This week was our first week back from our Pesach break, and we hit the ground running. Third- and fourth-year students wrapped up their study on hilkhot siddur kiddushin, covering the sugyot and the halakhot of chuppah, ketuvah, and sheva brakhot. We had a practicum of filling-in the blanks and proper spellings in the ketuvah, as well as special cases that require special sensitivity. On Monday students will be taking their final in hilkhot kiddushin as well as doing a virtual walkthrough from the first meeting with the bride and groom through the chuppah and sheva brakhot. Then, on to hilkhot aveilut!
On Tuesday, we were thrilled to welcome Rabbi Asher Lopatin, rabbi of the Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel Congregation, in Chicago, to the yeshiva. Rabbi Lopatin met with fourth-year students to hear their visions of their future rabbinates, and to share his wisdom and passion with them. Rabbi Lopatin also spoke to the entire yeshiva at the end of morning seder, and delivered a powerful sicha on the dialectic between halakhic innovation and a firm belief in Torah mi'Sinai and the immutable nature of the Torah.
As Wednesday night began Yom HaShoah, we began our special programming for this day on Wednesday afternoon. We had the great opportunity to welcome Shani Lourie, Educational Director Jewish World Department of The International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad VaShem to the yeshiva. Shani's work has been with educators, and now with future rabbis, to make them think seriously about Holocaust education - its goals, its curriculum, what to teach, how to teach, and what and how not to teach. Her first session with the students focused on rabbinic leadership during the Holocaust, and she continued her teaching on Thursday morning with sessions on the Holocaust and Jewish Identity and on the pedagogy of Holocaust education. We are deeply grateful to her and to Yad VaShem for these phenomenal classes - they will surely have an impact on how our future rabbis think and teach about the Holocaust.
Following these sessions, on Thursday after mincha, students participated in a kumzitzwith Joey Wiesenburg, who discussed the use of music as a way of engaging Holocaust memory. It was truly a powerful day for all the students.
Finally, a few Mazal Tovs are in order. Mazal Tov to Jonathan Leener (YCT class of 2016) on his engagement to Faith Brigham! Shetizku livnot bayit ne'eman bi'Yisrael! Also a big Mazal Tov to Jennifer Geretz, past Academic Coordinator at YCT. Jennifer and her husband, Daniel, celebrated the bris of their son, David Naftali, this Wednesday morning. She'tizku li'gadlo li'Torah li'chuppah u'li'ma'asim tovim!