Friday, February 10, 2012

My Recent Trip to England

Last week I had the pleasure of spending Shabbat in the Golders Green neighborhood in London.   I had the opportunity to speak in several places and received a very warm reception from the entire community. 

A big yasher koach and todah raba to our student Dr. Benjamin Elton, a native of Manchester and an active lay leader turned rabbinical student, who coordinated my trip. 

On the day of my arrival, UK's major Jewish newspaper published a wonderful article about YCT and how we are attracting excellent students from England.  Here is an excerpt:

We talk to the head of a yeshivah at the cutting edge of modern Orthodoxy, Rabbi Dov Linzer, who is visiting the UK this week.
It is not uncommon for yeshivah heads to come here in search of potential students. But Rabbi Dov Linzer, who will be speaking at several United Synagogues over the weekend on his first trip to the UK, is different. His yeshivah, Chovevei Torah, is based in New York, not in Israel. And it is not just modern Orthodox, but "open modern Orthodox", modelled on the ideals of its founder, Rabbi Avi Weiss of Riverdale in the Bronx. 

To read the entire article, click here

A brief summary of the trip:

On Thursday afternoon I gave a shiur to the Kinloss Community Kollel on the topic of shaving on Chol HaMoed.  It was a classic lomdus shiur, analyzing the different opinions in the rishonim and poskim through a conceptual lens.

On Friday night, at the Hendon Synagogue, I gave a brief sermon related to the parsha, discussing two different types of belief: philosophical belief (belief that) and faith (belief in), and the relationship between faith and commandedness.

I spent Shabbat morning with Rabbi Dr. Harvey Belovski, Rabbi of the Golders Green Synagogue.  Following davening I spoke on the topic of "Is Foie Gras Kosher: The Dialectic of Ethics and Halakha."   The talk was enthusiastically received, and the conversation continued through the Kiddush (no foi gras served!) that followed.

Shabbat ended with a talk between mincha and ma'ariv at the Alei Tzion Synagogue on the topic of "Science and Halakha: Sympathies and Strategies."    

Motzei Shabbat, England was blanketed with 4-5 inches of snow.   Although such a snow is a bit of a rarity in England, it didn't deter a huge turnout to my final shiur, "Mechitza: Marginalization or Membership", which took place at Cambridge University.  I was impressed with the knowledge, thoughtfulness, and seriousness of the Cambridge students and it is no surprise that YCT has been blessed with so many star students who have come from Cambridge!

It was a wonderful few days in England, and I look forward to my next opportunity to return, to teach Torah, and to connect to all the wonderful people there.  

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