28 January 2006

Discussion Series on Women

For three consecutive Wednesdays, the students of the yeshiva discussed issues concerning women. The first on 30 November, was one dealing with mehizas, due to an earlier incident. The latter two occurred on 7 and 14 December, concerning women and tefillin, and how to deal with the issue as rabbis. A number of views were shared, albeit within small groups.
After break, on 12 January, the yeshiva came together for a yeshiva-wide discussion on not only the women wearing tefillin issue, but also as to how about going about any issue in the future.

25 January 2006

Rabbi Love Speaks On Upcoming Mikveh Trip

On Tuesday 17 January, Rabbi Love spoke to the yeshiva in anticipation of the yeshiva's field trip to the Upper West Side mikveh concrete pouring. It was a very informative lecture on the basics of mikve'ot and their spatial configurations.

Mikveh Construction Field Trip With YU

Yesterday morning (24 January), YCT headed over to the Upper West Side to see the pouring of concrete for the Upper West Side mikveh. The mikveh was started 35-40 years ago, but over time had come into such a condition that a new one was to be built. The new one will be on West 74th street between Broadway and West End. It will, when finished, have three mikve'ot for women, one for men, one for vessels, and one for brides.
We started out at Manhattan Day School, davening together (I hopped on a bus that left from in front of the YU beis midrash), with Jason Weiner leading up through ישתבח and Avi Robinson finishing up the davening. Following שחרית, Rabbi Simon spoke about the structures of מקוות. After which, the supervising rabbi of the mikveh, Rabbi Trieger (see pages 7 & 8 in this link for more on him), spoke further on mikve'ot.
Following the speeches, we had some breakfast and schmoozed some in the lobby of MDS.
Following breakfast, we went over to the mikveh construction site. It was impressive to see all that they were doing, even though if one didn't know what was specifically going on, one would not have thought it was anything beyond a construction project. Nonetheless, it was a neat opportunity to learn about mikve'ot.

Howard Jonas Speaks to the Yeshiva

Monday (23 January), shortly after lunch, Howard Jonas, the chairman of the yeshiva's board of trustees, spoke to the yeshiva. Just like last year's speech to the yeshiva, he spoke humbly and proved to be amusing.
A focus of his speech was on the topic of greatness, about which he had several things to speak.
Following the body of his speech, the students had the opportunity to pose to him questions upon which he answered.

Flags In the Yeshiva Discussion

Shortly before lunch today, the students of the yeshiva discussed whether or not to have flags in the beis midrash - specifically that of the American flag and the Israeli flag.
While this initial discussion lasted only fifteen minutes long, it is only the start of the conversation on this topic, as evidenced by the lunchtime discussions overheard in the yeshiva.
A number of reasons and concerns were raised that went both ways and that will still be discussed.

05 January 2006

YCT Credit

While I was reading in the Jewish Week a few weeks ago, I thought a similar thing, but didn't want to say anything about it YCT being omitted in an article about YU, until someone else wrote in to them a letter that was published this week:
Credit Chovevei

There is a glaring omission in your article on the new Center for the Jewish Future at Yeshiva University (“YU Launches Center For Jewish Future,” Dec. 16). While the goal of this new center is twice referred to as creating a more “open Orthodoxy,” the institution that coined this phrase, Rabbi Avi Weiss’ Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, is never mentioned.

While the new YU center is referred to as a response to Touro College on the right and Ivy League universities on the left, clearly it is the vision, success and competition of Chovevei Torah that is responsible for the center.

I am a graduate of YU and have no relation to Chovevei Torah, but we should give credit where credit is due and be thankful to Chovevei Torah for inspiring such changes and programs in YU and the broader Orthodox community.
Laurence Wein
Teaneck, N.J.
Reading it, I was surprised that he wasn't connected to YCT, as he spoke in positive terms of it in his letter. Nevertheless, he does make a good point.

02 January 2006

YCT Provides Katrina Relief

Seven of us YCTers went down to Biloxi, MS and to New Orleans, LA between 18 and 25 December to physically provide assistance to bring some post-Katrina relief to the aforementioned cities. Working in Biloxi with Hands On USA and with the Jewish Federation in New Orleans, we helped out the two communities.
For more in-depth information, both Ben (here, here, here, and here) and I (here, here, here, here, here, and here) have blogged about our experiences there.
For more pictures, see my photo album.