Tens of Prize Day Celebrations for Student Gemara Program

It was “Prize Day” in tens of Lubavitch schools this month! Numerous award celebrations around the world concluded this year’s “Gemara Bifnim”, a full-year study program that teaches students how to master a page of Gemara—bifnim.

Now, as the end of the year draws to a close, it’s time for the participants to be rewarded.

“We know how challenging it can be to focus on learning Gemara bifnim, and so we created this program to be motivational and exciting for both students and administration,” shared Rabbi Avrohom Bluming, director of Igud Hamelamdim and founder of the program.

The feedback has been startlingly clear. “It’s fantastic,” shared Rabbi Mendy Chazan from Baltimore, “the program enhanced the boys’ chayus in learning and had them looking forward to learning more.”

In the five years since its inception, the program has taken off in numerous Lubavitch schools. Perhaps that’s the largest indicator of its success. Yeshivos in Baltimore, Chicago, Buffalo, Toronto, Morristown and Cheder at the Ohel have each integrated the program into their curricula or after-school routines. And the students love it.

Crown Heights schools celebrate “Prize Day” in one location, but for out-of-town yeshivos, Igud Hamelamdim sends the prizes directly. Each school participates equally, but creates its own award ceremony.

At Cheder-Lubavitch in Baltimore, a one-of-a-kind event was designed by principal Rabbi Efraim Sorkin. Winners received full seforim sets, beautiful Judaica and even a bike. After a year of comprehensive study, students were featured and publicly applauded for their efforts. But, perhaps most importantly, each student had accomplished a challenging task: acquiring skills to learn a page of Gemara.

Gemara Bifnim uses a number of tools including a daily call-in line, written tests every three weeks, concurrent raffles and a Shabbos review to bolster the students’ success in understanding how to read a page of Gemara. The end-of-year prizes are given as a culmination of points from throughout the year.

Rabbi Menachem Weinbaum of United Lubavitcher Yeshiva in Crown Heights sings the praises of the program: “Gemara Bifnim has motivated my talmidim in an incredible way—with their thoughtful points and prize system. It has really given the boys an enjoyment in learning Gemara and specifically in doing chazarah. The tests have held the talmidim accountable and responsible for the learning.”

Rabbi Zalman Twersky of Chicago had another angle, “Besides empowering and inspiring our students, the program really prepares them for mesivta.”

As the year comes to an end, parents and teachers of the hundreds of Gemara Bifnim participants in tens of schools thanked Igud Hamelamdim for sharing their innovative methodology for enabling students mastery over a page of Gemara.

In the words of Rabbi Meir Perlstein, fifth grade rebbi in Morristown cheder,“ My students are discovering for themselves the pshat coming alive right there within the holy words of Gemara and Rashi! It’s wonderful to see. Thank you for enabling them to learn Gemara the proper way!”

Undoubtedly, the students, having mastered these skills, will be able to utilize them to enhance their learning throughout the summer months, wherever they may be.

Be the first to Comment!

Comments To The Editor