The trip certainly exceeded my expectations. Meeting other people in a similar situation to my own was amazing—it reinforced the concept that we are in a community. This community is not bound by geography, age, or occupation, but is tied by a common string of wanting to grow and discover something greater. The learning was absolutely incredible. It was so diverse—from Talmud to mussar, to basics of Judaism at depths I have never explored.
When I say learning, I mean it broadly—from classes, to one-on-one conversations over beautiful walks, to questions after a talk and during lunch. The stand alone lectures were absolutely amazing too. I'm probably repeating myself, but all of it was very inspiring, elevating, and thought-provoking...
Most of all, I think I gained a new level of commitment to Judaism in general, and especially to learning. I also learned powerful ideas thought throughout the program about Shabbat, mitzvot in general, and Judaism broadly. These are little gems that I'm now able to rely on for sparks of inspiration, and renewed energy in every day life. Finally I also gained invaluable bits of wisdom, which were gifted to us throughout the program. It is now my responsibility to keep them safe, internalize them, and make them an integral part of my life moving forward.
Ph.D. in Physics from Yale, NYC
The trip was fantastic. There were some bumps along the way, but it had the right amount of learning and leisure. The classes were top notch, the people were friendly, and I learned a lot... WHAT I GAINED: A great knowledge of who I am, where I come from, and what it means to be a Jew. Thank you for everything!
MBA Pepperdine, IT, LA
Far exceeded [expectations]... I gained a sense of direction and purpose with my life. I really want to be able to live a full and meaningful life. I want to become a better person and help as many people as possible.
University of Arizona Alumnus, Marketing, Tucson
I didn't really know what to expect. The people (mentors, students, rabbis, and families) were incredible and I learned a ton more than I thought I would. I went to Israel after the retreat and I was able to participate in conversations I would have had no idea about prior to the retreat...
A few of my biggest takeaways: Asking questions is one of the largest parts of JudaIsm and learning, I feel like I learned a new way to dissect and analyze problems, and learning Torah can be fun with the right teachers. I also liked the fact that no one judges anyone, no matter what level you're at. It makes it easier to learn with other people and at your own pace.
University of Colorado Alumnus, Analyst at Nextiva, Tucson
9 out of 10. The 90% rating isn't 100, because it only lasted one week... WHAT I GAINED: An understanding that I need to continue to learn to ultimately fulfill my own spiritual, personal, and business potential.
Boston University Alumnus, Family Apparel Business, NYC
It was very much what I expected if not better. The sessions were very well prepared and the rabbis were all very accomplished and insightful. The trip gave a good taste of what Torah study can be... WHAT I GAINED: A greater appreciation for the wisdom of Jewish texts. I'm more motivated to study them now to learn lessons and insight on how to live my life to the fullest. It greater affirmed the value of my Judaism and the depth of Jewish wisdom for living life.
Doctoral Student in Chemical Engineering, LA
It definitely exceeded my expectations in every way. From the housing, to the food, to the learning, to the people, to the overall experience. I could not have asked for more from the trip... I gained a deeper and stronger connection to Judaism, and I was inspired to continue my Jewish learning in a more meaningful way. I learned so much in one week and felt so much positive energy, and I hope that I will be able to incorporate that into my regular life. Thank you for the opportunity!
T.V./Video Editor, Songwriter, NYC
We had the good fortune to spend Shabbos with the Machon Yaakov team at Croydon Hall, a large hall in rural Somerset, cut off from hustle and bustle of urban Britain. Rabbi Jacobs had assembled two world class groups, the first comprised his fellow educators, and in particular Rabbis Jonathan Taub, Shmuel Lynn and Yosef Lynn; the second, twenty four highly educated and empathetic young men, searching for Truth. Unsurprisingly, the teachers inspired the students; how could it be otherwise, given the quality of the shiurim. But it was no less the case, that the students inspired the teachers. They were engaged, asked searching questions, participated with enthusiasm; they were moved, as were we. Shabbos was the programme’s last day, and we davened, ate, sang and learned together, building Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land.
Peter Sugarman, London
Rabbis Lynn, Lynn, and Jacobs created an atmosphere in which all participants (and guests) felt appreciated, loved, and inspired to grow in Torah. I hope to go back next year with my family so we can all be uplifted again by the brave choices made by so many young men to transform their lives in search of meaning and truth.
Jake Greenberg, London