On Sunday, September 13, at 6 p.m., young Jewish adults and community members from all over New Jersey will join a virtual siyum to celebrate their completion of Masechet Brachot––an accomplishment made possible by Mesorah NJ, a kiruv organization created to connect young Jewish professionals with each other and their religion.
Rabbi Yehoshua Lewis, the executive director, and his team run Judaic studies classes, shabbatons and trips in order to give young Jews between the ages of 22 and 35 a chance to learn about their Jewish heritage.
“Our participants see authentic Jewish values in their studies,” Rabbi Lewis said of the program’s success. “We always have something Jewish and something inspirational to offer––that’s what people are looking for.”
Mesorah NJ currently has 1,200 subscribers and serves 600 Shabbat meals a year. Its participants spend more than 1,000 hours learning Torah each year.
The program has run trips to Montreal, Israel and Poland, and was planning a trip to Los Angeles before the pandemic hit. Past Shabbat programs included rooftop dinners in Jersey City and shabbatons all over the country. Mesorah NJ’s classes cover topics such as Jewish holidays, dating and Shabbat, among many others.
While the pandemic has put an end to most in-person activities, Rabbi Lewis was grateful that chavruta learning was still possible to conduct via Zoom. For the past three weeks, Jewish community members and young Jewish professionals paired together to study Masechet Brachot.
For some students, it was their first time delving in-depth into Jewish text, and they were amazed at the level of detail, and how seriously the rabbis of the Talmud took Jewish law, Rabbi Lewis explained.
“The level of detail in the Gemara is eye-opening,” said Tomas Patrich, a medical student at Robert Wood Johnson. He is learning Daf 13 of Brachot with Dr. Elliott Schulman of Englewood. “It’s amazing how seriously the rabbis treated the law.”
All are looking forward to celebrating the culmination of their hard work. For those interested in tuning in to the public Zoom session, please visit www.charidy.com/MySiyum.
By Elizabeth Zakaim