Who We Are
Lily Nagy-Déak

1. When were you at Hadar?

I was an Education Fellow 2012-13

2. Where are you now (physically)?

Madison, Wisconsin. Come visit! 

3. What are you up to now?

I am the Interim Education Director at a Conservative shul, I help run Madison Minyan, I'm a part-time nanny, and I'm just generally enjoying Midwest life.

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

Hmmm...there are so many wonderful pieces of Torah that I learned from all of my teachers, but they also imparted a feeling of accessibility to Torah, and taught me how to find deep meaning in all parts of Torah. The most important thing I keep in mind is that there is no end to learning Torah, it is a long and beautiful journey; there are easy parts and challenging passages, there are times I will be frustrated with the text, but even in those moments there is something wonderful to learn. 

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

Nurturing. ...but since I'm allowed more than one word, I'll add these: fulfilling, challenging, freeing, meaningful... Being a student at Hadar gave me the unique opportunity to spend my day with others who are passionate, are committed to learning Torah, and enrich our lives through study, and it's the feeling of being in that environment that I have carried with me.

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

This year I started a Beit Midrash Program at my shul, and I was very grateful and excited to receive a microgrant from Hadar for this project. Our Beit Midrash meets 2-3 times a month. The facilitator (myself, Rabbi Rebecca Ben-Gideon, or Rabbi Joshua Ben-Gideon) chooses a topic/theme for the evening and brings related sources; participants study in hevruta for the first half of the evening and then we conclude our sessions with a group discussion. Some past topics have been, Obsession & Desire, Love stories from Talmud, Tzedakah, Seeing/Experiencing God, Understanding Torah Lishma, Why do we pray?, and most recently "It's My Purim & I'll Cry if I want to" examining the mitzvah of being happy in Adar. I'm looking forward to our Rosh Hodesh Nisan session which will focus on Mikvaot and spiritual connection through water. This type of learning has been missing in Madison, and it's been a wonderful experience to open the door for people into the world of Jewish text study/discussion. We get all kinds of people in the Beit Midrash and it leads to some great discussions/debates/learning. I'm really excited about this program and hope to see it continue to grow.