Friday, March 5, 2010

Happenings at the Yeshiva

On Monday, Shushan Purim, we held our Purim Chagiga during an extended lunch hour. There was a festive meal followed by a series of Purim shpeils. Some highlights include a student rendition of The Lion King, with its theme song, The Circle of Weiss, and my own rendition of My Fair Mikveh Lady, with the song "Get Me to the Mikveh on Time." It was a great chevre experience and a great way to start the week.

In our learning, more senior students spent the beginning of the week completing their chazara and taking their tests in Hilkhot Niddah, and the first and second year students continued their regular learning of Baba Kamma and Ketuvot.

On Wednesday and Thursday, students had special leadership and professional seminars. Third- and fourth-year students participated in an intensive three-day seminar (concluding today) on Community Organizing, taught by Jeannie Appleman and Meir Laikin from the Jewish Funds for Justice. This bottom-up leadership model is an important compliment to the more traditional top-down model of leadership which is taught in our other leadership seminars by Eitzah.

Other students spent the end of the week continuing their training in Israel education, which they had begun at the beginning of the year. Developed by Makom, an Israel-based organization which educates educators in Israel engagement, and taught by Rabbi Reuven Greenvald and others, this curriculum taught students the different goals and means of Israel engagement in Diaspora, and how to implement them in their various communities.

We were also privileged to have with us Ms. Shani Luria, head of the education department from Yad Vashem, who gave a class on Holocaust education. It was a fabulous presentation, and students were excited to be addressing this topic, one which is often completely ignored in our communities. We are planning on continuing to develop our relationship with Yad VaShem and its education department, and to do an intensive two-week session on Holocaust education this coming Elul zman.

On Thursday, Ms. Tammy Jacobowitz gave a guest parsha class on the chet ha'egal, the sin of the Golden Calf, and on the midrashim related to the people's giving of the jewelry in the making of the Calf.

We were blessed to have two simchas at the yeshiva this week, one virtual and one actual. In the virtual plane - but taking place in the real world in Israel - our musmach Rabbi Mike Schultz and his wife Rachael Schultz celebrated the bris of their son, Yotam Yosef. And, closer to home, our student Aaron Braun and his wife Marina, celebrated with their families the bris of their son, Idan Avriel. It was the first yeshiva bris in our new location - what better way to complete our chanukat habayit with the welcoming in of a new baby into our midst. She'tizku ligadlam li'Torah li'Chuppah u'li'ma'asim tovim. We look forward to welcoming Yotam and Idan into our class of 2032!

Our annual dinner draws near - it will be this Sunday at Ramaz - and we have been quite busy getting ready for it. It promises to be a wonderful event, and I look forward to seeing many of you there. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support. It means a great deal to us, and is especially appreciated in these difficult economic times. Thank you for helping us to continue to succeed in our critical mission of teaching, training and placing highly knowledgeable, professionally trained, open and inclusive Orthodox rabbis in pulpits, schools, and campuses across the United States. With 54 rabbis in the field - soon to be 63 - we have come quite far in ten years, and we could not have gotten this far without you. Thank you.

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