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Bnai Yeshurun Kollel Boker Resumes With New Tractate

(Courtesy of CBY) It’s that time of year when we help our children and/or encourage our grandchildren as they prepare for a new academic year. Perhaps it’s also an appropriate time to ask, “What about us?” What academic and intellectual goals have we established for 5779? How do we respond to the question, “קבעת עיתים לתורה?” Have we scheduled and planned our own Torah study?

On Wednesday, September 5, the Yitzchak Yaakov Kollel Boker will begin a new academic year. Conveniently located at CBY and taught by Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky, classes will be held from 6:20 to 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, in the classrooms on the lower level (followed by the 7:00 minyan).

Rabbi Sobolofsky is a rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University and the spiritual leader of Congregation Ohr HaTorah in Bergenfield. His teaching style of integrating a practical understanding of a text into broader Talmudic contexts and concepts has made his shiurim very popular with both the students at YU and his baalei batim. This year the shiurim will be on the tractate of Bava Kama.

Kollel Yitzchak Yaakov is named in memory of Dr. Yitzchak Belizon (see photo) who was prematurely taken from us in 2014. In addition to being an outstanding physician, Dr. Belizon was recognized as a talmid chacham, with a deep love of Talmud Torah. He inspired and prodded and pushed and pulled others to join together in Torah study. “Reb Yitzchak” had met Rabbi Sobolofsky when Uri Katz invited him to learn at Bnai Yeshurun. At the prodding of Yitzchak, Rabbi Sobolofsky began to give a chavura at Bnai Yeshurun. It was then the vision and efforts of members of the Beis Medrash Committee that ultimately resulted in the creation of the kollel.

One of Dr. Belizon’s sons is Rabbi Eli Belizon, spiritual leader of the Young Israel of Fair Lawn. Rabbi Belizon recalls, “What was beautiful about my father’s experience in the kollel boker is that it also shaped my relationship with him. I remember driving to YU during my years in the semicha program and our conversations in the car always involved the sugya of that morning, as it impacted his frame of mind for the entire day. I would speak to my father at lunchtime when he was making rounds in the hospital, and he would discuss a deep thought of Rav Chaim Brisker as he was prescribing medication and instructing the nurses in the same breath. It’s not a contradiction because that is what the kollel boker creates: bnei Torah in the workforce.”

This is the 15th year of the kollel, which continues to gain in popularity. Last year there were about 15 to 18 participants (see photo), but that number is expected to grow this year. Occasionally, when people first consider joining the kollel, they may express some concern about the early hour of the shiur. They quickly learn that the “time zone” they live in is strictly an arbitrary mindset. If they forgo an hour of late-night television in exchange for an early hour of uplifting Torah study, they lose no time and they lose no sleep. The registration process for the kollel has been streamlined this year. Students need not bring their own gemaras, as copies of all critical sources and texts will be distributed before each class. Just show up on the morning of the fifth, be greeted by Rabbi Sobolofsky and your fellow classmates, and you’re “in.” It will absolutely “make your day.”

The kollel boker is one of a growing number of Torah-study opportunities offered through the efforts of the Beis Medrash Committee and Congregation Bnai Yeshurun. There are well over two dozen classes each week, catering to a wide variety of interests and backgrounds. Bnai Yeshurun also provides a well-stocked beis midrash library, open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., and welcomes individuals and chavuras to use the facility at their convenience.

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