by Rabbi Shmuel Jablon
|Shapell's Darche Noam|
In an Orthodox world so often hurt by division, there is a critical need to teach love and respect for the variety of paths in the Torah world. This is a traditional value expressed by the verse “Derechecha Darche Noam” (all the Torah’s many ways are pleasant) and is as old as the Twelve Tribes of Bnei Yisrael.
This philosophy is at the center of Shapell’s/Darche Noam in Yerushalayim. In both the Yeshiva and Midrasha (Midreshet Rachael v’Chaya), students learn that there are many valid approaches within Torah Judaism, and this is a great treasure of our People. This approach imbues students with a healthy respect for the various philosophies within the Torah world, and for their rabbinic luminaries (both past and present). They also “learn how to learn” in order to acquire fluency in our traditional sources. This special formula allows students (who are primarily in their 20’s and 30’s) to be able to feel at home in a range of Torah communities, and find the one where they can best serve Hashem and Klal Yisrael.
The value of Deracheha Darche Noam makes a deep impression on students, and truly impacts the Jewish world.
This week, Allison Josephs of Jew in the City published an article on her site discussing how Midreshet Rachel v’Chaya has impacted her life. She shared:
When I was ready to start increasing my observance, I set out to figure out what type of Orthodox Jew I should become. It was a very confusing process…At a certain point, I made a decision: I’d trust no one. Everyone had an agenda and wanted me to be like them. Of course that got me nowhere!
Allison realized she needed a place where she could both learn Torah and find the path right for her.
I found the perfect place to do so: Midreshet Rachel V’Chaya – a seminary in
which is part of the Darche Noam schools
(the men’s school is called Shapell’s and
has a very similar approach). At MRC, where I studied for the year, the hashkafa (religious philosophy)
is “derecheha darche noam” (the
Torah’s many ways are pleasant) and that we should be respectful of all ways
(not to mention respectful of all people). With a diverse group of teachers and
rabbis spanning the spectrum of Orthodoxy and shabbos placements
at homes of every type and stripe, as well as shabbatons specifically dedicated
to learning about different hashkafos I
ultimately saw that each community had its strengths and each had its
Allison’s experiences have allowed her to make an impact on Klal Yisrael through Jew in the City and its various projects. She is one of the thousands of alumni of the Yeshiva and Midrasha who have taken the learning and values of Shapell’s/Darche Noam and are positively impacting Klal Yisrael. They are truly adding Torah, light and unity to their Jewish communities.
If you are interested in learning how to be part of the Shapell’s/Darche Noam family- either as a student or supporter- visit www.darchenoam.org .