Sunday mornings at Congregation Beth Aaron offer a unique learning program for men and women of all backgrounds.
Following the Sunday morning Shacharit, participants gather in the Beit Midrash where a prepared packet of sources is distributed. Under the direction of Rabbinic Intern Rabbi Sasson Gabay, the group explores “sugyot” (topics) in Shas that can range from complex business interactions to issues of basic daily life. A sampling of topics includes laws contained under the rubric of Shabbat such as kiddush, kindling of Shabbat candles, work on Shabbat, honoring the Shabbat and “oneg” Shabbat. Other topics explored by the curriculum are the blessings over the Torah, the writing of a Sefer Torah, and the aggrandizing of a mitzvah. Daily issues such as cooking by a non-Jew and bread baked by a non-Jewish establishment are explored.
Rabbi Larry Rothwachs, Morah D’asra of Beth Aaron, endorsed the program.,
“The uniqueness of the Shivti program coming to us from Lakewood is that it offers the learner an opportunity to delve into a fascinating range of topical Torah topics through a method that is attainable by people with varying backgrounds in Torah study,” he said.
Upon creating this innovative curriculum in 2014, the rabbis of the Beit Midrash Govoha of Lakewood had in mind to provide serious and practical learning opportunities for the men in the community whose stages in life had removed them from the physical walls of the Yeshiva but who were intent upon continuing their growth in learning. In promoting this goal, the Shivti designers created a curriculum which covers numerous topics in Shas in a logical and orderly progression. Thus the topics begin with in-depth Iyun and end with Halacha L’ma’aseh, practical applications, incorporating the quality and methodology of Beit Midrash Govoha.
According to its developers, the reason for Shivti’s success in many communities throughout the U.S. is that the curriculum was designed to cater to all levels of participation. The booklet is arranged in a unique and even revolutionary style that focuses on general halachic topics split into separate units, which produces a weekly sub-sugya.
Following the initial exploration of the week’s topic, Shivti hosts Torah scholars of renown from the Metropolitan area to address the group from their perspective about the topic at hand. During the course of its initial year at Beth Aaron, Shivti hosted Rav Mordechai Willig, Rav Daniel Feldman, Rav Shay Shachter and Rav Ami Merzel of Netiv Aryeh in Israel.
Returning this year to address the opening session of Shivti on Sunday morning, Nov.10, is Rav Aryeh Lebowitz, the director of semicha at RIETS of Yeshiva University. Rabbi Lebowitz also serves as the Morah D’asra of Beit Haknesses of North Woodmere. Previously, he was a Rebbe at Lander’s College for Men and an 11th grade Rebbe at the DRS Yeshiva High School of HALB. The topic for the opening session will be “Chinuch Banim,” Educating the Children.
New at Shivti this year, according to organizer Mordy Ungar, will be childcare services at request for younger members of the community who wish to participate in the learning program.
The community is invited to participate in Shivti’s innovative learning program to commence on Sunday, Nov. 10, at 9 a.m. following Shacharit, at Congregation Beth Aaron, 950 Queen Anne Road, Teaneck, in the Beit Midrash. For further information and to inquire about child care, contact Mordy Ungar at [email protected].
By Pearl Markovitz