As part of the outreach initiatives of our Department of Community Engagement, and in preparation of Yom Kippur, some of the New York area’s most distinguished pulpit rabbis once again traded places on October 2 for a round-robin “Reflections on Teshuva.” A program of the Department of Community Services under the direction Frank Buchweitz, this unique arrangement allows these stimulating rabbis to share their profound insights with new audiences. Participating shuls included the Riverdale Jewish Center, the West Side Institutional Synagogue, Congregation Ohab Zekek, the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, the Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst, the Great Neck Synagogue, Ahawas Achim Bnai Jacob & David, the Young Israel of Oceanside,Congregation Shaaray Tefila, and many others to numerous to name. (You can read all about the program and see a complete list of participating shuls here.)
Additionally, here are some of the places that I have personally visited on behalf of the OU in anticipation of Yom Kippur: On Monday, I spoke to the parent body at Yeshivat Noam on“Unlocking the Mysteries of the Machzor.” Tuesday morning, I spoke to the OU staff about “Mine Fields: The Rambam’s 24 Pitfalls that Preclude Teshuva.” (It can be seenhere.) That night, at TABC, I addressed the Annual Parent-Child Learning Event on the same topic. On Wednesday, I spoke to students at Stern College on “Grappling with and Confronting the Yom Kippur Machzor.” This morning (Thursday), I spoke to the 12th Grade of Ramaz on “A Senior’s Guide to Yom Kippur” and tonight I am scheduled to conclude the Elul Lecture Series at Bnai Yeshurun with “The Transformative Landmarks of the Yom Kippur Machzor.” I hope that everyone has taken the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the concepts and contents of the Yom Kippur liturgy, as doing so is a tremendous boon to our understanding of the day. (A version of my talk on the Yom Kippur machzor can be found here.)
After Yom Kippur, we will go immediately into Succos, Shemini Atzeres, and Simchas Torah. On Simchas Torah, we will begin the cycle of reading the Torah all over again. I encourage you to take advantage of the wonderful resources available on OU Torah to enhance your weekly review of the parsha. There are shiurim and articles there for all levels of background and education, from beginner to masmid. To name just a few, there’s Rabbi Shalom Rosner, British Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, Rabbi Bernie Fox, Mrs. Shira Smiles, the Haftorahman, and The OU’s Shnayim Mikra (featuring such speakers as Rabbi Menachem Leibtag, our own Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, and many others). Thanks go to OU Torah Content editor (and editor of this email) Rabbi Jack Abramowitz, who not only manages these features and many others, but who also creates much content of his own. For those of you learning Daf Yomi, you may be especially interested in a video on nikkur presented by Prof. Shnayer Leiman at an ASK OU conference.