Teaneck–Congregation Keter Torah is in its eighth year of the “Torah in the AM” program. The program revolves around interactive study of classical Jewish texts for retired men and women featuring two weekly shiurim in Talmud Sanhedrin on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9:45–10:45 a.m., followed by a class (on Thursdays) in the religious thought of Maimonides as embedded in his code of Jewish Law, Mishneh Torah.
There are currently 25 participants with diverse textual backgrounds, and there is room for more. Some participants use the classical Vilna edition of the Talmud, while others use the Steinsalz (Hebrew) or Soncino (English) editions. The program opens at 9:00 a.m. with an informal group chabura study of the personalities of the book of Genesis. Coffee, tea, and cookies courtesy of Butterflake Bakery are available for the participants, who can join any or all of the components of the program.
Rabbi Menachem Meir, the founding principal of the Frisch School and a renowned Torah scholar, is the program leader. He says the program goal is to “offer a rich and engaging environment for men and women to study Talmud and think about the halachic and aggadic topics of the tractate. All participants are invited to challenge through probing questions and observations. It is indeed an interactive Talmud class. The class examines Maimonides’ formulation of the halacha at the conclusion of each sugya.”
In past years the group has studied Bava Metzia and Ketubot and is now engaged in Sanhedrin. He added, “The presentations of religious concepts are crisp and focused while the discussion is robust.” During past years this component of “Torah in the AM” focused on books of Tanach such as Iyov and Daniel.
Meir described the program as unique: “There may not be another program in the county that brings men and women retirees together for a rich and engaging semi-weekly Torah study experience during the morning hours. The diverse background of the participants is remarkable. The journey through the sugya brings everyone together,” he continued.
Rabbi Shalom Baum, Keter Torah’s mara d’asra, told JLBC, “Torah in the AM was a response to what I saw was a gap in full morning learning opportunities for retired individuals. Rabbi Meir’s excellent reputation as a sophisticated educator has played an important role in attracting broad participation from throughout the community.” He added, “We are committed to offering this program as a free learning opportunity, although I am looking for a donor to underwrite the program.”
By Rivka Hia