Due to the hurricane, there was no yeshiva on Monday or Tuesday. Riverdale was relatively unscathed, but being outdoors and travel to the yeshiva was not advisable or even possible during those days. On Tuesday the storm had largely passed, but major parts of lower Manhattan and Long Island were without power, and all public transportation was at a halt. On Rabbi Weiss' initiative, and thanks to the organizing and coordinating of Rabbi Ari Hart (YCT 2012), a large group of YCT students went down to the Lower East Side to provide water, batteries, flashlight, and companionship to homebound people left alone and afraid in the storm's aftermath. Students works in coordination with organized volunteer efforts, and their help was greatly valued and appreciated.
On Wednesday, the yeshiva reopened, although some students and rebbeim still had to struggle to come in. Some students continued in their relief efforts, and in particular a larger group went down in the afternoon after morning seder to continue the work from the previous day.
Regular seder resumed on Wednesday, with students continuing in their studies of hilkhot Shabbat and hilkhot Ta'arovot.
Rabbi Yehuda Gilad, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Maale Gilboa had been scheduled to speak on Wednesday, but due to the storm was forced to reschedule. On Thursday, however, we had the opportunity to welcome Dr. David Bernstein, Dean of Pardes in Israel. Dr. Bernstein gave a short shiur to the students, and spoke about the central role that memory, as opposed to history, plays in the Torah and in the Jewish psyche. He said that this message was of particular importance to future rabbonim, who - if they cared about larger Klal Yisrael - have the responsibility of helping Jews develop a Jewish memory, one that will root them in the past and point them to the future.
Wednesday night was a kollel night, and even with all the challenges of the storm and the relief work of the students, the beit midrash was packed and humming away throughout the night. I also gave the second lecture of my series on Jew and non-Jew that night. Due to the storm, we moved the lecture to Wednesday night, and the series will continue to be on Wednesday nights for the remaining 2 weeks. This week's lecture was on "Social Justice and Circles of Responsibility" and can be seen on YouTube here. We will continue to post the shiurim on the web, and we hope to be able to live-stream the next 2 shiurim - check the YCT YouTube channel for the link.