deeply involved in the broader culture, which is essentially what YU stands for.”
Beyond her homebase at YU, Meir will be speaking as a scholar-in-residence at various synagogues and shuls in North America, and beyond that, will hopefully get involved in the press in the United States.
“She is very much a tone-setter in journalism and beyond… [which] shows what impact she has not only on the religious tzibbur (public), but the entire public,” Rav Taragin indicated. “Simply, her character will have a greater impact on the US as a whole.”
However, Meir is particularly excited for her stay at YU. “YU in Israel’s eyes is an icon,” Meir stated. “I feel really privileged to be part of such a premiere, respected team. We have a lot to learn from you and your communities from the Judaism you’ve built. I am curious, and I am coming to learn!”
Stay tuned for more information on Meir’s arrival and programming schedule!
Author’s note: The author would like to thank Mrs. Sivan Rahav-Meir, Rabbi Reuven Taragin, and Rabbi Dr. Stuart Halpern for taking the time to help make this article possible.
Photo: Jerusalem Post