Tuesday, November 30, 2021

For Yosef Brukner, 12, resident of the Country Club area of Teaneck, a life-changing “aha” moment came when he attended a Daf Yomi shiur with his grandfather in New Rochelle.

Fortuitously, the shiur took place a few days before the new cycle of the daf was to begin in January of 2020 with the study of Masechet Brachot. And so began Yosef’s journey as a young participant in the daily learning of the daf.

Yosef is up each day at 5:30 a.m. so he can Zoom on to the online OU All Daf at 6:30 a.m. He alternates between learning with Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz, rav of Beis Haknesses of North Woodmere and director of the semicha program at RIETS, and Rabbi Shalom Rosner, rav of Kehillat Nofei Hashemesh and rosh mesivta at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh. The daily shiurim last between 40 to 45 minutes. Then it’s off to school for Yosef, highly energized by his learning. The rebbeim at Yeshivat Noam, where Brukner is a seventh grader, are quite impressed with their student’s unwavering commitment to the daily learning of complex Talmudic topics.

This past summer, Brukner maintained his learning schedule at Camp Kaylie, where both Rabbi Lebowitz and Rabbi Rosner served as camp rabbis. This was a special treat for Brukner and afforded him the opportunity to participate in a siyum on Masechet Yoma in camp.

In the evening, after he completes his homework, Brukner sits down and reviews what he had learned that morning on a 10-minute podcast. These review sessions are recorded on DafYomi.BruknerFamily.com as well as on Google Podcast, Apple Podcast and Spotify.

His Apple Podcast has attracted listeners of all ages, not only from throughout the U.S. but from Israel, England and France. Brukner has even created a section on his podcast for listeners to share their thoughts.

Brukner shared, “In reviewing the day’s daf, I often express my perspective on the topic being discussed. I know that I have a young person’s perspective that may differ from those of others and I welcome the give and take of the participants on the podcast.”

On Sunday, October 10, Brukner attended a siyum on Masechet Sukkah held at The Young Israel of Lawrence/Cedarhurst. Attending the siyum were Rabbi Moshe Schwed, director of the OU Daf Yomi Initiative, and project manager Asher Tesser. The siyum was conducted by Rabbi Moshe Elefant, chief operating officer at OU Kosher and a maggid shiur on the Daf Yomi webcast.

At the siyum, in addition to the festive celebratory ambiance, Brukner had a special zechut. He was introduced to the grandfather of the young man who offered the hadran, Moshe Rubin, 94-year-old Holocaust survivor, who also recently began learning the daf. For Brukner, this was a testament to the opportunity that online study affords to people at all stages of their lives.

Brukner’s family, his mother Lauren and his father Joel, as well as his sisters Shayna and Lianna, are extremely proud of Yosef’s determination, motivation and desire to spread Torah.

His parents offered, “We definitely place a large value on middot and kindness in our family and try to emphasize that as paramount. Seeing Yosef not only complete the daf on a daily basis after a full day of school, not only choosing to do this even over taking a break for himself, but prioritizing wanting to share what he learns with others in an inclusive and genuine way by making sure that it is available to everyone, is what makes our hearts so very proud.”

Brukner will become a bar mitzvah in March and is excited that the daf that will be studied at the time is Seder Moed, dealing with the chagim of the Jewish calendar.

By Pearl Markovitz


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