Shalva Gozland is studying at Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim in Jerusalem. She grew up in Riverdale, though her family recently moved to Teaneck. She attended YRSRH (Breuer’s) for elementary school and Manhattan High School for Girls for high school.
Her next stop? University of Pennsylvania, where she will be studying political science and management.
Why did you choose to study at MMY?
I feel really privileged to be spending the year studying at Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim (aka MMY). In addition to the fantastic student body and warm faculty, MMY, in my opinion, represents an incredibly wholesome balance of Torah UMadda. One of the most critical values imbued in us students is finding a delicate and nuanced balance between a serious commitment to Torah and Halacha while finding our role within 21st-century society. MMY also strives to instill a genuine and love for and understanding of Eretz Yisrael and Medinat Yisrael, while weaving Torat Yisrael through it all. That, to me, is what Judaism stands for. (And of course, our location is an amazing perk.)
What kind of goals do you have for the year?
Coming to MMY, I most anticipated exploring new texts and ideas that I had never before had the opportunity to grapple with, and gaining deeper insight into Torah and Judaism from the incredibly broad faculty and diverse student body that is MMY. I looked forward to connecting with really great girls and teachers and to exploring and experiencing this land I call home.
What have been some of the highlights of your year so far?
Thank God, there are plenty to choose from, though I’d have to say that our school shabbaton in Bet El was quite an incredible experience for me. We spent Shabbat in the community and were warmly welcomed into the homes of strangers; we explored the yishuv and we heard from one outstanding speaker after another. We got to experience firsthand what true passion and zeal for our homeland looks like.
What kind of challenges have you faced coming to Israel?
Definitely the independence of meal times (i.e., making my own dinner).
How has your year been different from your expectations?
Israel has been absolutely amazing. I’ve been able to gain a more profound understanding of Judaism and Torah, and engage in high-caliber learning that has exposed me to so many incredible ideas that I know I will carry forward with me. I’ve met really great people, visited entirely new places (shout out to Moovit and Google Maps, which have been there for me through it all), and I really cannot wait for what the next six months will bring.
Where is your favorite place to go for weekends/Shabbat so far?
Anywhere and everywhere [Jewish], really. I am really excited to continue exploring Israel and spending Shabbat in different communities across Israel. As great as Ramat Beit Shemesh and Raanana are, I know there is an entire beautiful country that awaits.
What are you most looking forward to for the rest of the year?
Continuing to learn, connect and explore meaningful things in the most meaningful place on earth. Be it seeing Chag Sameach plastered across the buses, being able to pray at the Kotel whenever I want, hearing Mincha announcements at the local supermarket, being able to find tzniut clothing so easily, having my restaurant options (nearly) unlimited, or witnessing an entire country ushering in the Shabbat, I am reminded time and again that there really is no place like home