Orthodox Union Semichas Chaver Program Adds 23 Groups. Nearly 100 Groups Now Participate Internationally

27 May 2021

NEW YORK – The Orthodox Union’s Semichas Chaver Program, the popular practical halacha learning initiative, has kicked off its latest season with 23 additional learning groups, bringing the program’s total to 96 across the globe. This series of learning focuses on practical halacha surrounding Shabbos, including those related to cleaning garments, opening packages, sorting and other household issues.

Founded in 2017 by Rav Elyada Goldwicht, the Semichas Chaver Program is an innovative, fast-paced and interactive halacha learning program crafted for the needs of the 21st Century with a specialized focus on the practical meaning of Jewish law. Each shiur includes thought-provoking questions and a dedicated segment on the philosophical meaning behind the relevant topic. Through periodic exams, students are able to hone their knowledge while working toward certificates of completion from Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Rav Hershel Schachter.

The new groups were formed in Baltimore, MD; Cherry Hill, NJ; Lakewood, NJ; Miami, FL; Oceanside, NY; Passaic, NJ; Pheonix, AZ; Sacramento, CA: Scottsdale, AZ; and Toronto, Canada. Additional groups are joining the worldwide program from Israel, South Africa, and Australia. For information on joining, or to organize your own local group, please feel free to reach out via: info@semichaschaver.com

“SCP has changed the conversations in our communities. Instead of talking about business, sports and politics, participants are discussing what they have learned in their homes, at work and even in the park.” said Rav Goldwicht. “The incredible success of Semichas Chaver is hugely attributed to the most amazing SCP rabbeim in each location .”

“It is nothing short of inspiring to watch the growth of this program from a few shiurim to a near hundred worldwide,” said OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer “The Semichas Chaver Program is not a ‘lean-back-and-listen’ Torah class, but a very active and participatory experience where everyone is individually engaged in learning and applying the practical halacha. The passion for learning that it has engendered is striking and goes far beyond the weekly shiur, with participants sharing their learning at home with their families and engaging more in their Judaism.”

Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union, (OU), serves as the voice of American Orthodox Jewry, with over 400 congregations in its synagogue network. As the umbrella organization for American Orthodox Jewry, the OU is at the forefront of advocacy work on both state and federal levels, outreach to Jewish teens and young professionals through NCSY, Israel Free Spirit Birthright, Yachad and OU Press, among many other divisions and programs.