As part of Mizrachi’s weekend of inspiration, Israeli television presenter, journalist and Torah educator Sivan Rahav-Meir spoke to the girls during their Friday morning assembly. Mrs Rahav-Meir is no ordinary journalist; she is a religious woman who lives in Jerusalem with her husband and their five children.
Mrs Rahav-Meir has interviewed public figures across Israeli society, ranging from Sara Netanyahu, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Lev Leviev and Natan Sharansky. Her weekly Torah talks on the sedra are broadcast on Galei Israel Radio and on social media.
Mrs Rahav-Meir spoke to the girls about her passion for journalism. At the age of 15, having interviewed everyone she knew – and having been published in the children’s magazines ‘Chupar’ and ‘Pashosh’, she began to interview young religious women. This led to an invitation to stay for Shabbat. During that Shabbat, a non-religious neighbour of her host asked to borrow a cup of sugar, which her host happily gave. This lead to a spirited discussion about whether this had been the right thing to do- if the woman was going to use the sugar to make a cake, she would be breaking Shabbat; on the other hand, if the host had not given her the sugar, the neighbour might have driven to buy sugar and therefore have broken more of the laws of Shabbat.
On the bus home that evening, she reflected on that discussion and the level of care. Her conclusion: that a religious life would be the one for her and she would still pursue her passion to be a successful journalist.
As a journalist, she interviewed Natan Sharansky, a politician and human rights activist, who was held in Soviet prisons from 1978 until 1986 charged with high treason and spying. This happened after his application for an exit visa from the former Soviet Union had been denied and his subsequent activism on behalf of refuseniks. Mr Sharansky said that ordinary Jews in Israel were braver then he was. When questioned about this unexpected statement he explained that in prison it was easy to do the right thing because there was a clear choice between right and wrong. But Jews in everyday life face daily choices about whether to do the right thing and uphold their faith and each of those choices is significant.
Mrs Rahav-Meir’s words both inspired and challenged the girls. She clearly demonstrated that you can be religious and you can succeed, even in the most challenging careers.