Friday, May 27, 2011

Happenings at the Yeshiva

Our last week of the zman and of the year!  It was a week of intense chazara and test-taking, for all years - Beit Midrash students, Hilkhot Shabbat students, and Yoreh Deah students.  We had our last Night Seder on Monday night, with a big turnout and strong, intense learning. Also on Monday, we had the wonderful opportunity to have Rabbi Zushe Blech, widely considered one of the world's leading experts in modern Kosher food production and technology, author of "Kosher Food Production," and head of kashrut at Earth Kosher, visit the yeshiva and discuss practical challenges in giving local hashgachot and in industrial kashrut and hechsheirim.   Rabbi Blech was also - in the ancient past - my high school rebbe, and it was a real treat for me to have him at the yeshiva, now for a second time in the last 2 years.

Also this week, as part of our wrap-up, students met with their rebbeim for their yearend evaluation and review.  Fourth-year students had exit interviews with myself and Dr. Michelle Friedman, giving them an opportunity to reflect back on their four years at YCT, and to begin to think towards the future, when they leave and become rabbis.  At the end of the week, students also filled out evaluations for their classes and for the yeshiva's overall curriculum, which will give the staff valuable input regarding the individual shiurim, professional classes, and larger issues.

And I had the opportunity to once again - it is now becoming a tradition! - cook a goodbye lunch for the 4th year students, our soon-to-be musmachim.  We had a wonderful lunch of steak, schnitzel, rice and mushrooms, and asparagus.  It was a great opportunity to connect and bond before they all fly the coop to become rabbis in their various communities.

A huge MAZEL TOV to Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz (YCT 2010) and Shoshana Stein on their wedding this last Sunday.  Shmuly and Shoshana were married at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, with Rabbi Avi Weiss as the mesader kiddushin, and Rabbi Benjy Samuels of Shaarei Tefillah in Newton, MA as the mesader ha-ketuvah.   The wedding was tremendously powerful and uplifting.  YCT students and musmachim were there in abundance, as were many of Shmuly's rabbinic and social justice colleagues and friends.   Shmuly spoke beautifully at his tisch.  There chuppah was filled with dancing at every stage, and before the breaking of the glass, Ruth Messinger spoke about the broken aspects of our world, those truly starving and suffering, that we must always strive to improve.  Rabbi Weiss and Shmuly's and Shoshana's parents shared final words of blessing, and the rest of the afternoon was filled with dancing and celebrating.  It was wonderful to be a part of, and we wish the two of them many, many happy years together - shetizku livnot bayit ne'eman bi'Yisrael.

And another huge MAZEL TOV to Mordechai (Class of 2012) and Nisa Harris on the birth of a beautiful baby girl, weighing in at 6 lbs 12 ounces!  She'tizku li'gadlah li'Torah li'chuppah u'li'ma'asim tovim.

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