His experience in Israel has demonstrated to a young man from Highland Park what he now believes could be the “glue” that keeps the Jewish nation united.
Ari Neuman was one of 40 Yeshiva University students taking part in a recent winter break mission in Israel through YU’s Center for the Jewish Future.
Participants in “Shabbat 2010,” a 10-day experiential education program, explored the roots of Shabbat observance and the effects of Shabbat on Israeli society and the global Jewish community. The learning touched on the country’s culture, ethnicity, politics, and traditions.
During the trip, Neuman witnessed a demonstration organized by fervently Orthodox Jews over issues regarding the public violation of the halachic laws of Shabbat.
“I realized how powerful and dynamic the force of Shabbat is to the Jewish nation,” he wrote NJJN in an e-mail. He said he also learned that Shabbat “could be the glue that keeps even the secular Jews in Israel identifying Jewish, allowing us to remain one united nation.”
Neuman, 22, a graduate of the Jewish Educational Center’s Rav Teitz Mesivta Academy in Elizabeth, is a senior at YU in his first year studying toward ordination. He is the son of Dr. Umi Neuman and of Sue Redlich and his stepfather, Alan Redlich, all of Highland Park.
“The primary goal of these and all CJF programs is to inspire our students to become agents of change in their communities and the world at large,” said Rabbi Kenneth Brander, the David Mitzner Dean of the Center for the Jewish Future.
“It is important to us that these future leaders have experiences that encourage them to thoroughly examine our traditions, as well as form opinions about current hot-button issues so that they can broaden their world-view and deepen their commitment to Torah Judaism.”