A natural outgrowth of a productive year in Machal is the desire to share the beauty of Torah with others, extedning the Machal experience beyond the physical limits of Michlalah's Jerusalem campus. Machal's British alumnae have done just that by giving of their time and energy to study over the phone with chavrusas under the auspices of the London-based Phone and Learn (PaL).
When PaL coordinator Mrs Rivka Graham visited Michlalah at the end of the last academic year to present the program to Machal's English contingent, she was thrilled but not surprised at the enthusiastic response she received. She has been working with Machal graduates for many years and feels that they are a great asset to the organisation.
"They are fantastic tutors," says Mrs Graham. "They had an incredible year in seminary and they want to give over to others, or they want to continue learning and they need a chavrusa to do it. Sometimes girls even sign up both to teach someone who knows less than them as well as to learn with someone who knows more."
Patterned after the US based Partners in Torah, PaL fills a simillar need in the UK and in other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Italy and Belgium. They match up study pairs based on age and interest who learn any Jewish subject of their choice once a week, over the phone, or on Skype. There are currently over 200 active study pairs of various ages and nationalities - from 12 year old twins in Australia who want to learn more in honour of their upcoming bat mitzvah, to knowledge-hungry octogenarians.
Alumna Abigail (Rose, 5761) Ormonde has been studying with the same partner since 2011, covering various subjects such as Shemoneh Esrei, Megillas Esther, and Pirkei Avos.
"When I first started with PaL I never anticipated learning so much from this experience," Abigail says. "Teaching a subject really enhances one's understanding of the material. My sem experience at Michlalah not only enabled me to gain knowledge but also taught me how to research a topic and present it clearly to others. My partner has benefited by increasing her own knowledge and awareness of many important aspects of Jewish life."
Yael Levy (5771) likewise finds PaL to be a wonderful experience for both parties involved.
"I have used my class notes from Michlalah to give over material in a clear fashion and I'm able to be in touch with my seminary teachers with any questions we have. Learning with my PaL has made me realise how much Michlalah has given me in terms of my knowledge and clarity in Torah subjects and the confidence to pass that on to others. It's also made me aware that not only does my PaL learn from me, but I gain immensly from seeing her desire and dedication to grow in yiddishkeit."