As the excitement mounts in anticipation of the upcoming Siyum Hashas to be held at Metlife Stadium and the Barclays Center on January 1, so too is there a sense of celebration among the members of the Teaneck Amud Yomi. Established over 15 years ago at the initiative of Rabbi Ezra Wiener, currently assistant rabbi at Congregation Rinat Yisrael and principal at TABC, the group began learning Masechet Niddah 144 days before the end of Daf Yomi two cycles ago. They then began the new cycle with Masechet Brachot alongside the Daf Yomi and have sustained the daily learning of an amud (page) of Talmud for 15 years. Now nearing completion, the local Amud Yomi will be celebrating with a siyum at approximately the same time as the Daf Yomi and hope to begin the new cycle concomitantly.
The nightly learning of the Amud Hashas is held after the 9:15 p.m. maariv at Congregation Rinat Yisrael and led by a rotation of participants. Each facilitator selects a designated night and prepares the amud for the group. The learning takes place four nights a week as well as Shabbat afternoon. On Tuesday evenings an extra half an amud is studied so as to keep to the targeted three and a half blatt per week. The shiur usually spans half an hour so that participants can be home by 10 p.m.
Over the years, the members of the chabura have changed, but a core of loyal participants has been with the group for many of the past 15 years. One is Sam Levi, father-in-law of founder Ezra Wiener who incidentally now leads a Daf Yomi group. Levi, who has been with the group for 15 years and leads the Thursday night learning, shared, “Amud Yomi is a serious alternative for people who cannot commit to a Daf Yomi. Whether they are busy professionals and working fathers of young children, the timing of the Amud Yomi works better for them. I believe that the potential for the growth of Amud Yomi is tremendous and eventually can grow as large as the Daf Yomi. The 15 years seem to have flown by in a blink of an eye.”
Michael Ungar, who leads the Wednesday shiur, commented, “Aside from the camaraderie that I established in learning with the same set of friends for 14 years, the chabura has given me an opportunity to obtain the skill set and confidence in giving the shiur once a week. We look forward to welcoming new chabura participants, whether they choose to give a shiur or simply come and listen.”
For Rabbi Murray Sragow, history instructor at MTA, offering the Monday night shiur works well as he is able to prepare over Shabbat. Sragow took over from chabura member Moshe Raymon who made aliyah 12 years ago. For Sragow, “The Amud Yomi gives me an opportunity to learn in depth and then give over in depth as it keeps to one amud, which is doable in half an hour. I enjoy the opportunity to teach as well as the close connection I have formed with the members of the chabura. We are like family.”
The siyum of the local Amud Hashas will take place on January 1, after which the new cycle will begin.
At this time, those who have in the past tried Daf Yomi and were unable to meet the rigors of that commitment have the unique opportunity to start a new cycle of learning Shas on a less-rigorous schedule that may better fit into their busy lives. For more information and to sign up for the next cycle, contact Mordechai Ungar at 201-741-3920, Elliot Rothschild at 917-496-9023 or Avi Shafar at 917-291-9906. Or consider starting an Amud Yomi chabura/shiur in your own shul.
By Pearl Markovitz