In a play on the word “chaverut,” meaning friendship, and “chevruta,” the Hebrew word for “learning partner,” Midreshet Lindenbaum’s Lod branch recently introduced a new project which pairs the seminary’s students with girls from a local high school for joint learning.
Once a week, a group of 8th and 9th graders from one of the local high schools file into the Midreshet Lindenbaum–Lod beit midrash. Each of the young girls is greeted by a study partner, and the pair sits down to learn Torah punctuated by goodnatured, sisterly discussion.
“These learning sessions are a point of time each week in which we and the girls from the city of Lod come to hear and be heard, to learn and develop,” says Netta, a Midreshet Lindenbaum – Lod student from Kibbutz Maaleh Gilboa. “Each group benefits equally from the joint learning experience,” she says.
The initiative is called “Chaverutot,” a play on the word “chaverut,” which means friendship, and “chavruta” – which refers to learning in pairs, and the idea is to connect the pioneering young Lindenbaum-Lod women to the community in which they live, while exposing the local high school girls to the beautiful and empowering world of women’s beit midrash learning.
Chaverutot was established in memory of 17-year-old Rina Shnerb, a resident of Lod who was murdered in late August when terrorists detonated an IED device near Dani’s Spring, a popular tourist and recreation site where she was hiking with her father and brother.
“Rena was a counselor at the Netzach branch of Bnei Akiva, where there are many immigrants and girls from weaker populations, and many of her charges attended this particular high school,” reveals Rabbanit Naama Frankel, Rosh Beit Midrash of Midreshet Lindenbaum-Lod. “We chose to name Chaverutot in her memory because of the similarity between what we are trying to accomplish and Rena’s own and dedication to Torah learning, Eretz Yisrael and the people of Israel from a place of true friendship and love,” she says.
“Our learning sessions with the girls from Lod is not ‘volunteer work,'” insists Netta. “It’s a manifestation of a real connection to the community in which our midrasha exists and in which we are living,” she says.