I hope you all are well and for those of you who have kids who are off this week, I hope you were able to get some good family time in, or at least not have your week thrown into disarray as a result. Here at the yeshiva, we had a foreshortened week, beginning on Tuesday. In honor of President's Day, third-year student Raif Melhado spoke movingly about the intercession of certain rabbis to Abraham Lincoln for the rights of Jews in the Armed Forces, which eventually led to the inclusion of rabbis in the chaplaincy corps. It was an important lesson on the power that a rabbi can wield for the good, and on how blessed we are to be living in a country which protects the civil and religious rights of all of its citizens.
There are sadly a number of condolences to offer this week. We mourn the passing of Anne Katzman, Chana bat Frenya, mother Michael Katzman (YCT 2009). We also mourn the passing of Harriet Posner, Toibe Hinde bat Gershon Dov, grandmother of Tzachi (YCT 2017) and Chai (YCT 2010) Posner. HaMakom yinachem etchem bi'tokh she'ar avalei Tzion vi'Yerushalayim.
Within the yeshiva itself we experienced a great loss this week with the passing of Stanley Langer, Meir Zalka ben Yitzchak Mordechai HaCohen vi'Nechama, father-in-law of Rabbi Chaim Marder, our Director of Professional Development, and a member of our Lishma cohort of learners. It was wonderful these last few years to have had Stanley, who is such an important community figure, in our beit midrash, learning Gemara and Halakha, asking his probing questions and sharing his wisdom and insight. At his funeral on Wednesday, the entire community turned out to pay their respects to this true leader of the community. All the students came out to accompany the aron and to walk behind the hearse as his body was taken to be buried. May the family, and the community, find consolation. HaMakom yinachem etchem bi'tokh she'ar avalei Tzion vi'Yerushalayim.
On a happy note, I want to wish a big Mazal Tov to David Fried (YCT 2013) on his engagement to Molly Katancik. We look forward to rejoicing with the couple at the chuppah!