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For the week ending 23 November 2013 / 20 Kislev 5774

The “Juggling” Jew

by Daniel Keebler
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Dr. Mordechai Paul

Age: 31

Ramat Eshkol, Jerusalem
University of Calgary— Biology Major
Tel Aviv University– M.D. — Family Medicine

The Center Program Alumnus

Dr. Mordechai Paul had smooth sailing into beginner’s Judaism, listening to Torah lectures during long walks in Calgary. Little did Mordechai know that he was heading into a jam-packed, highly fulfilling juggling act between advanced levels of Jewish study and years of medical training.

The JLE trip left Mordechai so inspired that he stayed in Ohr Somayach an additional three months. Mordechai then began medical school at Tel Aviv University, and frequented Ohr Somayach at every opportunity. Eventually, the university dean gave him a two-year leave of absence to study in Ohr Somayach and get married.

Some family members thought Mordechai’s first medical procedure after graduating must have been a self-administered lobotomy, since he immediately went back to yeshiva for 12 months, with only a part-time job at a hospital. Yet Mordechai says that at the time “It worked out for us financially,” and that “my wife is always trying to figure out ways to maximize my learning.”

Today Mordechai attends an “early morning kollel” (learning before and after prayers at sunrise), followed by a full day of work in a family medicine clinic, and an evening learning Torah at another kollel. Mordechai traces his juggling success back to Ohr Somayach and says he is still close with the rabbis. To top it all off, Mordechai’s enthusiasm for Judaism was well received by his family; they now enjoy the beauty of Shabbat and are active members of the Jewish community in Calgary.

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