Sunday - Tzom Gedaliah - began with a Yom Iyyun on the Akeida, taught by YCT rebbeim and teachers, and hosted and co-sponsored by Congregation Rinat Yisrael in Teaneck. There was a large turnout, as people came to hear an all-star lineup of shiurim and speakers. The shiurim, the audio recordings of which are available on the web, were Akeida and Martyrdom in the Middle Ages, by Rabbi Dov Linzer; Akeida and Parent-Child Relationships, by Dr. Michelle Friedman; Akeida, Iyyov and Theological Paralysis by Rabbi Ysoscher Katz; and Akeida Themes in Biblical Literature by Rabbi Nati Helfgot. Rabbi Avi Weiss concluded the morning with inspiring words of machshava for the Yamim Noraim. We want to thank Rinat Yisrael, its esteemed rabbi, Rabbi Yosef Adler, and the co-chair of the adult education program, David Jacobowitz, for their hosting of the program and their hard work that made this program such a success!
As a bookend to that powerful day, tonight, Thursday, we will host an end of zman Leil Iyyun on Teshuva, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot, which is open to the community and will take place in our beit midrash from 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM. Please join us if you are able!
Learning continued full throttle during this last week of Elul Zman. In my shiur, students gave chaburot, seminars,on such diverse topics as the halakhic status of slaves as land or chattel, the mitzvah not to free one's slaves and the religious/theological challenges that that represents, the limits put on redeeming captives out of concerns for the present and future well-being of the community, and those who can and cannot write sifrei Torah, mezuzot, and tefillin.
On Wednesday, all the students, rebbeim and staff participated in an atzeret Tfillah for Gilad Shalit and the missing IDF soldiers. This service was broadcast live from the tent of the Shalit family in Jerusalem, and was co-sponsored by over 80 schools including YCT. For more information, see here.
We want to wish a big Mazel Tov to Rabbi Menashe and Donna East on the birth of a baby boy last Friday night, Shabbat Shuva. The bris will be - G-d willing - this Yom Kippur. She'tizku li'gadlo li'Torah li'chuppah u'li'ma'sim tovim u'lihakniso bivrito shel Avraham Avinu bizmano.
And another big Mazel Tov to Rabbi Andy Kastner and Leslie Cohen-Kastner on the birth of a baby girl this Thursday morning! Mazel Tov to you and your families. She'tizku li'gadlah li'Torah li'chuppah u'li'ma'asim tovim.