I hope you are all well and are persevering with the challenging winter weather we have all been having. Please remember when it comes to Shabbat and going to shul that safety is the primary concern. It is far more important to stay home and be safe than to go to shul and risk serious injury. Also, there are probably many people in your communities that are in need of special assistance, warm food, or a friendly visit in this harsh weather. Please try to find a way to reach out to them and to encourage others to do so as well.
In yeshiva this week, third- and fourth-year students wrapped up their study of hilkhot Gerut. After covering the topic of conversion for minors, students reviewed the history of teshuvot on gerus from Germany, Eastern Europe, America and Israel in the last two hundred years, analyzing how they differed in terms of both policy and criteria, not only from posek to posek, but also how they may have been influenced by the historical-cultural and denominational-political realities of their particular time and place. Students are now working on a final, where they will be annotating the existing gerus standards that are being used in the Modern Orthodox community, and in writing teshuvot on particular real-life scenarios.
After wrapping up gerus, third- and fourth-year students began their learning of hilkhot kiddushin and siddur kiddushin, which began with 3 special classes. On Tuesday afternoon, I gave a shiur to them on Marital Sex: Halakha and Hashkafa, followed by a presentation by Dr. Bat Sheva Marcus on Marital Sex and the Rabbi's Role. And on Wednesday afternoon, Sara Mizrachi, a kallah teacher from the Brooklyn Sefardi community who has taught hundreds of kallot, spoke to the students about keeping and teaching niddah: realities in the field and the collaboration of the rabbi and the kallah teacher.
On Thursday due the storm yeshiva was called off, but we still had a number of students come in to learn in the beit midrash! The call of Torah was too strong to resist!
Finally, a Mazal Tov to Pam and Rabbi Devin Villarreal (YCT 2009) on the recent birth and bris of a new baby boy, Everett Amos. Shetizku li'gadlo li'Torah li'chuppah u'li'ma'asim tovim!