June 12, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Mesorah NJ to Celebrate Siyum This Sunday

(Courtesy of MesorahNJ) Gene Medvedev grew up with almost no Jewish knowledge. He could not read Hebrew, Pesach Seders were quick, and Yom Kippur was not on the family calendar. In March 2015, at the age of 28 he was working as a computer programmer in East Brunswick, New Jersey, when a friend asked him if he wanted to come along to a Shabbat dinner with Mesorah NJ. He agreed, and by the end of the night, he felt right at home, and part of something bigger. Soon after, he joined the weekly ‘Mesorah Monday’ classes in Highland Park, and started to learn Mesechta Brachos b’chavrusa. He became a regular at Mesorah NJ shabbatons in Highland Park and Jersey City. When he was called for an aliyah on a Shabbat morning at Mesorah NJ’s minyan, Gene declined because he couldn’t read Hebrew. When offered the transliteration, he declined that as well. ”If I’m going to do this, I should do it right.” He then joined Mesorah’s Hebrew reading crash course; after learning with Rabbi Larry Greenman for six weeks, Gene was called for his first aliyah at a Mesorah shabbaton in Jersey City in March 2018 and recited the birchos HaTorah beautifully. And the journey continued.

When Gene signed up for the Mesorah NJ Los Angeles shabbaton back in 2019, he was hoping to get a spiritual recharge while spending Shabbat with the Los Angeles community. He met fascinating Jewish screenwriters, sampled kosher wine at the Herzog winery, and saw the stars on Hollywood Boulevard. Most importantly, though, he met Tatiana, and they started dating shortly thereafter. This past December, this story came to a happy ending when Gene married Tatiana at the Young Israel of East Brunswick, surrounded by Mesorah NJ friends. The feeling of love and support for the new couple was palpable. Gene’s secular friends were swept up in the separate dancing, and he and Tatiana beamed. Amidst dancing and joy, he started his new home, committed to Shabbat and kosher, and continued growth in yiddishkeit.

Gene is one of the 100-plus Mesorah young professionals and Passaic community members who will join together on May 8 to celebrate a siyum on Mesechta Kidushin. Sponsored by Rob and Sue Koltai, this siyum is in memory of Elazar Yitzchak (Azi) Koltai, who was niftar on Lag B’Omer at the age of 13 in Meron. Azi, z”l was an exceptional boy who loved to learn with anyone who wanted to, from newly arrived baal teshuva students in Har Nof, to Mir rabbis and everything in between. He learned a section of Gemara 15 times until his classmate understood, each time saying, “OK, let’s learn it again.” He connected and learned with many people, each at their own level. The Mesorah siyum, which pairs young professionals with little Gemara background with seasoned Bnei Torah, is a fitting tribute to Azi.

To sponsor a Daf for the upcoming siyum, visit
www.mesorahnj.com.

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