Thank You YES Fund!
Isak Aasvestad

Dear Women of Reform Judaism,

First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest gratitude for the generous scholarship I have been granted by the Women of Reform Judaism, in support of my rabbinical studies at the Abraham Geiger College. I would like to share with you a few highlights from the 2016 summer semester.

It was a great pleasure to meet Blair Marks, Rabbi Marla Feldman, Susan Bass, Lynn Magid Lazar and the other representatives of the WRJ at the Biennial Convention of the European Union for Progressive Judaism in London in April. As the Reform Movement is still relatively small in Germany, meeting with fellow progressive Jews fromt he United States, Great Britain and other countries is very important to me. Starting off the semester in this way provided inspiration and energy for the entire semester (in Germany, the summer semester starts in April and ends in late July).

This semester, I started an intership in the Regional Council of the Jewish Congregations of Schleswig-Holstein. Schleswig-Holstein is the northernmost state of Germany, bordering my native Scandinavia. Five communities are organized in the Regional Council, and so far I have been visiting the three larger of the communities, namely those in Kiel, Penneberg and Bad Segeberg, leading Shabbat and Chag services, giving Shiurim and being available for pastoral care. This year, I will lead High Holiday services in Kiel.

I have been actively involved in interfaith work, helping to organize a series of events in Berlin in which representatives of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious communities visit each other in our respective places of worship.

In the last week of the semester, Iparticipated in the annual conferenc eof the Union of Progressive Jews in Germany, where I, together with my fellow students at the Abraham Geiger College, led the Shabbat Shacharit service.

By awarding me the scholarship, the WRJ allows me to focus more on the most important aspects of my studies, namely my rabbinical internship in addition to the learning itself. Without the scholarship, it would be very difficult for me to pursue my goal of becoming a rabbi in a Progressive Jewish community in Europe. I am therefore very grateful for the scholarship Women of Reform Judaism gives me.

Thank you again for your generosity and support!


Isak Aasvestad