As a yeshiva high school student attending DRS, through learning at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh, receiving semicha from RIETS and a master’s from Azrieli, Rabbi Ariel Schreier had a particular affinity for the study of Mishnayot, finding their brevity and focus exciting. Currently a third grade boys’ rebbe and fifth grade girls’ Mishnah instructor at RYNJ, Rabbi Schreier saw an opportunity for sharing his excitement and enthusiasm for Mishnayot with his talmidim.
Starting with a group of 25 boys to whom Rabbi Schreier sent out pre-recorded videos three times per week, word of the program spread quickly. With its subsequent launch in December as a live program, offered on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7 p.m., “Mishna Accomplished” now attracts over 100 boys. On Tuesday evening, February 23, more than 200 participants including proud rebbeim and glowing parents and grandparents joined the students from grades 3-6 who celebrated the initial siyum on Masechet Megilla in a joyous Zoom broadcast.
Opening the program by greeting the boys individually, Rabbi Schreier’s excitement was clearly evident. Rabbi Daniel Price, RYNJ head of school, welcomed the participants with a dvar Torah concerning time. “As we approach Purim, we read that ‘haYehudim kiymu v’kiblu,’ they accepted upon themselves the observance of the laws of the Torah, setting aside time for study. So too you young boys, after a long day of study, have opted to set aside even more time to study Mishnayot three times per week. And many of you have included your family members in your extra learning. As a co-host of the program with Rabbi Schreier, I realize that this is a highly meaningful setting aside of time that hopefully will remain with you into the future.”
A special presentation to the participants was delivered by Rabbi Scheier’s rebbe and rosh kollel of the RIETS’ Marcos and Adina Katz Kollel of Yeshiva University, Rabbi Hershel Schachter. Rav Schachter began by praising the young talmidim for learning Mishnayot from such a young age, which he and his contemporaries did not begin until much later. He offered that the learning of Mishnayot only began after the elimination of prophecy marked by the passing of the last three neviim, Chaggai, Zecharia and Malachi. “Now we are in the era of Torah She’baal Peh, which we inscribe in our hearts forever and which will hopefully hasten the coming of the geula.”
The administrators and rebbeim of RYNJ enthusiastically endorsed the program and praised the boys for their participation. Rabbi Nachum Wachtel, lower school Judaic studies principal and Rabbi Avi Bernstein, middle school boys principal, praised the program and its creator and wished the student participants continuous strength to cover all “shisha sidrei mishna” and thus “pass on the torch of the mesorah that they are receiving from their parents and grandparents.”
Rabbis Chaim Block, Yehuda Chesner, Raphael Goldstein, Yehuda Herbst and Avraham Ohayon, all RYNJ rebbeim, praised the boys for their accomplishment of completing Masechet Megilla.
Rabbi Schreier proceeded to lead the siyum by reviewing mishnayot from Masechet Megilla, Perek Daled, Mishna Yud. He concluded with the celebratory recitation of the hadran followed by warm congratulatory messages to the boys by their parents and grandparents.
Yair Frankel, whose third grader Ephraim participates in the program, commented, “We are very grateful to Rabbi Schreier, the sponsors and all those involved in Mishna Accomplished. Ephraim looks forward to the program and, thanks to the successful review of the material, he truly remembers what he has learned.The smiles on Ephraim’s face and the faces of his friends during the siyum were testimony to their tremendous sense of accomplishment that hopefully will motivate them to continue to achieve.”
Thanks to generous donors and sponsors, every student participant was gifted with a special Mishnah Megilla as well as a Moed Katan in preparation for the upcoming Mesechet. Rabbi Schreier ended the program with an invitation to all to the next siyum, which will take place iy”H on Lag B’Omer coinciding with Pesach Sheini.
Reflecting upon the success of the program, Rabbi Schreier shared, “I thought that I was giving to them, but they have inspired me and my entire family equally. My 3-year-old son asks me, ‘Daddy, are you going to learn with the boys tonight?’ Hopefully, the boys are building a foundation in Torah She’baal Peh, one mishnah at a time, that will serve as building blocks for a lifetime of Torah learning.”
“Mishna Accomplished” is an approximately 25-minute program offered on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. on Zoom. It begins with greetings from local congregational rabbis, a review of the previous mishnah studied, completion of an online multiple-choice self-assessment, learning of the new mishnah and the opportunity to participate in three exciting raffles. Animated videos and clever Kahoots create an ambiance of fun while learning. The program also includes a WhatsApp with updates and notes.
To learn more about “Mishna Accomplished” contact Rabbi Ariel Schreier at [email protected].
By Pearl Markovitz