As those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer come to a close, avenues for Jewish learning here in Kansas City are plentiful.
“Inquiring minds want to know,” said Chabad Rabbi Mendy Wineberg of the appeal of the Men’s Summer Yeshiva Program.
“People do want to study. We are the people of the book. Most of the time, the problem is we don’t have enough time or a class may not be at a convenient time or place,” he said.
So, Rabbi Wineberg said, the attraction of this program is that it can be when you want, where you want and what you want.
“So there’s no excuse not to study,” Rabbi Wineberg said.
Some who participate make it a point to study throughout the year, while others, according to Rabbi Wineberg, are people who really haven’t spent much time studying Jewish texts.
“Maybe they will (do so more often), once they taste it,” he said.
Four visiting rabbinical students are running the study sessions that take place Sunday through Thursday from now through Aug. 23. Two taught here last summer — native Kansas Citians Yudell Reiz and Shmuli Wineberg. Two of their friends, Yosef Rivkin of New York and Moshe Cherruf of Chicago, are joining them for the summer program this year. Reiz and Rivkin will be studying for their rabbinical ordination in Cincinnati. Shmuli Wineberg and Cheruff will be completing their Bachelor of Arts degrees in Talmudic Study and Jewish Philosophy at the Rabbinical College of America in Morristown, N.J.
Rabbi Wineberg said the response to the Men’s Yeshiva has been wonderful.
“Last year we had about 75 people total that we studied with. This year I think there will be between 125 and 150 people that we actually learn with,” he said.
Sessions generally last one hour and can cover a variety of topics, including Kabbalah, Maimonides, Talmud, Jewish philosophy, the Code of Jewish Law and Chassidut. Men and boys are invited to participate. Women are not invited because the young scholars are not married, Rabbi Wineberg said, and they are more comfortable studying with men.
“We can work with people from 8 to 85,” Rabbi Wineberg said.
The four students working with the Summer Yeshiva program are also running Chabad’s Merkos Shlichus. Every summer, Chabad rabbinical students travel to small communities in this area (and others across the country) to meet with Jewish people who would otherwise be isolated. Rabbi Wineberg said the scholars this year have visited Osage Beach, Sedalia, Branson, Columbia, Jefferson City and Springfield, Mo. Visits to Topeka and Manhattan, Kan., are still possible.
Both the Men’s Summer Yeshiva and the Merkos Shlichus, according to Rabbi Wineberg, help “light that spark to get it glowing again.”
“We want to light that fire; raise that awareness. At that point, there are so many avenues for learning. Our own Web site, www.chabad.org, has 20,000 articles on it. There’s so many ways for a person to connect once we’ve turned on the switch,” Rabbi Wineberg said.
Rabbi Wineberg said plenty of time remains to set up study times. Anyone interested in arranging a session or sessions in the Summer Men’s Yeshiva may contact Rabbi Wineberg at (913) 649-4852 or firstname.lastname@example.org.