March 2020

By Michael Mitgang

During the opening conference, Cohort 6 had the opportunity to participate in a Beit Midrash with past Nachshon Fellows and it opened my eyes to the possibilities and network that The Nachshon Project provides. During the session I took part in, I learned that G-d created life on earth but leaves us with the question of who is responsible for the creation? G-d? The people? The owner of the creation? I guess the better question to ask is who is the owner of G-d’s creation? The group argued back and forth a bit , but as my group further discussed we agreed on the fact that we must act as helpers to G-d when our world is in need. The example of climate change came up in conversation—we know that science and human made initiatives will help save the planet in addition to G-d’s supports. Without the joint effort from both G-d and people our world would fall apart. 

I think that learning from a current Hebrew Union College Rabbinical student that is a past Nachshon fellow reaffirmed my longing to follow the rabbinical path. I am so thankful that The Nachshon Project acts as the key to my future and will help me achieve my goals like it did for the rabbinical student that led my beit midrash. It is incredibly amazing to me that I had the opportunity to learn from people that were in my shoes just a couple of years ago. Not only did I learn from past Nachshon Fellows, but I also learned from my own cohort members. In this Beit Midrash we helped each other see different view points on how one could view G-d and G-d’s relationship with people. This deep, thought-provoking discussion served as a great icebreaker because we support each other’s thoughts and ideas but also challenged each other to think differently. The cohort is made up of Fellows that come from a variety of different Jewish backgrounds. Having the opportunity to be in a setting where I got to learn from everyone opened my eyes to new ways of practicing Judaism that I have not ever been exposed to first hand. I am extremely excited to continue learning from everyone in the current cohort as well as Nachshon Fellows from the past.