Now that Torani is over, it’s as if the backbone to my year in Midreshet HaRova has dissolved. BA was always the extra place I could turn to, even if just to be reassured that there’s another place to help me get the most out of my Shabbatot and chofesh. At the start of the program we were told to “sleep next year”: this is definitely a message I tried my best to incorporate throughout the year, to make the most of every opportunity, and being told this right before we started anything else was just what I needed to hear.
Methods for leadership were also taught in depth through the Degel program, which really helped me in terms of getting to know how BA works in the UK, as previously I was not very involved in BA; Torani has really encouraged me to give it a go and take Machane this summer. Degel, as well as other activities and peulot, prompted us to give our own unique contribution to the movement. There was always an educational element incorporated in Torani events, whether by learning about the battle for the road to Jerusalem during a tiyul in the area, by seeing Yad Vashem in a different perspective, or by dedicating every night on the pre-Pesach seminar to Beit Midrash time.
I gained a deeper understanding of the conflicts facing Israel’s various societies in a way which would not have been possible without Torani, through being directly taken to their representatives, whether it was Israeli Arabs, Belz Chasidim, a Religious Zionist Jew living in Shilo or an Ethiopian Rabbi. I really appreciated how our minds were truly opened, and how BA is not scared of us forming our own diverse opinions. This was invaluable for gaining confidence in voicing my own opinion when we would later discuss what we thought.
In a similar vein, I really appreciated how Torani was not scared to let us mix with Jews from different organisations or backgrounds; on the contrary, we had a Shabbaton with Tribe and the Chief Rabbi of the UK, plus gap year students on different programs, as well as Shabbatons and tiyulim with the rest of Hachshara; it was fascinating how BA brought together students from all over the world who have similar ideals to each other.
Volunteering was also a core element of the year during the highly anticipated Pesach Seminar, through both working the land and helping other people prepare for Pesach.
In short, would I recommend Torani to someone who wants to really experience and learn as much as they can? Absolutely.