North Jersey’s Team Teaneck raises $115K. Watch the full replay at www.shasathon.org.
(Courtesy of Shas-a-Thon) Early last Sunday morning, 585 people from across the tristate area and beyond gathered at Kalahari Convention Center in Pocono Manor, PA, for a historic event. They came from all walks of life—some wearing a classic suit and tie, others in chasidic garb, and yet others wearing simple hoodies and kippot of all sorts. But they united for one purpose: to collectively learn the entire Shas while raising critical funds for couples facing infertility.
The lomdim have been hard at work since mid-October, studying and repeatedly reviewing their allotted portion of ten dafim in Gemara. Together with their chavrusas, they’ve also been reaching out to their network of contacts to raise a minimum of $7,200 for the cause.
Sunday’s event was the culmination of all that effort. The lomdim gathered to complete the entire Shas in just one day—harnessing the power of Torat chaim, our living Torah, to bring new life to couples waiting for the joyous sounds of childhood to fill their homes.
Shas-a-Thon is an annual event of ATIME, founded in 1994 by Rabbi Saul and Brany Rosen. “Every single lomed sitting in this room today is knowingly and willingly fanning the flames of hope, promise and opportunity,” declared Rabbi Rosen at Sunday’s siyum celebration. And he would know, because he’s been there.
Rabbi Shaul Rosen and his wife Brany traversed their own medical journey through infertility. At the time, it was a lonely road mired in uncertainty and doubt. There was nobody to turn to for help—neither with medical questions nor halachic concerns. And there was nobody to turn to for emotional support—because infertility remained an unspoken secret.
But they set out to change that. The organization they founded is all about servicing the “ATIME family” of couples in every way possible. Twenty-eight years after its founding, the organization has grown to encompass a massive support network for couples with online support forums, Shabbatons and retreats; an educational branch focused on awareness surrounding a broad range of women’s health issues; the Institute of Halacha and Technology, which provides halachic guidance to couples and rabbinic training to community rabbis; an IVF support team that offers critical hashgacha services in labs and hospitals across the country; the HUG program that supports women and their families through pregnancy loss; and so much more.
It’s a cause that’s close to many hearts, and that’s why Shas-a-Thon attracts a wide range of lomdim every year. These altruistic individuals are dedicated to giving the gift of life to couples yearning for the dream of parenthood. At this year’s event, North Jersey was represented by the incredible Team Teaneck, led by Isaac Mirwis and Aron Schwarcz. Together with Jeremy and Mathew Wexler, Akiva and Nethaniel Schreiber, Zev Kahane, Yisroel Yaakov Berman, Eldar Ben-Zikri and David Kirsch, they collectively raised $115,053 for ATIME.
In a world where fundraising often seems like a contest of sensational ads and splashy events, Shas-a-Thon stands out for its elevated way of reaching its fundraising goals—through Torah, tefillah and unity. The Shas-a-Thon event paid tribute to Dr. Bruno Lunenfeld, a Holocaust survivor and Professor Emeritus of Endocrinology at Bar Ilan University, for his revolutionary contributions to the field of reproductive endocrinology. Some highlights of the event included a touching address and original song by Chaim Rothstein, the new executive director of ATIME; 90-second stories of personal miracles shared by Shas-a-Thon lomdim; and spirited dancing and kumzitz to the music of Chaim Yisrael and Lipa Schmeltzer.
You can still watch a full replay of the event and sponsor lomdim from your neighborhood by visiting shasathon.org. If you or someone you know is struggling with infertility or women’s health issues, please reach out to ATIME at 718.686.8912 or visit www.atime.org.