The spirited sounds of chavrusos engaging in Torah study filled Beth Gavriel Bukharian Jewish Center when Emet Outreach debuted its new TorahConnect program for men. After months of planning and anticipation, the room was transformed into an animated beis midrash, as almost 70 men joined together for learning and achdus.
First introduced to Emet’s women’s division in November, TorahConnect is a chavrusa-based learning initiative for the Queens community. The program is designed to provide a forum where Emet students, of varying Jewish backgrounds, can be paired with members of the community to connect and share an elevated learning experience.
The initial men’s TorahConnect session marked the beginning of an eight-week semester on Wednesday evenings. The program is being coordinated by Danny Gadayev. It is a labor of love for the Emet team, as great care went into the “shidduch-style” matching of each set of learning partners. Each group includes a volunteer mentor from the community and one-to-two Emet students. The goal is to cultivate deep relationships based on the experience of learning Torah on an individualized, one-on-one level.
“The learning at the first men’s TorahConnect session was on fire with energy and enthusiasm,” said Danny Gadayev. “It was so inspirational to see men of all ages and backgrounds coming together with the singular purpose of Torah study. Students were also amazed that we found mentors for each of them, who were so compatible and were on a similar wavelength.”
At the start of the first session, partners selected a topic to learn that appealed to their areas of interest and abilities. The topics included sugyos in Bava M’tzia, Chumash, Jewish Ethics, and Jewish Philosophy. The session began with a buffet dinner at 8 p.m. Paired learning took place from 8:30 to 9:30. The group concluded the session by davening Arvit.
“I very much enjoyed the learning and I think this is the beginning of a beautiful program that will bring in-depth Torah learning to Forest Hills and revitalize the local community,” said Emet student Jonathan Krikheli.
“We’re so thrilled to finally roll out the men’s version of this exciting educational program. The beauty of TorahConnect is that in addition to sharing knowledge, the program is fostering bonds and connecting Jews in the varied Queens community,” said Rabbi Akiva Rutenberg, Emet Founder & Director. “TorahConnect is part of Emet’s commitment to Jewish education. Torah knowledge empowers people to sustain the Jewish future.”
For further information on other Emet programs and upcoming events, visit www.emetoutreach.org.