Who We Are
Daniel Schaefer

1. When were you at Hadar?

I studied at Hadar in the summer of 2013 and was at the 2015 Singing Communities Intensive.

2. Where are you now (physically)?

I live in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, MA.

3. What are you up to now?

I am studying at The Rabbinical School of Hebrew College (come visit!), interning on Martha’s Vineyard, and teaching Jewish texts to young adults in Boston.

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

I loved learning with my chevruta, Nomi, about the Ir Miklat (City of Refuge) in Massechet Makkot. The thought that the rabbis put into designing a space that would be safe and secure, that would provide basic services, and serve as a rehabilitative space for its inhabitants, is incredible. It feels like a powerful counterproposal for how we should think about justice, accountability, and rehabilitation in our country. I will never forget that “the mothers of the [high] priests would prepare for them [the inhabitants of the Ir Miklat] food and clothing in order that they should not pray that their children would die.” (Makkot 11a) [לפיכך אימותיהן של כהנים מספקות להן מחיה וכסות כדי שלא יתפללו על בניהם שימותו]

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

Door-opening. Until my summer at Hadar, I had never felt comfortable with traditional davening, studied in a Beit Midrash, or been exposed to Halakhic thinking, three things that are now core parts of my life. Hadar opened up a whole new world of Jewish study, practice, and community, for which I am very grateful.

6. Can you tell us a little about your micro grant work?

For my Hadar Alumni Microgrant, I wanted to explore what it looks like to regularly gather & build community at the end of Shabbat. On the whole, I feel like we do a pretty good job with the beginning of Shabbat, and to some extent the middle, but not so much the end. Seudah Shlishit feels full of potential to me because it is about eating, singing, storytelling, teaching Torah, and being together. What would it mean to connect more Jews to this moment filled with hope and sadness and the possibilities of redemption? What would it mean to build community around the energy of this time? I’ve been very lucky to partner with Hayley Goldstein, my amazing Hebrew College classmate and Hadar alum (Summer ‘11). Hayley loves Shabbat (particularly 3rd meal), complicated chassidic niggunim, and appreciates a mean kiddush spread. Working with her has really made this project possible. We’re hosting our next Seudah Shlishit on Saturday, Sept 17 (2016) at 6pm. If anyone is in Boston and wants to join, please get in touch, and I’ll send you the address!

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

All the time! I was so grateful to attend the Summer Yom Iyyun and have another opportunity to learn from my teachers.