Featured Student: Daniel Glass
Daniel Glass was born in Edgware, north west London, England. He attended Jewish schools throughout his education and grew up in a Modern Orthodox family. His family was involved in the local Orthodox synagogue and Daniel regularly attended the youth services which is where he learnt how to lead a service and read from the Torah. A few years after his bar mitzvah he met the assistant Rabbi of his synagogue at the time, and formed a very close relationship with him. Daniel felt that he was constantly asking him questions as well as being introduced to more books and starting to learn properly about Jewish thought and practical halacha.
Although the high school was an Orthodox school, it was open to all members of the Jewish community. In addition to the few compulsory Jewish Studies lessons, the high school offered many opportunities to get involved in the Jewish community, to learn about and experience a taste of Orthodox Judaism through shabbatonim, lunch shiurim and trips to see Jewish historical places and communities in Europe. During his final years of high school, Daniel got involved in the daily minyan at the high school, as well as helping some of the younger students who attended the school and assisting in the informal Jewish education department.
After high school, Daniel moved to Nottingham to study at the University of Nottingham where he got highly involved with the Jewish life on campus and became a very active member of the Jewish society at the university. Daniel became very close with the Jewish chaplains in Nottingham as well as Nottingham Chabad, almost becoming part of their families. Daniel recalled, “Some weeks I reckon I spent more time at their houses than I did in my own! Somehow the idea of being there was always more fun than being at home writing up lecture notes.” It was through these close connections to both the Rabbis and their families that Daniel was encouraged to grow in his Judaism and learning. This lead to Daniel spending a Summer at a yeshiva in Jerusalem where he received his first taste of how to learn properly.
“But as we all know, a taste of Judaism and how to learn is usually not satisfying enough,” Daniel commented. After finishing his degree he consulted his Rabbi, chavruta from the summer in Israel and various friends and “one name kept coming up again and again Shapell’s.” Since arriving in Elul, Daniel has thrown himself into the daily life at Shapell’s and has already noticed the changes. Daniel says he is finding the classes both engaging and encouraging without, as he put it, “pushing the students beyond what they can take.” He is enjoying the friendly but serious learning environment and is looking forward to the rest of the time he will spend here.