"My PaL learning sessions with turo Estie are fantastic. The more I learn, the more I understand. I live in a small Jewish community in Germany and my learning sessions with Estie are the highlight of my week," commented PaL partner, Noa Guenzel.
These words, from Noa, who is based in Cologne, Germany, are typical of those who sign up to learn more about Judaism with PaL, Phone and Learn. Noa registered with PaL in June 2011 and shortly afterwards was matched with her tutor, Manchester based Estie Bergin. Together, they cover Shabbos-related topics during their weekly PaL learning sessions and despite the geographical distance between them, have become firm friends.
Noa has visited Estie in Manchester and spent Purim there. This gave her the opportunity to purchase Kosher L'Pesach food to bring back with her to Germany. Recently, when Noa was in Israel, Estie arranged for her to be hosted with family members for meals. Noa said, "It was wonderful meeting Estie's extended family, and while there, one of her married brothers welcomed me to his home and answered one of my long-standing questions about Rosh Hashonoh."
"Being a PaL tutor is a wonderful opportunity for growth. I learn as much as I teach," says Estie. "Noa constantly challenges me to learn more in order to find suitable answers to both her halachic and hashkafic questions. As well as pairing us to learn together, PaL has also given us the opportunity to develope a close friendship. Our weekly conversations are just as important as our learning and I look forward to speaking to Noa every week," remarked PaL tutor Estie.
"This is the unique offering of PaL," comments Danny Binstock, a PaL Trustee, "being able to connect people who do not have access to learning in their local community. With lower international call rates and ease of access to Skype, Jewish learning can be accessed from anywhere in the world - and at PaL we are happy to respond to the increase in requests for tutors from around the world."
The PaL programme, which Noa has benefited from so greatly, is constantly expanding. "In order to ensure that every PaL partner is able to be matched with a suitable tutor, we are looking to expand our pool of tutors," explains Programme Coordinator Rivka Graham. "We like to talk about PaL's 'WWW' option, you can teach 'whatever' you want to, 'wherever' and 'whenever' you like! And our fantastic team is always available to offer support, advice and training materials, every step of the way."