July 23, 2024
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A Center for Torah in Our Community

The Jewish Center of Teaneck aspires to be a warm community, open to all, built on the famous triad first articulated by Shimon Ha-Tzadik, last of the Anshei Knesset HaGedola, in the second Mishnah of Pirkei Avot: Torah, avodah and gemilut chasadim. As stated in the mishnah itself, each of these three elements is of cardinal significance, quite literally, serving as the very foundation of the world’s existence.

Yet, it should not escape our attention that Torah is given the pride of place in Shimon HaTzadik’s formulation; after all, as the first mishnah in Masechet Pe’ah states, V’Talmud Torah k’neged kulam. Insofar as a deep, abiding, even immersive commitment to Torah informs and inspires our commitment to all other aspects of spiritual life, gadol talmud Torah she’mevia lidei ma’aseh (Kiddushin 40b), it remains first amongst equals.

As such, it is with deep excitement that we present our fall 2017 shiurim, open to the entire community. On Shabbat mornings at 8:30 a.m., one half hour prior to both our main minyan and our parallel Moroccan minyan, the Rabbi Solomon and Bella Gopin Rambam shiur meets. This shiur provides an in-depth exploration of Rambam’s view of a mitzvah associated with the parshat hashavua, based on the full corpus of his halachic writings.

On Shabbat mornings at 9:45 a.m., we are privileged to have our co-youth director Rav Yishai Klein lead a youth minyan for third through fifth graders in which children develop critical skills for tefillah and kriat haTorah. This youth minyan takes place in conjunction with engaging, nurturing and educational groups for children from infancy and up under the supervision of co-youth director Yiskah Klein.

On Shabbat afternoons, one half hour prior to Mincha, our Dr. Walter and Betty Hauser Youth Parshah Group meets, where our children meet to learn about the parsha and receive snack and special prizes for their participation. As the Gemara in Masechet Bava Batra (21b) so powerfully relates in the context of Yoav ben Zeruya, the early years are, in many respects, the most impactful concerning the formation of an abiding, lifelong commitment to Torah. We hold no higher value, as a community, than ensuring the development of the next generation of committed and knowledgeable boys and girls.

Following Mincha, at our community’s seudah shlishit, we feature a mini-shiur based on Ramban’s commentary on parashat ha-shavua. In so doing, we are following the tradition of the Rav, who learned Ramban’s commentary on parshat hashavua on Shabbat afternoon, in recognition of the singular place the Ramban holds in the pantheon of biblical commentators.

The learning does not stop on Shabbat. On Monday throughThursday evenings, at 7:20 p.m., we meet for Mishnayot yomi, 10 minutes of mishnah learning prior to our nightly Maariv minyan, in which we learn two mishnayot per evening. Over the last year we have finished Masechtot Rosh Hashanah, Temura, Avodah Zarah, Shavuot and Zavim as a community. This year, we look forward to continuing to explore the beauty and depth of Mishnah, the foundational document of all of Torah She’be’al Peh, by studying Masechet Beitzah.

Following Maariv, at 7:45 p.m., on Tuesday evenings, we are proud to launch our women’s Tehillim group, which will feature a mini-shiur on one perek of Tehillim, from 7:45 until 8, followed by 30 minutes of Tehillim on behalf of cholim from the entire community. To have Tehillim recited on behalf of someone in need of a refuah shleimah, or to dedicate this Tehillim group, please contact [email protected].

On Wednesday evenings, from 7:45 until 8:45 p.m., we are proud to continue the highly successful Dr. Joel Dennis and Ruvin Fridman Teaneck Tanach Study group. This past year we were proud to complete Sefer Yonah and Sefer Yehoshua. This coming year, we look forward to exploring the fragmented, discordant and highly complex world of Sefer Shoftim and the terrible price of a vacuum of leadership.

Monthly, on Sunday evenings from 8 until 9, our singular Leaves of Faith Book Club, led by Professor Sarah Rindner, synthesizes the best of Western literature and Torah by reading and discussing works of literature from a Torah and spiritual point of view, and, in parallel, analyzing Torah texts that deal with the same themes, conflicts and motifs raised by the literary text.

The book club is named for the two-volume collection of essays published by our revered teacher, Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, zt”l, whose immersion in Torah, indefatigable avodat Hashem and compassionate, concerned engagement in broader society informs every aspect of our communal life. The next meeting will be held on October 29, at 8 p.m., to discuss Jane Austen’s “Mansfield Park.”

It is our every hope and prayer that the sum is greater than the parts. The Jewish Center of Teaneck has been serving the Jewish community of Teaneck and Bergen County for the past 84 years, and contributed immeasurably to the development of the existent communal infrastructure from which we all benefit. With the help of He Who is both melamed Torah l’amo Yisrael, as well as gomel chasadim tovim l’amo Yisrael, it will continue to thrive as a vital center for Torah in our community.

By Rabbi Daniel Fridman

 Rabbi Daniel Fridman is the rabbi of the Jewish Center of Teaneck and an instructor at Torah Academy of Bergen County.

 

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