Friday, February 26, 2010

Happenings at the Yeshiva

On Monday, before the review period began, we reviewed the material that YCT produced two years ago for the YCT-JOFA-Drisha Kallah Teacher's Training Seminar. This material is a series of classes on Niddah used to train kallah teachers and have the key sources for all relevant topics in the original and with translation. This is material that Chatan and Kallah teachers and rabbis can draw on for creating a curriculum for Chatan and Kallah classes, and we have had ongoing discussions with the students about how rabbis can best structure such classes and best work with Chatan and Kallah teachers in their communities.
We also had the great opportunity to have Sally Mendelsohn, a master midwife and midwife teacher, come to the yeshiva and speak to the students about midwifery and the importance of balancing a medicalized approach to women's health with a midwifery approach.
On Tuesday, Rabbi Seth Farber, the founder and director of Itim, visited the yeshiva. Rabbi Farber and Itim are doing critically important work in creating meaningful lifecycle events for secular Israelis and in helping people in the areas of weddings, conversion, personal status, and the like. Rabbi Farber gave a fabulous talk to our students on confronting the challenges of psulei kehal, people who halakhically cannot marry, including cases of a mamzer, a Kohen with a divorced woman, and a Kohen with a convert. While noting that in 90-95% of the cases there is nothing that can be done, he stated that in 5-10% of the cases there are possible halakhic solutions, and he addressed the halakhic considerations and the realities of navigating the religious-political system in Israel.

We also had two simchas in the yeshiva this week. A big Mazel Tov to Aaron and Marina Braun on the birth of a baby boy this last Tuesday! The bris will be at the yeshiva this coming Tuesday, March 2. She'tizku li'gadlo li'Torah li'chuppah u'li'ma'asim tovim. Also a big Mazel Tov to Jeremy Baruch on his engagement to Rachel Levine from Brookline, MA! She'tizku livnot bayit ne'eman bi'Yisrael.

As you all know, our dinner is coming up a week from Sunday. This year we are honoring Mr. Stephen Bodurtha with our Tikkun Olam Award; Mrs. Tova and Mr. Norman Bulow with our Community Leadership Award; Mrs. Rella and Dr. Charles Feldman with our Chovevei Torah Award and Mrs. Mimi and Rabbi Jeremiah Wohlberg with our Lifetime Rabbinic Achievement Award. We are greatly appreciative to these community leaders for their support and accomplishments. We are also honoring our graduating seniors, the S. Daniel Abraham Semikha Fellows of 2010: Stephen Belsky, Yehuda Hausman, Davidi Jonas, Andrew Kastner, Daniel Levitt, Chai Posner, Zachary Truboff, Akiva Weiss, and Shmuly Yanklowitz. I hope to see many of you at the dinner. Please make an effort to come and to encourage others to come as well.

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