Ascenters Say

Here is a sample of different categories of nice ones that we already received about:


Former and future ASCENTers:
Let us know how are you doing, how can we help you Jewishly, suggestions for this web site, etc., or just your name and e-mail address so we can remain in contact. Remember: it is your feedback that helps us keep going.



I have fond memories of my encounters at Ascent in 1994 and 1997. At that time I met Rabbis Leiter, Siev, Tilles, Schwartz and Elyahu Kaye. Your warmth and commitment to Judaism was truly impressive. I knew I had a 'home for life' at Ascent. When I moved to Tsfat in 2011 I immediately came to Ascent to rekindle these cherished contacts. Rabbi Siev welcomed me with open arms and made sure I had all I needed spiritually and materially. I visited Rabbi Kaye to join the library and he too made me feel welcomed and loved.
It was G-d's will that within 3 weeks my beloved Mother passed away. Finding myself unable to return to the States was very difficult for me as I prepared to sit Shiva thousands of miles away. I reached out to Rabbi Kaye who provided me with the books and guidance necessary to fulfill my obligation as a son. His attention and assistance was of monumental importance to me. His kind and gentle support was a blessing in my time of strife and mourning.
After the mourning period of 30 days I had to face the ordeal of my Mother's Estate and the myriad details surrounding it. Once again Rabbi Kaye was there to help me arrange paper work, allow me access to a computer, printer, copier and the tranquility needed to get through the remainder of my availous. His talent for organizing the vast amount of information at his fingertips into Knowledge, and further being able to extract Wisdom from that well of Knowledge is indeed prodigious. His tender mercy in my time of need truly illustrates the best possible example of one Jew's love for another.
More recently I was asked by Ascent to participate in the Art and Soul program in the Summer of 2012. Once again Rabbi Kaye provided me with invaluable assistance in my research on the Third Temple. Not only the books and source material needed, but more crucially the unique insight, and encyclopedic access to the Wisdom that allowed myself and my fellow Artists to craft a Performance appreciated by those who attended.
I feel no words can truly do justice to the value of Rabbi Kaye and the repository of Jewish thought and tradition he has built and oversees. Often I am asked why I am seen at Ascent so frequently. My answer never varies. I simply point to the 'Ascent Library and Multi Media Center' and tell the questioner that it is the finest source of information, Knowledge, and Wisdom I have encountered. I never fail to tell them that at the center of the experience is a stupendous Jew who brings a holy and enlightened Humanity in elucidating what can be a daunting amount of information to Jews seeking to learn Torah in all its dimensions.

Chaim Tzvi Schechter, NY->LA->Tsfat-Biriya

Dear Friends stuck back there in California,

Tomorrow will be one week since we landed. Thanks to the Almighty, Olivia & I R "scholars in residence" @ the Ascent Institute of Safed, for the last 17 years, every summer. There's an inside joke among the staffers here... continue reading

Shlomo Schwartz, Venice Beach, Calif/Tsfat

i am so amazed by the simplicity of presentation of the infinite in your write-ups on it leads to the understanding of those of us who are laymen with relative ease.
Adebayo Raoof Olutokun, Ogbomoso, Nigeria

I read the stories that come to me from this profound site and am nourished by each of them.

Kathryn Neher, Colorado Springs

I came to Ascent 12 years ago, you inspired me, I went back home, I studied intensively, I opened a Jewish summer camp in California several years ago , recruited (among others) a public school girl from Arizona, she was inspired to become Torah-observant, and now this year she decided to go to Israel to study Tsfat!. The circle is complete. Do you see it? Clearly you have a share in the credit.

Gershon Sandler, New York

Wanted to express my appreciation for your continuing translation of Mudaot Yehudit ("Jewish Awareness" or "Conscious Judaism").
Keep up this amazing work. You are the best.
Haim Katzir, Los Angeles

I just wanted to reach out, and say thank you to all the staff at Ascent for making my stay in Tsfat as pleasant as it could have been. Although I was only there for two days, the experiences I had during that time were absolutely amazing. I truly believe that because of the warmth of the staff at Ascent I was able to reach new heights in my personal connection with g-d and for that I am eternally grateful.

I gave Ascent a mention on my most recent blog post which details a story of tremendous divine intervention that I experienced on my trip back to Jerusalem this past erev Shabbos. Had it not been for Ascent I don't know if I would have been able to handle the situation as calmly as I did.

Daniel M. Feinberg, New York

Thank you from my heart --really!-- for the excellent emails that you send me each week. Unlike most of the amail I receive which I immediately delete, yours I look forward to and read with great enjoyment. Each piece is educational and beneficial, and renews for me the appreciation of how sweet is our Torah.

Leah Peretz, Givataiyim (Israel)

I just wanted to thank you for your KabbalaOnline Magazine, which I subscribe to. Your writings are so excellent.
Angela, Washington State USA

I attended a recent relationship conference at Ascent. i appreciazted it so much. What i liked the most about it was the different age groups of those attending and those presenting. The sincerity of the presenters was touching and moving. The information really boosted the confidence of many people. Also, as a result i seem to have met the most perfect match for me that is humanly or heavenly imagineable! I also made some good friends from the roommate situation.

Nechama Haber, New York - Haifa

Without a doubt ASCENT has an extraordinary staff and a most pleasant atmosphere, as well as professional-quality teachers who are at the same time wise,interesting and sensitive.I left for home fully charged with adrenalin; I didn't want the experience to end. People who haven't been there yet just don't know what they are missing.

Alex, Beit Shemesh

I first came to Ascent in 1994 when I made my first trip to Israel as a tourist. Ascent opened it's heart and loving arms to me as they do to all who pass through it's doors. They provided me a clean, safe, place to stay as well as a venue to study the great works of Judaism in my native language. They provided classes with learned Rabbaim, Prayer services, and Hospitality unparalleled in my experience. I was personally invited to the homes of the Directors of Ascent and welcomed by their families and friends. As time passed and I continued to visit Israel and Sfat, I never missed a chance to visit with the wonderful Staff of Ascent at every opportunity. Their friendly faces and warm welcomes added a joy and a sense of home to all my travels.

More years went by. I took my Aliyah in March of 2011. I decided to settle in the Galilee and found myself in the village of Birya, just north of Sfat, in walking distance to Ascent. Each day as I finish my Ulpan in Sfat I can always count on Ascent to offer a place for me to pray, study, meditate and learn. I meet people from all over the world who are experiencing the same phenomena as I. The warm wonderful loving atmosphere provided by the Staff of Ascent serves as a beacon of light to all who cross it's threshold.

May G-d continue to bless Ascent with success in all its undertakings, and may The Almighty bless all who involve themselves in the support of this organization.

Chaim Tzvi Schechter, NY->LA->Tsfat-Biriya

"Where did the stories go?

You took down the stories on the website? Oh dear. Please put them back up.

Kimberly Hub

ASCENT's response: Don't be upset, Kimberly. The stories are still there on the Ascent website. Just, for technical reasons, they've been moved under "Torah." Just roll your mouse over "Torah" on the top menu bar and you will see them. Thank you for asking.


Thank you for the beautiful Zohar interpretations you send to me each week. I LOVE and MISS you Ascent & Safed and Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai in Meron!

Lindsey Zerivitz, USA

Just a note to let you know that I appreciate the stories and happenings you bring to us on your website and in the email subscriptions.... You connect us with Rabbis of days gone by, in a way that their lives are still living and being told today.


Thank you for including me in the lessons and the stories that you mail out. They are so good and so rich. The ways of the Jewish People are so opposite those of the world that it's staggering! Some of these Truths we have never even thought of before! But you teach them in such a beautiful way--so soft and gentle. You have so much to teach the world.

What a superb revelationis this "Baal Shem Tov Encounters Moshiach" letter (Holiday Mailing #127, 18 Elul 5769/2009). I will read it regularly from now on. Thank you from the ends of the earth!

Serge (Zeilik Moshe Ben Shmuel)) Kemelmager, Wellington - New Zealand

Your stories are good- sometimes great- but why not make up a really great one. You have imagination- right ?

B. Nathan, JerusalemYT: When (if?) we start a fiction list, I can make up some stuff for it. Meanwhile, these stories are supposed to be true, or at least we are supposed to believe that they could be true...or at least I have to believe they could be true!

I laughed and laughed at the Forty Days and Forty Nights story! It was so good! How wonderful that an audio section had been put up on the site!

When I receive my copy of Ascent Quarterly, and other mailings from you, it transcends the distance between here and my spiritual home, Tsfat. I regain my faith in myself and others, knowing that there is a community that thinks, feels and lives in a place that surely must be the closest I have come to the center of conviction in Jewish faith. Thank you for personifying this conviction.

Brad Solomon, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

I'm not even religious. But that doesn't stop me from thinking. I thought, "What's with the booths?" Looked up sukkot on Google, and there was your website with an answer!

Your wonderful lesson about Lag B'Omer teaches me how is important to consider my neighbor, and to speak well about others.

Thank you so much for your masterpieces, the stories you send me are the highlight of my week.
Daniel Y. Kaye, Sydney Australia

I make 8 copies of your stories every Shabbat and distribute them among everyone at our table and everyone reads one paragraph. Everyone really enjoys them. Keep up the good work.
Gershon Wachtel, Toronto

I am writing to let you know that I appreciate what you have been doing with your website and e-mail lists. The fact that you are making the information available in a choice of formats makes it possible for everyone to receive the stories and Torah explanations, as well as updates on the activities you have at Ascent.  As an Accessibility Consultant whose concept is Holistic Environment and being that I happen to be blind, it gives me a good feeling to have choices as to how I can read information on the web. You have done something here with great honor and I want you to know that I greatly respect and appreciate your efforts. You are making a wider population including blind people aware of the Torah portions in a modern and sometimes difficult medium. You set a great example to others by your actions.

Cliff Schulman, Oregon

Wonderful stories! Made even more so by the fact that they are true.
Andrea Hyatt

Thank you for sending these stories. It makes me cry to know that there are still some incredibly wonderful Jewish souls in this world. Like yourself.


From our Facebook wall:

Some pictures make you feel like you're actually there. this one does it for me. fills me with the warm glow of Ascent and Tsfat.

Shifra Emuna

"I remember Ascent fondly , living there, what a great thing it was! SO AWESOME!

Daniel Gil, Boston, USA

You can now see both photos on this site or on our "Ascent Tsfat" Facebook wall

December, 19, 2010

I just wanted to tell you that your stories that you email each week often move me to tears.
Natalie Shell, Tel Aviv, Israel



A profound comment on our story #683 from a reader that wishes to remain anonymous:

Hmm.... I wonder about the message learned from this story. If the Rebbe needed time to think about the answer, it obviously wasn't so clear. Who knows -- maybe the Rebbe attempted to discern how Reb Noah would fare in his future incarnation and realozed that in THIS CASE Gehenom would be better.

On the other hand, if someone has no Rebbe and he needs to choose on his own, a certainty is always better than a unknown resolution! Gehenom is a sure ticket to Heaven while a reincarnation may make matters worse. I'm sure Reb Noah was no dummy and knew this already. But once you have a Rebbe, you can rely on being able to clarify the unknown -- so he asked his Rebbe! Since the Rebbe didn't give the simple answer immediately, it seems he must have been busy checking the possible results of the unknown - another incarnation - with his Divine inspiration.

I believe this is the correct interpretation here, and it adds a much deeper dimension to understanding what a Rebbe can do for his chasidim.

ASCENT's response: We agree. Great! Thank you.

I love your website... I can get lost in it for hours! Thanks for the great work,

Shoshana Goldlioust, Toronto, Canada

I love your Pirkei Avos sections. Wonderful Chassidic and mystical insights!
Devorah Leopold

The more I read about Kabbalah, the more secure I feel and the more I feel close to what is important and understand what is not. I am committed to studying more everyday. I wish there was someone close to talk to and ask questions to. So the daily mail from has become more than important to me! Thank you for the sharing of your wisdom with me.

Love the new look. It's much easier to navigate and more professional looking. It more truly reflects the excellent content this website offers.

Zev Gross, Wisconsin USA

I checked out your web page. It's really great! You've sure come a long way since I helped you a little with DBASE 3 back in 1987!

Avrohom Gershon, San Diego, CA

I am writing a story about my experiences there for the New Yorker magazine. I would like to quote the lovely description of Tsfat on your website. I am writing the story in a way that conveys the love that connects us all — when we're open to and respectful of the differences - the diversity — that adds so much flavor to the stew! Rather than letting the differences divide us.

Louise Hauck, New York

My  family and I are coming to Israel for a year and want to start our year (next summer) with an Ulpan. I read your website and am interested in learning more about Summer Ulpan possibilities.

Professor Charles H. Fine, Cambridge, MA

Great looking site! I like your idea of weekly subscriptions. I have one suggestion, you should have an opening page with the picture from the covers of your magazine as a large opening graphic. I also think that some of the photo's you have are great and should be shown in smaller sizes on the opening page. They could also be made into links to their respective topics. Oh yea, did you also consider putting a map of how to get to Ascent from within Tsfat on the site?

Nachum Cherman, Encino, CA

YT: The map is done; a photo gallery for the home page is coming very soon, G-d willing.


I have been reading articles from KabbalahOnline for about 5 years now. This site, as well as other reading materials referenced in articles contained herein, have brought me to a wonderful understanding, appreciation, and love for the Holy Torah.

Nelson Jimenez, USA

Your commentary on Gate or Reincarnations [Shaar Gilgulim from Kitvei HaArizal] is by far superb and really insightful! It just makes sense. Amazing, really.
Michael Levi, London

Love the new look. It's much easier to navigate and more professional looking. It more truly reflects the content this website offers.
B. Gross, Michigan

Real Kabbalah for those of us trying to understand the hidden torah. Thank you for this!
Jeannette Lieberman, Seattle?

Your site is amazing and I have made other people attend in the Netherlands. In our difficult time and secular indoctrination by secular scholars, many people are looking for spiritual, better answers.
Dr. H. Dubbelman, Erasmus University, Rotterdam

I just listened to my first kabbalah mini-shiur on your website. I cried. Thank you.
We are so far away from any 'live' Judaism here in Hobart, that to hear Rabbi S Kopp's voice was like drinking from a fountain in the middle of a wilderness.
pnina clark, Hobart Tasmania

This is by far one of the best resourced, and well-researched sites today. Articles are extremely interesting, varied and an educational experience.

I sent a prayer through you and now I am receiving a huge blessing.
David Dome, England

Are the pictures you show here for sale? I am looking for beautiful picture for gifts, and I found it. Thanks.
Patricia Reed

I am just beginning to study Kabbalah and already realize how many layers of understanding there are to be gained. Thank you for sharing your informative website.
Ali McCauley

Greetings from Aghilham. I think you have the best site out there.
J.Jothiraja, Tamil Nadu, India

I'm very interested in learning about Kabbalah and I think this site is a very good introduction to it. .
Jair Stedile, Brasil

I think that this site is the very heart of the Kabbala in Internet. Because of this I apply to you to translate your articles in other languages to become more attractive for people who don't know how to speak English so well.
mtulio oliveira, Brazil

Thanks for all these very interesting information about kabbalah. I like to know all about it, but there is no way from inside my country-Iran. Is there any site I can be helped? May all the beings be in peace and God's love always. Thanksfully,
ravan kahriz, IRAN (!)

Hi great site and e-mails, especially the "The Weekly Online Email Magazine" which is great.
Rael, South Africa

I found the article fascinating and would love more information about Kabbala and masculinity and feminity. Thank you for the wonderful educational source
judith ann atkins

I found this series of articles on the authorship of the Zohar interesting. It will make a good reference, because it fills a real need.
malcolm schosha

"Mystical_Aspects_of_Femininity" was a most brilliant article which I have saved to use as daily guidance. The wisdom within it is relevant to my own name and the realities of my own life. I am speechless to read this article which is right on target.



It is much better to release authentic kabbalistic teachings for people who are searching for spirituality, rather than see people end up with false kabbalistic teachings and think they have the real thing. Keep up the good work KabbalahOnline!
S Avram

I love your site, and use it for furthering my studies often. I feel this is one of the best sites on the subject that there can be found on the net. Keep up the good work!
Jerry Erickson

I enjoy your website very much. I found a lot of useful information. As a self study Kabbalah student your site is a big help for me. Thank you.
benny barr


Thanks for the wonderful weekend I spent with you at Ascent on Chanuka. Even though my English and Hebrew are not quite well, I really learned and enjoyed a lot. Nice place, great meals, beautiful music, interesting hike, and best of all, very nice people. It was a great experience and I hope to return again soon.

Leticia, Chile

Thank you so much for the extraordinary Rosh Hashana event that you, the Ascent staff, provided last week. All we can think about is how we want to come again as soon as possible. Of course there are many possible places to stay at for a Jwish holiday, but none compare to Ascent and and the way each staff person fills so perfectly his or her specific function. Thanks again to each one of you for lweaving us with this wonderful feeling. May you continue to do great work and to expand, but without sacrificing in the slightest the genuineness with which you related to each person.

Orit Yerucham & Esther Shaar, Netanya

i attended Tu b'Shvat Seder at Ascent many years ago. it was the most memorable and best Tu b'Shvat ever!

Ela Tych, Sydney, Australia

ASCENT's response: No it wasn't; this year's was.

I really had an amazing time in Tsfat and at Ascent. Thank you for teaching and inspiring me. I miss it there.
Daniella Jebreel, Manchester, England

Ascent is my unofficial home away from home: the amazing people I meet here, the perfect view of the mountains up on Acent's porches, the helpful staff. I LOVE Ascent-of-Tsfat.

Adalia Danielle Salomaa, Jerusalem (moved from Mansfield, Massachusetts)

I write the following from the heart, without thinking too much.

Two weeks ago, when I began my journey through Israel, I put my guitar and backpack in Ascent in the Old City of Tsfat. Ascent is a center for the study of kabbalah in a chabad setting. The center is managed with love, giving and devotion by the chasidim.

The beauty of Tsfat and the area to be seen from the balconies of the center is breathtaking. Together with the narrow twisting lanes, the inhabitants and the hidden stories, it creates a feeling of magic. But above all, I merited during those days to realize the beauty of the Jewish people, with living examples in front of my eyes functioning from a place of pure Ahavat Yisrael ("love of a fellow Jew") and joy. During my stay there hundreds of people from all over the world passed through the center. They sang, danced, prayed and learned and blessed all the Jews in the world.

The center volunteers permanently to help the poor, the old and anyone in need of aid. All this with great modesty and a sincere smile. Then, Shabbat evening (Friday night) many of the chasidim in the community host the guests who stay at Ascent with true generosity.

I felt that it was the right thing to do, to stop for a moment and just thank those wonderful people in whose merit I learned anew what joy is. And so, thank you very much, Nadav Cohen, Natalie, Yehudit, Rabbi Moyal, Yehoshua and all the staff of Ascent. May you be blessed.

Nir Hacham, Rehovot. Israel

Shalom from Belgium. I still remember my stay at your place in May with joy.

Beatrice van Langenhove

I thank the people behind this website. It has really helped build me in such a beautiful way. Whenever i have something bothering me, I pray and read the articles here, and before am even done, my mind clears up, and my heart listens.
Mariah Mulenga, Lusaka, Zambia

I am really not into Kabbalah and my friends in Ascent know that! But I appreciate how they make everyone feel free and comfortable, their warmth and dedication. And Ascent is one of rare places I found where the teachings of Rambam are appreciated!"

Elisheva Barre

It was incredible! We loved Shabbat here so much; full of love, warmth, positive energy! Amazing lectures. Awesome people. We felt like we were part of a great family! We just felt so accepted and so special! I learnt such inspiring life lessons that I will take with me and give out to others! Ascent Rocks! May G-d continue to give you the resources the and amazing energy to be able to make the whole world see how beautiful it is to be A Jew! I'm sure in heaven they are also dancing with us.
Chaya Sara Rabinovitz

There are no words to describe this shabbos we just had at Ascent. I never had such a shabbos in my life. It inspired me and my friend Sara Avni sooo much. I intend to study in Tsfat next year .All thanks to you! You guys really inspired me!
Faigy Fried

Thank you for the most amazing experience in Safed. I had a wonderful Shabbat and look forward to returning soon!

Abbey Weintraub

I wish I were there. I loved the classes when I was at in Tzfat. I pray that I will get back home soon. Miss you guys big time.

Caryn Oshry, South Africa

I was in tzfat with my family this past summer and we stayed on the same street as you, so we always popped in to Ascent and i really loved it! it has such a warm open feeling and it is really a beautiful place.

Layle Gurewicz

I stayed at Ascent in early January and had a lovely time. Thank you very much! Everyone was friendly, the workshops were great, and words cannot fully express the beauty of Safed.

Molly Moses, Harvard U, Cambridge, Mass.

Dear Ascent-niks,

I want to thank you for an amazing and wonderful "Got Menorah?" Chanukah 2009 weekend in Tzfat! The welcome, the learning, the songs, the food, the schmoozing--and running into an old friend -- WOW!

I know everything comes from G-d but I think you guys deserve some credit, too! You're doing great -- keep it up!


Ruth Mastron, Palm Springs, Calif.

(an excerpt - for full letter, click here)

Tsfat is the most beautiful and spiritual place that I have ever encountered. The stone streets with the drainage depressions down the middle, the beautiful ancient architecture, and the ubiquitous blue building walls are all stunning. And the view! -- that beautiful view of the mountains. And the sunsets. It's easy to see why kabbalah and mysticism began and developed here. The holiness of the air of Tsfat is palpable. You can stand in the center of town, surrounded by noise and sights and smells, and still breathe in the holiness. You can tune everything else out.

Donna Gorshel Cohen, Brookline, Mass.

I love this place!

Just hilarious! Sweet and mysterious! Wise and deep!

Now I love Judaism!

Always interesting!

Thanks, and may this Tsfat light will always be with me.

Camila Calle, Bogota, Columbia

Dear Rabbi Leiter,

Just wanted to drop you a line to express how fabulous the Ascent experience is. I was at the hostel in November 2008 -- the guy with the white Greek fisherman's hat. I am happy that the staff convinced me to stay through a Shabbat. You have an excellent staff.

Morley Goldberg, California

[From one of the Summer 2009 Volunteers, at the end of the season]

Dear Ascent Staff,

This has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life, and definitely the best summer (out of a mere 17 of them), and I think it is thanks to you. Staying in Tzfat, at Ascent, has changed me so much. It has helped me mature spiritually and connect more to the Jewish people.

So I want to thank you, all of you, for being so patient with me. For sitting down and listening, for having eye to eye conversations where you listened to my opinions and regarded them as valid and not just the ramblings of a teenager. You helped me connect. You helped me understand and accept the parts of Judaism that I previously disliked with a passion, and although I still don't agree with many of them, your patient method of explaining them to me has really made me understand the reasons behind these things.

I am positive that this summer will stay with me for the rest of my life, and I truly hope that Hashem will help me find my way back here in the future.

Ayelet Abramson, Sweden

On a trip to Israel to attend the wedding of a gifted student, which ‘happened’ to fall out a few days before the famed ‘Birkat Hachama,’ the blessing of the sun, I merited to see an open miracle.... (For full letter, click here)

Yehudis Fishman, Boulder, Colorado

Thank you so much for allowing us to experience such a beautiful and loving side of Tsfat and for being so welcoming and generous to us. It is people like you that bring us back to Israel and make up proud to be Jewish. Hope to see you again very soon!

Rachel Refael and Dani Shifman, Melbourne, Australia

...The highlight came as we celebrated the Shabbat (Dec. 2008) with a Farbrengen on Friday night after we and all the other guests returned from Shabbat dinner with local families....I discussed my predicament with all the lecturers, seeking some guidance.

full letter

Moshe Arenson, Netanya

We would love to come to this year's (2008) Chanuka seminar. We are a married couple, who met last year on this same seminar! If it wasnt as a result of your unbelievable seminars and hospitality, this might not have been possible, specially since we are of different nationalities (Australia & South Africa). We want to come back to mark our anniversary so it would really mean alot to us if you can fit us in.
Thanking you so deeply
Joshua and Danielle Slonim, Johannesburg, South Africa

Ascent replies:

Of course you can come. We are excited too. Happy anniversary!

I want to tell you that "Soul Trek Hiking Adventures 2008" was one of the most incredible experiences I ever had. You are all wonderful people with warm open hearts, and I enjoyed every single moment. Thank you again. I hope you will post some of the many photos you snapped during the hikes.

Yael Dayan, Holon, Israel

Ascent replies:

Yael, thanks for taking the trouble to let us know. Some (10) of the photos now appear on this website, and many more (40) in our Facebook. We look forward to your next visit.

The Shavuot 2008 seminar was outstanding!
1. The all night study sessions were insightful and personally meaningful.
2. The group meals and the 'farbrengens' were delightful, especially Rabbi Leiter's spontaneous speech.
3. Osher Cohen did a great job leading the singing and dancing.
4. Participating in a Shavuot dinner with a local family made the festival more personal. I had dinner with Shlomo and Shira-Yehudit Glilman and their family. Please give them my regards.

Yosef Koelner, South Florida

Dear Rabbi Kaye,
(an excerpt - for full letter, click here)

This experience of revealing my self through finding my personal pattern in the Torah was both amazing and frightening. When you see it written in the living Torah no longer can you put it aside. You now know that you are who and why you are because of The Holy One, Blessed Be He. I am still shaking from this revelation. There is nothing in this world I could ever do to thank you for this revelation.

I think that every Jew that comes to the Ascent should be able to benefit from this Personal Torah Code experience.

Daniel Posner, Crispin, Golan Heights

Ascent replies:

They can; all they have to do is request. It can be done via telephone and email too, but for that we request payment.

Hi Rabbi Big Mo,
Every couple years I reconnect with you - best way of you remembering me was that on Chanukah 1999 we were swinging each other while dancing and your shoulder went through the glass door! Still one of best Shabboses of my life. Since those days and becoming more religious, after spending nearly 2 years at a yeshiva in Yerushalayim, I moved to Toronto and am now blessed with an incredible wife and 3 kids.
Jason Lapidus, Toronto

Mark and I met at ASCENT's Day of the Ari Kabbalah seminar, got engaged at the Sukkot program, and were married in Montreal in December. There should be more places like ASCENT!

Laura Hillman / Miami, FL

Thank you for the gift of Ascent - A special "non-threatening" place where people of all ages and walks of life can come together to learn and grow.

Andee Goldman, Netanya/Nevada

I wanted to thank all of you that made my couple of days amazing. The experience in Zefat was one of the most unbelievable, unforgettable and meaningful moments I will never forget. I can say that the time I spent in Ascent made me understand how Judaism, Torah and commitment to being Jewish is important. I can honestly say I didn't have much knowledge of what it is to be a Jew. Now I believe the time spent here transformed me and my understanding of Judaism and what responsibilities I have as a Jewish woman.

I will continue in my journey of finding out more about Judaism. I plan to go to classes and learn Torah. So thanks to everyone that works and participates in Ascent. You/they made me understand and feel pride for being a part of an amazing, special and blessed family (being Jewish). Thank You; G-d be with you.

Faina Mekibel, Moscow

We've thoroughly enjoyed our time here. As reform Jews, too often we're a bit intimidated by "the guys in black." We've always known that we are really Jewish brothers and sisters, but now we've also experienced first-hand what menschen they are!

Bill and Laura Merrill, Minneapolis

Ascent was wonderful! I met very interesting people and a lot of my questions were answered. Now I want to learn more about my Judaism and grow with it  The mikveh tour also really inspired me to learn more. Everything, from your hikes to the lessons, is great.

Nicole Levy, Toronto

 The media center is a blessing. It allowed me to answer some questions I've had on my on my mind, as did asking questions of the people around me. The staff was very helpful. I felt my level of Judaism was accepted and appreciated other people's points of view.
Jesse Blum

I would have liked more time with the Shabbat host families because they were so nice

Leanne Milner, USA


After being in Israel for two months, I came to Tsfat for a short visit. I soon found it impossible to leave and instead of spending just one night at Ascent, I stayed one more night and one more night.....The hospitality and friendship I was shown are uniquely special. I found so many opportunities to learn and observe Judaism. In fact, I kept Shabbat here for the first time since being in Israel. I took back with me many  precious memories and new perspectives.

Hannah Seaton, Cheshire, England

ASCENT was an exhilarating experience. I met a lot of new people and learned a lot about my heritage. I would highly recommend ASCENT to anyone visiting Israel and exploring their Judaism.

Jerry Stein / Boston

I think your place is fantastic. It provides great access to a holy and peaceful city.

Shalom Bochner / Albany, NY

About eight years ago I and some friends (one of whom happens to now be my wife of seven years) stayed at Ascent for Shabbat. We were extremely excited by the whole experience.To this day, Hindy and I still talk about how spiritually uplifting it was sitting on the balcony at night and looking at the stars.

Steven Strauss, Flushing, NY

I was amazed by the energy at this learning center. After two days, I had barely seen Tsfat as I spent the majority of my time attending the classes, having long discussions with several learned Rabbis, and exploring the excellent library. Ascent welcomed me like family. I was extremely moved by this atmosphere. Throughout the week, I met numerous Jewish guests from around the world, and we shared our experiences both inside and outside the classroom. So I know that others were also deeply moved at Ascent.

Daniel Strauss / WUJS - Arad

I had an especially memorable time in Tzfat, including touring and hiking in the Galil & Golan. I'm not a very observant Jew, but I learned so much with you that I wish I had an opportunity to find out more. In Israel it seemed part of the norm.

Susan Fisher / Pennsauken, NJ

I learned more at ASCENT than in four years at university!

Al Friedman / Baltimore

My time there is among my greatest memories. I hung a picture of the sunset over Mt. Meron over my bed. I am now trying to keep that feeling here in Texas, but there is nothing quite like Shabbos on your balcony, singing Lecha Dodi as the sun sets. Thank you for your warm southern hospitality in Northern Israel.

Mark Chess, Houston

I was at one of your Saturday night Music Fests. It was impressively organized and thoroughly enjoyable. I congratulate everyone involved on doing a really first-class job!

Zalman Tornek, Denver

Israel to me meant working on a kibbutz. I came to a six-month kibbutz ulpan and study program and must admit I was disappointed. The people on the kibbutz seemed antagonistic to Judaism, and some of them knew even less about it than I had learned in Sunday school. Once I went to Tsfat for a day and sat in on a program hosted by ASCENT. As a Zionist, I had always felt that the religious people were ruining Israel, but then I saw how they were also interested in building Israel, but in their own way. I came back for a Shabbat a few months later and now feel that religious people can and should work together with everyone else to build a stronger Israel.

Jody Greenfield / Austin, TX

I have spent many hours telling stories and passing on the knowledge I learned from everyone at ASCENT. My mother cries as she listens. In Tsfat, I found my Jewish heritage, knowledge, religion, and true friends. I really appreciate you all welcoming me into your families.

Ari Scott Casper / Potomac, MD

If it wasn't for ASCENT, my husband, Avi, and I wouldn't have discovered ourselves Jewishly and probably wouldn't even be with Judaism at all.

Sara Novick / formerly of Westchester County, NY


Do your remember a skinny hairy guy, just arrived from India, who stayed for several days last August? ....I am writing from Jerusalem where I am studying at a yeshiva. Thanks for helping me.

Yaacov (James) Lefcoe / Jerusalem

I brought my husband, Harvey, to ASCENT because while I really had gotten into Judaism after we made aliyah, he was deadset against it. I wanted them to convince him that Judaism was the only way. I can't say that they completely succeeded (or even that they tried -- it's very relaxed there), but he did agree to go to some classes locally after spending a weekend in Tsfat with ASCENT. I would recommend ASCENT as a great place for beginners or people who don't know anything about Judaism and even if they don't want to know anything about Judaism.

Joan Fenn / Rehovot

We stayed at the Jerusalem Plaza for a few days and we stayed at Ascent for a few days; Ascent was better!

Shlomo & Olivia Schwartz / Los Angeles

I cannot put into words the appreciation for the time, warmth and the care lavished upon myself and my friends on those special few days that we shared with you. Everyone made us feel part of the family, from the friendly smile at the reception, the discussions late in the evening, to the classes in the morning. Our visit to Ascent was as refreshing as an oasis in the dessert.
Robert Leach, Ilford, England

I think of you all the time. I had Shabbos with a couple I met at Ascent and we toasted that we should help each other keep Tsfat alive in our hearts. Over Chanuka I went to the East Coast to visit yet another couple I met there.

Rand Kaplan, Los Angeles

I came to Ascent for Succot & Simchat Torah, and had an incredible, stimulating experience. One of biblical proportions, in some ways.

Aron Shub, Tel Aviv University



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