Saturday, January 18, 2020

MMY students searching for the best sufgniyot in town (left to right:) Tamar Nissel (Teaneck, NJ), Roni Kahan (Chicago, IL), Chava Segal (New York)(Credit: Chava Segal)

Chava Segal grew up on the Lower East Side of New York City. Her fondest memories include walking from a young age with her father, well-known radio personality Nachum Segal, to Mizrachi Shul every Shabbat morning. She attended Manhattan Day School (MDS) for elementary school and Ma’ayanot for High School.

Her next stop? Nursing at Hunter College, eventually to specialize in midwifery.

Why did you choose MMY?

I chose MMY because of its intellectual learning for women, the incredible relationships I knew I would be able to have with my teachers, the fact that it is not one specific hashkafa and because of MMY’s ability to prepare its students for the future with learning skills and skills for life.

What kind of goals do you have for your year?

Goals for my year included working on my learning skills, learning a lot of Tanach and working on my bein adam l’chaveiro. I also wanted to have the opportunity to connect to the land of Israel and form new relationships with teachers and peers.

What has been the biggest highlight of your year so far?

Going on hikes all around Israel has been incredible. Before this year I did not realize that I really enjoy hiking. I love the thrill of climbing up and sliding down rocks, mountains and stone. Hikes are also a chance to socialize with friends and teachers in different settings and an opportunity to see many different parts of Israel.

What were some highlights of your first Chanukah in Israel?

One of my highlights of my first Chanukah in Israel was experiencing Israel’s sufganiyot. On Sunday night after candle lighting, I went with two of my friends on a search for the best sufganiyot in Jerusalem. We went to four different bakeries and together tried 10 totally different donuts! It was a really fun and of course delicious way to celebrate Chanukah!

What kind of challenges have you faced coming to Israel?

My biggest difficulty this year has been coming to terms with the fact that life still goes on at home without me. It’s always strange when my family is having a gathering, a chag without me or honestly just hanging out in the living room and I am not there. However, I am extremely thankful that I am a triplet and am currently here in Israel with my brothers whom I often get to spend time with.

How has being here been different from your expectations? Did you feel prepared for your experience or did you have culture shock, and how so?

Thank God, coming to Israel was not such a big culture shock for me. I grew up with a lot of independence and responsibility, and this was a huge help in easing into being on my own. While Israel is a totally different country than America, after learning the ways of food shopping and transportation, I was able to feel completely at home.

Where is your favorite place to go for weekends/Shabbat so far?

I enjoy going to many different communities all over Israel for Shabbat, some places include Beitar, Meah Shearim, Hebron and Tz’fat. A few months ago, I was in Chevron for Parshat Chayei Sarah. It was incredible to see how many people gave up shelter, Shabbat food and warmth in order to be able to join together with so many Jews around the world in order to daven in Me’arat Hamachpeila. There were beautiful tefillot and singing and I felt extremely connected to the Jewish community. My friends and I stayed at a wonderful family in Kiryat Arbah, who expressed to us the beauty of where they live and were amazed at our connection to Israel and Torah learning.

What are you most looking forward to for the rest of the year?

I am looking forward to just being in Israel. Walking around, going on tiyulim, going to different communities and learning in our Jewish homeland.

By Tzvi Silver/JLBWC Israel

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