Friday, February 19, 2010

Happenings at the Yeshiva

In our learning here at the yeshiva we are wrapping up hilkhot Niddah and this week we covered the very relevant topics relating to the wedding night - dam chimmud, chuppat niddah, and dam betulim. Students will be beginning their review-week next week, taking their finals, and then moving on to the learning of the laws of Aveilut. In Lifecycles we are also finishing up wedding issues, and this week covered halakhot related to the writing of the ketuvah. We will next study the laws of sheva brakhot, and then will be moving on the laws of gerut.

This week, I began giving the daf yomi at the yeshiva for the HIR community and for the yeshiva. We have just begun mesekhet Sanhedrin and for those who are participating - at 7:20 AM - they will be able to finish the tractate by the end of the school year. It is a great tractate, that beyond dealing with the structure of the courts and the punishments that are meted out, also addresses the theologically fascinating case of ben sorer u'moreh, the rebellious son, and the cases of ba bi'machteret, the burglar who comes in the tunnel and rodef, a pursuer, which have practical contemporary implications, such as in cases of a fetus who is endangering the life of its mother. Also, the last chapter (or second-to-last, depending on how one orders the chapters) deals with the theological issues of principles of faith and the World-to-Come. All in all, it will be great fun learning it. We have been recording it, and should begin posting it to our website shortly.

As is our yeshiva's minhag, starting on Rosh Chodesh Adar, we randomly pick a student a day to deliver a 3-5 minute Purim shtick on the following day. We began this week with two hilarious presentations - one from Aaron Braun on renting out the spare space at the yeshiva to create the 2020 YCT Olympics, and one from Aaron Lerner on the history of the Berlin Wall, and how it relates to the current configuration of the Beit Midrash and the history of the yeshiva. mi'she'nikhnas Adar marbim bi'simcha!

We announced this week that we will be beginning our Educators Program next year. This is a program that I have been working on, thanks to an Avi Chai fellowship, and will provide structured professional training for YCT students who are pursuing careers in education. The classes and internships will be directed to third and fourth year students, and will begin with an intensive summer seminar prior to students' third year. Ruth Fagen, a master pedagogue, will be heading this summer seminar, and she came to the yeshiva on Tuesday and described the goals and structure of the summer program to the students. The summer program will run from June 28-July 30, and will be incorporated into our summer learning program, with learning in the morning, and sessions and workshops in the afternoon. It will be open to people from outside the yeshiva as well.

For those of you in education who have this time free, and would like to spend a month at the yeshiva in talmud torah and developing your pedagogy skills, we would love to have you join us. If you are not in education, and wish to just spend the month learning, we will have a pure learning track as well. If you are interested or know someone who is, please contact Ruthie Simon ( for more information.

As I am sure many of you know, our annual gala dinner is coming up in a few short weeks. It will be on March 7 at Ramaz. Please consider coming, your presence would mean a great deal to us.

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