Inspired by the 9th Siyum Hashas on April 26, 1990, on April 27, 1990, the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills began its own Daf Yomi study group which has met each day since then at 5:30am (7:00am on Shabbos and 6:00am on Sunday). On Saturday night January 4, 2020, the group celebrated the completion of its fourth cycle at a melaveh malkah in the shul. While there were many fewer than the 90,000 people who attended the January 1,2020 siyum at MetLife Stadium, the Simcha Room was filled with Dafi Yomi participants, their families, and friends. The program, organized and MC’d by Richie Spierer paid tribute to Dr. Mordechai Koenigsberg who has been a maggid shiur since the shiur’s inception, Rabbi Dr. Aaron Glatt who shared maggid shiur duties with Dr. Koenigsberg in the early years of the program, Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld who encouraged the formation of the group, Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld who has led the shiur when Dr. Koenigsberg has been absent for a family simcha or a medical conference, and rabbis Israel Wind, Yaakov Abramowitz, Ephraim Glatt, and Yossi Jacobs who also filled in for Dr. Koenisgberg over the past thirty years. Before Dr. Koenigsberg completed the final page of Shas and recited the hadran, family members spoke about Mr. Al Angerman, Mr. Leon Blatt, Dr. Herman Kelman, Dr. Simon Lopata, Mr. Jack Nayberg, Rabbi George Rushfield, and Mr. Alvin Silver, stalwart members of the Daf Yomi group who have passed away.
The Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills Daf Yomi group is always eager to welcome new participants no matter if they can attend only on weekends or every day of the week. One does not even have to be present in person to participate. David Kallus, one of the participants who has moved out of the neighborhood, now calls in each morning from either Jerusalem or Silver Spring, MD depending on which city he is in that day.
By Rebecca Wittert