Friday, January 28, 2011

Happenings at the Yeshiva

In news around the yeshiva, my daily daf yomi, given Sunday-Friday, from 7:30 AM - 8:30 AM (and on Shabbat between Mincha and Maariv) is now live!   People can access the live video feed by clicking here, or by clicking on the link on the Yeshiva's home page.    This is in addition to the audio of the daf, which is available on  the yeshiva's website, as well as as a podcast.    I hope that for those of you interested in the daf yomi, you can take advantage of these shiurim.  Also, please let your friends know of these opportunities to participate in the daf!

Also this week there appeared two new, excellently written articles on the organ donation issue and the statement that I and more than 100 rabbis had signed.  "Rabbis Urge Brain Death Standard for Organ Donors," was the title of the article in the Canadian Jewish News, and the Jewish Star dealt with both the statement and the RCA's position in an article entitled "Is brain death enough? RCA says maybe."

In the yeshiva itself, we were thrilled to welcome Rabbi Chaim Jachter as a guest speaker this Monday.  Rabbi Jachter's head of the halakha department at TABC, and author of Grey Matter, a wonderful series of books on contemporary topics.  Many of Rabbi Jachter's articles, covering a wide range of topics in a clear and concise manner, and quoting all relevant sources, can be found on his website, which is highly recommended to all.   Rabbi Jachter gave a two-hour presentation to first- and second-year students, who are studying Shabbat, on the laws relating to and practical implementation of eruvs in a community.  He also met during lunch with third- and fourth-year students to discuss some of the most common questions in kashrut that a community rav will have to deal with.

On the following day, Tuesday, students began a new student-initiated and led chaburah, seminar, on Jewish thought issues related to kashrut and eating.    This chaburah was the first of a series, which will meet every other week on Mondays (the first one was an exception).  Gabe Greenberg (year 3) was our Nachshon, and volunteered to give the first one.  He spoke on Rav Kook and Eco-Kashrut, beginning with readings from Rav Kook and R. Arthur Waskow, and in particular dealing with the positives and the problematics of a heavily-emphasized focus on Torah values and an urgency regarding in realizing Utopian visions in this world, pointing out that Rav Kook himself cautioned gradualism in regards to these things.  Half the time was given to discussion and debate, which was heated, respectful, and passionate.  It is a great beginning to a process of serious reflection on the themes, values, and implications of the halakhot of kashrut.

Also on Tuesday, we began in my shiur a series of chaburot from students on some of the self-contained basar bi'chalav topics.  The first one was presented by Mordechai Harris and Eytan Yammer (who is now commuting from his congregation in Birmingham, AL - it's great to have him with us again!).   Mordechai and Eytan presented on the topic of two people eating at the same table, one eating meat and the other eating dairy.   On Monday, we will hear from Mishael Zion and Dan Vinik on the topic of the waiting period between meat and milk, and next Tuesday we will hear from Seth Winberg and Dani Passow on the topic of milkhig bread.

We also have two Mazel Tovs and one consolation to offer.  Mazel Tov to Simon (year 3) and Sivan Livson, on their new baby girl, Carmel Yehudit, who was named Monday at a minyan attended by many of the YCT students.  Also, a Mazel Tov to Akiva (YCT 2007) and Michal Herzfeld on the birth of a baby girl!  She'kulkhem tizku li'gadel b'noteikhem li'Torah li'chuapph u'li'ma'asim tovim!

And, finally, our prayers for a nechama go to Sara Tillinger Wolkenfeld, wife of David Wolkenfeld (YCT 2008), whose mother passed away this last Shabbat.   Sara and David serve as the JLIC couple at Princeton, and we wish both of them, and their families, strength during these difficult times.

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