Who We Are
Avigayil Halpern

1. When were you at Hadar?

I was at Hadar this past summer (2015) and for both weeks of the 2016 Winter Learning Seminar.

2. Where are you now (physically)?

I'm in my freshman year at Yale.

3. What are you up to now?

I'm beginning my second semester of Yale's freshman humanities program, and I just became gabbait of our egal minyan.

4. Is there a beautiful piece of Torah from your Hadar days that you keep close to your heart?

At the end of the summer, Rav Aviva quoted a midrash about how every part of our body does a mitzvah (our hand holds tzitzit, our arm wraps tefillin, our neck is wrapped in the tallit), and then on WLS, whose topic was Torah and the body, we learned the whole midrash, which goes through massive list of body parts and ties each one to a mitzvah. I love the image of every limb and organ having a purpose for avodat hashem.

5. If you could describe your experience at Hadar in one word what would it be (feel free to elaborate beyond a single word)?

Challenging and comfortable.

6. How have Torah and mitzot changed your life (post Hadar)?

I've always been observant, but Hadar made me finally feel comfortable and settled as a person who is shomeret mitzvot, rather than combative. Torah is now more about love than struggle for me.

7. Is there a time this past year when Hadar specifically came to mind?

As I begin to think about ways to strengthen the Jewish community I love at school, I've been thinking a lot about how Hadar is a place that is principled but welcoming, a place that invites people in without watering down what it offers.