Half a year later, in May 2012, I signed up for my third Torah Tours experience, which by then had become a bit of a tradition. This time, my team and I were assigned to a more local community. Our destination was Mount Kisco Hebrew Congregation (MKHC), a small century-old community in Northern Westchester, under the leadership of Rabbi Aaron Goldscheider. The fresh mountain air and historic setting created a beautiful background for the extended holiday – it became a relaxing semi-vacation.
Families from all kinds of religious and professional backgrounds welcomed us to this small and cozy community. The stimulating table discussions and the glimpses into the life of their community left us sorry we had to leave when the holiday had concluded. Stories about the history of the community and its members gave us a greater appreciation of where we were spending Shavuot and increased our desire to return one day to Mount Kisco.
This Simchat Torah, teams of students from Yeshiva University are once again being dispatched across the country to different communities. While unable to participate in the program this holiday, I look forward to hearing others’ stories – both those of the students and of the communities hosting Torah Tours groups. The common theme between all three of my Torah Tours experiences was the warm hospitality and kind welcome that we have received in every community we visited, as well as the meaningful lessons my friends and I have taken back with us, and I am sure that the tradition will continue.