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Kaddish with the Cohort

By Talia Feldman

On December 24th, 2019 my Abba, my father, passed away suddenly while we were
on a family vacation in Hawaii. While I quickly realized that my experience in Israel was
not going to be exactly as I had always dreamed, it was never a question if I was going
to still be participating in The Nachshon Project this semester. As a proud father,
dedicated to the Jewish community, he was beyond excited about this opportunity for
me. In fact, he drove down to my college, the University of Delaware, the day after I was
accepted to Nachshon to celebrate. Since the start of college I had dreamed of being
part of the Nachshon Project because of the impact it would have on the rest of my life,
but I knew the experience would be even more impactful now.
I spent the week of shiva and first month of mourning with my family in New
Jersey. On the day of shloshim (the thirty-day period following burial) I boarded a plane
to Israel to start this once in a lifetime experience. As part of my mourning process, I am
saying kaddish everyday for 11 months. Although we have a very packed schedule with
class starting early most mornings, and programming multiple nights a week, I knew
that the options to find a minyan in Jerusalem every day would be easy. What I did not
know was whether I would be going to these minyanim alone or when we were not in
Jerusalem how I would ensure I was able to say kaddish.
Starting from the very first day of our opening conference in Zichron Yaakov, my
co-fellows have been extremely supportive and I have not had to go far to find a
minyan. My cohort has come together and we have had a Nachshon minyan nearly
each night. In addition to making a minyan every day, my co-fellows are supportive and
understanding of anything and everything that I need and do not need. While this is not
the exact experience I was planning for or would ever ask for, I am very grateful for this special experience, especially at this time in my life, and the people it has brought to
me. Without my entire cohort, Rabbi Cohen, and Rabbi Zeff this experience would not
be the same and their help and support throughout this entire process is something I will
be forever grateful for.

 

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