This December saw the graduation of 22 rabbis who completed the latest cycle of the of the Kollel Hachshores L’Rabonis, or Rabbinical Clergy Training Center (RCTC)’s Smicha program in Brooklyn.
The RCTC Smicha program is designed for both aspiring and existing rabbis of all ages who want to take their passion of helping others to a whole new level. The curriculum is rigorous and thorough, yet flexible to its students and their busy schedules and needs. This one-of-a-kind program is designed to boldly address the challenges that modern-day Jews face, and to create a clergy that knows how to bring healing and clarity using halacha and compassion.
“It’s a beautiful program with sensitivity about halachic issues and other things,” said one graduate. “We learned how to deal with things you cannot find in the sefer- such as how to address,in today’s times, someone off the derech, someone taking opioids, someone niftar and other serious matters. These are issues that, unfortunately, some communities may cover their eyes and pretend don’t exist. We have to be prepared to deal with this. We’ve had speakers and rabbonim who taught with sensitivity how to approach these types of matters. And this was only the tip of the iceberg of what we learned.”
“You guys are going out into the world to do Rabbis work. You have to be a people’s person,” one of the speakers said. Past graduates of the RCTC have gone on to great success in a diversity of rabbinical and clergy roles at yeshivas and hospitals in Brooklyn and beyond.
“It’s a big job to go and deal with people in the community,” said Rabbi Yehuda Beyda who graduated from the program. “There is nothing better to be involved in.”
“Since our Kollel also focuses on the life cycle event halachas, such as laws of visiting the sick, or how to officiate a wedding or a funeral, and such matters,” says HaRav Malik, “we have graduates that already have smicha, such as teachers, principals and even Rosh Yeshivas that just want to review the knowledge and halacha strongly needed to hold their rabbinical positions.”
Rabbi Malik runs the RCTC program with Co-Rosh Kollel Ha Rav Berish Welz. Attendees of the graduation ceremony enjoyed the amazing voice of Avromy Holczer, who performed along with Yosef Malik. In attendance was the Koritz Rebbe,who runs a shul in Bnei Brak and Riverdale started by his father,and Reverend Marcus Miranda, Commander in Chief of the New York State Chaplain Task Force.
The RCTC program is unique from other smicha program offerings in very consequential ways. While other programs cover halacha limited to traditional topics, RCTC adds an additional tract of learning that prepares its rabbis to perform a myriad of life cycle events. Also, the relationship between RCTC and its graduates does not end at the graduation ceremony. Graduates have one-on-one access to Rabbi Malik, a certified life coach. This ensures graduates successfully acclimate themselves into their new careers and professions and have support to address any new challenges they may face.
“Our graduates always have opportunities to grow higher and learn more areas. There are Jewish institutions that take our graduates over other students when it comes to internships, shemesh, and other types of employment because of our level of training,” HaRav Malik says.
Also present was the Sambur Rebbe, who presented each Rabbi their smicha certificate. This was a a great honor and particularly special moment for the graduates, as the Sambur Rebbe received his smicha at only 18 years old from Rabbi Avrohom Shlomo HaCohen Katz, the Riskevev Rav. Rabbi Katz himself later wrote in a letter to the Satmar Rebbe that the Sambur Rebbe was the best student that he had ever had.
“To have such an esteemed person give them their certificates in their hands, together with such a warm bracha was inspiring,” said Rabbi Yechiel Malik, Rosh HaKollel of the RCTC.
Other unique areas the RCTC program focuses on are: Ksuba, helping families in needs with mental health and addiction issues, how to act professional in the workplace, and a comprehensive overview of the responsibilities of being an effective and influential rabbi.