This was the final week before we go on a two-week break, and the first two years, and the Beit Midrash year, we all doing intensive chazara and taking their final exams. Years 3 and 4, who had taken their finals two weeks ago, continued to learn Niddah, moving on to the topic of stains and colors. They also began doing their shimush, practical apprenticeship, with Rabbi Love on marot, learning how to discern different colors and determine what stains are problematic or not.
On Tuesday afternoon, Years 3 and 4 continued their Lifecycle curriculum, which is now dealing with the high school and college years. At the end of the afternoon, students had a session with Rabbi Yehudah Sarna and Ms. Michelle Greenberg-Kobrin on the important topic of dating and interdating in college. Prior to that, they had first heard a shiur from me on the topic of tzniut and clothing - how these ideas have been drastically changed, in unhelpful ways, from their original articulation in the Gemara and poskim, and how different halakhic and cultural approaches to this topic have a profound impact on women's and girls' self-image regarding their body and sexuality. The goal is to embrace an approach to tzniut which is true to the original approach in the Gemara and poskim and which combines - for men and women - a modesty of dress, on comportment, and of being with a healthy self-image and sense of self.
As it was Chanukah, we had a number of special events. On Tuesday after mincha, Gabe Greenberg (Class of 2012) gave a brief and inspiring talk on the topic of the miracle of Chanukah. On Wednesday, Rabbi Weiss gave a sicha to the entire yeshiva on the connection of Chanukah to the principle of gratitude, and how important expressing gratitude was not for the receiver, but for the one who shares it.
On Tuesday night, we had a wonderful chagiga at the yeshiva, with a latke cook-off (in which I did not participate this year!), Chanukah gelt, dreidel, and menorah making. It was a great evening of connecting for the students, rebbeim, teachers, staff, and their families. A special thank you to Joel Dinin (Class of 2015), David Bookbinder (Class of 2015), Aaron Lerner (Class of 2013), and Brachyahu Schönthal (Class of 2013) and Allison Batalion for all their hard work in making this such a special evening!
Finally, it is with sadness that I share with all of you the passing of Dr. Charles (Chuck) Feldman, longtime board member and supporter of YCT, builder of the Roemer Synagogue and community, and a true leader of the Jewish People. The funeral took place at the Roemer Synagogue yesterday, Thursday afternoon, and shiva will be observed this week at the Feldman home, 1649 Hanover Street, Teaneck, NJ. My his family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
Chuck was someone who I consider to have been a true tzaddik, and I dedicate my Parsha and Chanukkah dvar Torah below in his memory. May his memory be for a blessing.