It certainly is no accident that Jonah Liben is attending classes at the Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies at The Jewish Theological Seminary. “My father went to The Rabbinical School of JTS; my older brother, Micah, is a third-year JTS rabbinical student; and Noah, another older brother, graduated from the List College Joint Program,” reveals Jonah.
A second-year student in the Joint Program, Jonah also chose to attend List College because of the prevalent environment of learning fostered at JTS. “I am continually challenging, forming, and reforming my Jewish value and practice systems, and I knew that I would be able to do so in a very open and intellectual environment at JTS,” he says.
List College has fulfilled Jonah’s educational and personal expectations: “I love the small classes and the teachers’ willingness to meet on a personal basis,” he says, “and JTS fosters open-minded, intellectual Jewish thought—most everyone has something substantive to add to the discourse.”
Jonah plans to make aliyah immediately after graduation. “I will go into the army and then go to graduate school after that. As a Jew, I believe that national service is an important to contribution to the Jewish people,” he says.
Before he gets to Israel, Jonah will continue to enjoy both classes such as, “God, Torah, and Israel in Modern Jewish Thought,” and the people at JTS. “My friends here are all great people who are able to discuss Jewish philosophy and relate it to string theory at three a.m.,” he explains.
In addition to bonding with his friends at JTS, Jonah can frequently be found outside of the Mathilde Schechter Residence Hall participating in AEPi fraternity activities at Columbia University; playing Wiffleball on the Columbia campus, and visiting his three of his brothers and sisters, all of whom are married and live on the Upper West Side, watching The Office and sharing laughs together.
Yet even before Jonah came to JTS, he knew it would be the perfect fit. Now that he is here, it’s even better than that.