You may know that all Talmud Torah graduates are eligible for scholarships to be used for Israel education while in High School. Did you know, due to generous donors, our alumni can also receive scholarships for continued studies, long after they graduate?
While Ari Buslovich graduated from Talmud Torah years ago, her decision to further her Jewish education through a trip to Israel made her eligible to receive a grant from the Rachel Raviv Hoffer Memorial Endowment Scholarship Fund. This fund was established for Talmud Torah alumni pursuing higher education in Jewish studies or communal services. Our community was happy to assist her in participating in an Israel trip with the Jewish National Fund (JNF).
Q&A with Ari Buslovich
What Israel program did you attend?
JNF Alternative Winter Break. The program is for college students and young professionals to experience service work in Israel, learn about JNF projects, and get to work hands-on at JNF sites. We did a lot of volunteering and learning about the importance of agriculture and local communities.
For how long did you attend Talmud Torah?
I started in 2nd grade and went through 10th grade.
How did your Talmud Torah education affect your Jewish identity and values?
I’m really grateful for Talmud Torah. They taught me a lot, and I took a lot away in terms of not only understanding Hebrew language but also getting a great understanding of Israel. Talmud Torah helped me establish and build upon my values of Judaism and Israel and influenced my work now in school on Israel advocacy.
I learned a lot about Israel through Talmud Torah, and all my teachers showed me passion for Israel and the importance of Israel, especially as an American Jew. This continued and was solidified through the ILF program that I did through Talmud Torah (which was offered at the time). That gave me a strong basis for my continued involvement in Israel advocacy in college.
I still feel connected to a lot of my Talmud Torah teachers and it gave me a strong sense of community. In terms of feeling connected to the Minneapolis Jewish community, that was strongly connected, in my mind, to Talmud Torah.
What was your biggest takeaway from Talmud Torah Education?
100% the community - that's where I built friends that were year-round. Going to camp is one thing, but seeing my peers and friends 2-3 times a week and growing and learning together is a whole other part that was important in my life. I attribute a lot of my connection to the Minneapolis Jewish community to Talmud Torah.
What role did Talmud Torah play in your Israel experience?
Talmud Torah taught me the values and importance of Israel. Specifically with this trip, it was really important to me to give back and not just being a tourist. Talmud Torah taught me about the meaning of giving back to Israel, and that just added to why this trip was important for me to go on.
How did Talmud Torah help enable you to go to Israel?
I was able to get a donation through a family memorial fund that allowed to me reach my fundraising goal to go to Israel. Talmud Torah financially allowed me to go on this trip, but also allowed JNF to continue these projects in support of what I was doing.
How else did Talmud Torah's assistance affect your trip?
My experiences would've been a lot harder and more stressful without Talmud Torah’s help. Talmud Torah helped make the process of fundraising more at ease and allowed me to focus my energies on the goal of the trip.
What was one of your favorite parts of your Israel experience?
On the first day, we went to a farm on the border of Jordan and we learned about how agriculture helps Israel and affects other countries around the world. We got to pick onions! It was amazing to feel like we were making a difference in the lives of these farmers and contributed to Israel’s safety.
What was the biggest takeaway from your Israel experience?
It’s a lot easier to give back and to give back in bigger ways than expected. I realized what kind of impact can be made and how little things (even like cutting an onion) can help another person so much.
Anything you want to add?
I really appreciate the fact that Talmud Torah was able to support me and has continued to support me as I became alumni. I’m really grateful they helped allow me to go on this trip.