Dr. Hana Hendler: Family, Academia and Community Outreach

 Family, Academia and Community OutreachMy most important role is raising my family. I have 10 children, aged 11-32, and 19 grandchildren, aged 6 months to 11 years. My family is my pride and joy and the motivation behind everything I do. It’s my greatest support system.

My second role is in academia. I hold a PhD in Hebrew Literature and specialize in literature, Hasidism, Midrash and Bible. I’m a great believer in the Hasidic philosophy, viewing the world as a one single entity with no “separation of powers.”I believe that multidisciplinary research shines a light on the unique aspects of each field. Consequently, when teaching I often discuss the links between Bible, Hasidism and literature.

My third and most recent role is partnering with my husband in a new venture: founding a new Hesder Yeshiva in the city of Ramle.  Ramle has a diverse population comprising both Arabs and Jews, and its Jewish residents yearn for spiritual guidance. My husband and I feel it is our duty to establish a Jewish higher education framework in this city, where no Yeshivas exist, and are planning to move to Ramle in order to accomplish this mission.

At first it might seem impossible to expect me to fully dedicate all resources to each of my roles. But I believe in intermeshing all my tasks together because it’s the surest way to accomplish them all. But mostly because I feel that a person’s life, with all its different aspects and roles, is one holistic reality. We all have many interests and occupations, every one of which demands time and resources. The only way to maximize our potential, express ourselves, and wisely employ the abilities given to us by the Almighty is to create harmony in our lives.

I am lucky enough to have been a part of the Midrasha for the past eight years, teaching about Hasidism, philosophy, Midrash, and the link between the Bible and literature. The academic atmosphere in the Midrasha is quite unique. The academics, the unmitigated personal connections we’ve formed, and the incredible people who take part in our work have all helped create an exceptional, cultivating, learning environment, unlike any other.