Dynamic, Daily Learning for Men
Animated and excited chavrusa learning with their partners, and in small groups, are a welcome sight at the new Emet Olami Beit Midrash. Sunday through Thursday mornings at Shaar HaShamayim Synagogue in Forest Hills, this uplifting program marks Emet’s latest effort to bring meaningful Torah study to their students.
“We are grateful to Olami for partnering with us and enabling Emet to host an immersive and impactful program of t’filah and Torah study on a daily basis,” said Rabbi Akiva Rutenberg, Emet Co-Founder and Director. “We’ve seen a wonderful turnout in the first few weeks, and we’re excited to provide a mekom Torah for our students with the trademark Emet warmth and achdus.”
The opening of the Emet Olami Beit Midrash is the newest program on a continuum of advanced learning initiatives for the men’s division. It follows the Torat Emet evening learning program, which was introduced three years ago. Torat Emet, in turn, set the stage for TorahConnect, which debuted for men in early 2020. At TorahConnect, Emet students are paired with devoted mentors from the Queens community. “In these uncertain times, we’ve seen such a remarkable increase in interest and availability for learning from our students, and we’ve been determined to meet their needs. This new beis midrash is a major step forward for growth-oriented Emet students.”
A multi-dimensional learning experience, the Emet Olami Beit Midrash appeals to the full spectrum of Emet alumni and current students – whether working or in college. Each morning kicks off at 7:30 a.m. with a halachah shiur given by Rabbi Binyamin Yuhanan, Emet’s Community Rabbi. The shiur is followed by Shacharis at 8:30 and then breakfast. The early segment of the beis midrash is specifically geared to those who are married, working, or have limited availability but would like to jumpstart their day with Torah and davening.
The main learning session, intended for college students and those with more flexible schedules, ramps up from 9:30 to 12 noon. Participants are encouraged to attend consistently and benefit from a traditional seder comprised of Gemara, Chumash, halachah, and musar. A delicious lunch closes out the day.
“We’re at the stage at Emet where so many newly shomer Shabbos students are looking for a comfortable-feel beis midrash in which they can grow in their learning,” said Rabbi Reuven Kigel, Emet Campus Director, who oversees the program. “This program is intended to propel students, who have completed our college Fellowships, into a beis midrash-style learning experience.”
The Emet Olami Beit Midrash is skillfully coordinated by Rabbi Yakov Musheyev, and an excellent team of Emet rabbis. “It’s unbelievable and so inspiring to see our students begin their day by learning Gemara,” Rabbi Musheyev said. “They leave the beis midrash energized, and often extend their stay to keep the ruach going.”
Student feedback has been very gratifying. “Learning in the beis midrash from Monday through Thursday has given me a reason to get up early. It provides me with the energy and focus I need to be productive for the rest of the day,” said Michael Daniel, a Queens College student. “I was introduced to Gemara before, but it was the tip of the iceberg compared to the depth in which we are learning now. The rabbis are so warm and they welcome my questions. The time flies by.”
“We would like to express heartfelt appreciation to Rabbi Matatia Chetrit and the MJO Shaar Hashamayim Synagogue for their support and encouragement in making this beis midrash possible,” said Rabbi Rutenberg. “We are gratified by the enthusiasm and commitment we’ve seen at the beis midrash thus far, and we’re hopeful that as word gets out, more students will arrange their schedules to join us.”
Sam Sabzanov, a matriculating medical student said, “This is the first time that I’ve consistently davened Shacharis with a minyan. It’s also my first experience really delving into the Talmud with chavrusos. In my initial Emet programs, it was much more general. Now the pace is actually slower, and I’ve come to appreciate it. Rabbi Fuzaylov leads us line-by-line, and we debate and learn to analyze the thought process. The beit midrash has provided me with a place where I can have a meaningful connection with my rabbis and friends. We can socialize and shteig at the same time!”
For further information on other Emet programs and online classes, visit www.EmetOutreach.org.