Monday, February 27, 2006

Machon Meir - An Awesome Place

When I came to Israel over twenty years ago, I arrived at Machon Meir with a suitcase in one hand and a guitar in the other. I had been a Ba'al Teshuvah for about a year and a half, long enough to know that I really needed to learn in Yeshivah. Little did I know that I would not only learn Torah at Machon Meir, but that I would acquire the spiritual tools to deal with the afflictions that are a part and parcel of living in the land of Israel.

I visited Machon Meir recently, and the place has changed dramatically. In my day the Beit Midrash was in an old building that was cold in the winter and hot in the summmer. I remember seeing students dovvening Shacharit wearing "dubonim", winter coats. Today they have a beautiful new Beit Midrash, which is heated well in the winter and air-conditioned in the summer. Way back when, it was very difficult to stay in touch with the family abroad. Letters sent from Israel to the United States would take two weeks to arrive. If someone was flying to the States, we used to give him our letters so that he would send them in the U.S. as local mail. Today, the Machon has an "email room" where students can send email or communicate with their family abroad using one of the "messaging" programs. Making a phone call in my time was no simple matter. You had to buy "asimonim" (tokens) to use the one pay phone that was in the Yeshivah. (You would not get a dial tone until one of the "asimonim" dropped down into the telephone. This is the source of the saying "nafal lo ha'asimon" as and allegory for understanding a certain matter.) There was usually a line to use the phone. Making a long distance call was tremendously difficult because the "asimonim" would fall faster than you could put them into the phone. Today of course everyone has a cellphone. What a life the Yeshiva students have today!

I also noted that many of the faculty members that taught in my time are still teaching there. I imagine that is because that teaching in a Ba'al Teshuvah Yeshiva must be a pleasure. All of the students are there by their own free will and they want to learn. This must be a true paradise for rabbis and teachers.

The point of this post is that Machon Meir was an awesome twenty-some years ago and it still is today. For those interested in learning in Israel it is a place that certainly deserves checking out.


Batya said...

I'm glad that it's doing well.

Sabzi Aash said...

Nice post! I also was at Machon Meir for a little bit .. about 2 days ... but I liked it a lot. I was trying out yeshivas and ended up going to a different one, but I was torn and never quite sure if I made the right decision. One great thing about MM is that you can learn in English but you're surrounded by Israelis and Hebrew, and there's a lot of time for ulpan.

Unknown said...

im a BT interested in taking a year off from school for learning. How hard is it to get into machon meir? Any recommendations? Should note im a 25 yo young professional, would this be a good place given my background?

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