This week we also began our professional classes and our machshava classes in the afternoons. Over Monday and Tuesday, first year students had their first classes in Challenges of Modern Orthodoxy, taught by me, Philosophy of Prayer, taught by Rabbi Weiss, and Pastoral Counseling, taught by Dr. Michelle Friedman. Second- through fourth-year students had the first in a series of classes on Delivering Sermons taught by Rabbi Marc Angel. And, as this is a year that we are focusing on the synagogue for the upperclassmen, our third- and fourth-year students took their first classes on The Rabbi and the Synagogue and on Hilkhot Beit Knesset.
Our machshava classes took place on Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday, we welcomed back Dr. Marc Shapiro, who is teaching a class on The Challenge of Halakha and Modernity: the Responsa of Rabbi Yitzchak HaLevi Herzog, Rabbi Yaakov Yechiel Weinberg, R. Moshe Feinstein, and Rav Ovadyah Yosef. We are also honored to have Rabbi Yitz Greenberg teaching this semester a class entitled From Creation to Redemption. On Thursday, our own Paul Nahme gave his first class on The Religious-Legal Philosophy of Rav Soloveitchik and Rav Kook, and Rabbi Haim Ovadia began his series on Sephardi Poskim. Thursday ended with Rav Nati Helfgot's class on Fundamentals of Jewish Thought.
It is certainly a powerhouse lineup of professional and machshava teachers and classes that students will be treated to this year!
Wednesday night we also had our first Night Seder of the zman, and there was strong and intense learning throughout the night. We are also resuming our Kollel program this zman, with students program learning at the yeshiva two nights a week, every week.
We were also honored to have two guests this week. Rabbi David Kasher, YCT 2007, is the Director of Education at Keva, and one of the outstanding informal Jewish educators in the field today, visited the yeshiva this Monday. Keva has established over 30 learning groups through the Bay area, and is now expanding its reach nationwide. Rabbi Kasher spoke to the students about the privilege they have to be spending time now in the learning of Torah, and the opportunity they have to bring Torah to so many people in the larger Jewish community, who are in search of a life of true meaning and a happiness of depth that comes not from telling people what they want to hear, but what really challenges them and touches their souls.
On Wednesday we were treated to a visit by our incoming president, Rabbi Asher Lopatin. Rabbi Lopatin spoke to the students briefly about a case study from this most recent Simchat Torah in his synagogue and how they dealt with some of the tensions that can sometimes arise when it comes to Simchat Torah celebrations in a way that was inclusive and respectful. It was a great pleasure to have Rabbi Lopatin at the yeshiva, and we look forward to many more such visits over the course of the year.
Finally, a reminder that this Monday night, Oct 10, we begin our special Monday Night Lecture series. I will be giving the first series on "Jew and Non-Jew in Halakha". It will run 4 consecutive Monday nights: Oct 22, 29 Nov 5 and Nov 12, from 8:00-9:00 PM, at YCT in Riverdale. You are all invited to attend!