Growing up I didn’t come from a religious family. My father was raised Catholic and so was his father; that’s how I was raised. Though I went to Sunday school and celebrated most of the major holidays I still knew I was Jewish and grew up with some elements of Jewish culture in my life. Unlike other religions, Judaism isn’t universalizing. What makes someone Jewish is if their mother is Jewish (in my case) or through a conversion process, so no matter what religion I was raised in I was still always Jewish. As I got older this part of my identity allowed me to discover Jewish outreach groups around me, called kiruv organizations. With the push from these groups, I decided to attend Yeshiva and plan on achieving the goals I have set for myself.
The first of these goals is to develop skills in learning halacha. Halacha is considered Jewish law; though most people know of what Christians call the Old Testament (and what we call the Torah) when it comes to Jewish religious text, there also exists an oral tradition (though now written down) known as Torah Shebaal Peh. Part of this goal means to study these texts as they serve as a comprehensive view of all Jewish observances.
Another goal of mine is not just to learn halacha but also being able to learn how to learn it. One way that halacha in Judaism is studied is through the Talmud, which is a repository of the Gemara serving as commentary to the Mishna (concepts and elaboration and debates about those concepts.) Since these writings in their original form are in Lashon Hakodesh (biblical Hebrew) and Aramaic it takes time to be able to read and understand these texts which I hope to make progress in doing through practice.
The third goal of mine is to learn Hebrew as a spoken language. Since I am going to be in Jerusalem, I hope to be able to pick up the native language spoken there. With the help of Duolingo and constant emersion, I plan to be able to pick up on words and try to maintain a conversation with many of the Israelis surrounding the yeshiva.