By Rochelle Maruch Miller
Walk into the beis medrash at Lander College for Men Beis Medrash L’Talmud at any time and you can feel the energy–in the room, in the give and take between the students, in the dynamic with the rebbeim. In this space, students, kollel members, shoelim u’meishivim, roshei chaburah, and roshei yeshiva learn side by side and vigorously debate the sugya. Here, a student’s peers become his friends, and his rebbe becomes his trusted mentor.
Under the leadership of the rosh ha’yeshiva, Rabbi Yonasan Sacks, the two-to-three-year semichah program offers the opportunity to immerse oneself in sugyos haShas and deepen the student’s understanding of halachah, while providing the practical education necessary for chinuch and rabbanus.
Each year, they prepare their talmidim to serve their communities as educators, advocates, and leaders. Students have the chance to learn under the guidance of roshei yeshiva, a kollel elyon, three sho’elim u’meishivim, a mashgiach, and talmidei chachamim who add to Beis Medrash L’Talmud’s archive of shiurim that spans all topics and interests.
Talmidim spend morning and night seder in yeshiva limud preparing for semichah. For two years, students delve into basar b’chalav, selected topics in hilchos Shabbos, as well as ta’aruvos and hagalas kelim. The third year, while optional, is a critical opportunity to explore more nuanced topics, like hilchos niddah and aveilus. Additional classes address contemporary issues confronting rabbanim, as well as homiletics and pastoral and managerial skills.
“Beis Medrash L’Talmud played a critical role in enabling me to begin my own career in chinuch. The lessons absorbed, both inside and outside the beis medrash, helped me develop my own approach to being a mechanech,” explained Rabbi Aryeh Young, who currently serves as an 11th- and 12th-grade rebbe at Rambam Mesivta, as well as the director of alumni affairs at Lander College for Men.
In celebration of the ordination of 43 musmachim from 2011-2014, the Lander College for Men Beis Medrash L’Talmud hosted a chag ha’semichah tribute dinner on Sunday, December 7. LCM also honored menahel and rosh yeshiva Rabbi Yehuda Shmulewitz; alumni Rabbi Koby Milgraum ’06, Meir Milgraum ’08, Elchanan Milgraum ’09, and Micha Milgraum ’12, all brothers; and Rabbi Michael and Mrs. Shulamit Hasten.
“At this event, we paid tribute to our most worthy musmachim, whose exemplary commitment to Torah, avodah, and gemilus chasadim has enabled them to reach this celebrated milestone,” said Rabbi Sacks. “We take great pride in their erudition and commitment to Klal Yisrael.”
The semichah program at the Beis Medrash L’Talmud immerses students in sugyos haShas and deepens their understanding of halachah, while providing the practical education necessary for success in chinuch and rabbanus. This is LCM’s second chag ha’semichah; the first was held in 2010.
“These young musmachim will enrich Jewish life across the United States, many assuming positions as mechanchim and rabbanim,” said Dr. Moshe Sokol, dean of LCM. “Others will pursue careers in a variety of fields, but they will continue to learn and teach Torah, and provide the broadly educated and deeply knowledgeable and passionate leadership our community needs and deserves.”
In acknowledgment of his numerous accomplishments in spreading Torah, Rabbi Shmulewitz was presented with the Harbatzas Torah Award. In addition to his responsibilities as menahel, Rabbi Shmulewitz also delivers a daily shiur. He studied under his uncle, the famed Rabbi Chaim Shmulewitz, at the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and at the Kollel Beis Yosef in Brooklyn, and has had a distinguished career teaching in Jewish schools in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Long Island, and Brooklyn prior to coming to LCM.
“Rabbi Shmulewitz is a master educator, whose dedication and warmth inspire his many devoted students,” said Rabbi Sacks.
Pillars of the Indiana Jewish community, Rabbi and Mrs. Michael Hasten were honored as Parents of the Year for their steadfast commitment to Lander College and to all of Touro. They are the parents of six children, including Yonatan, who is currently studying business at LCM. An accomplished talmid chacham, Rabbi Hasten established the Rabbi Naftali Riff Yeshiva High School in Indianapolis in 2008. For three years, he traveled 1,400 miles each week, commuting between Indiana and New York, while he was working toward his masters in Jewish Studies at the Touro College Graduate School of Jewish Studies and simultaneously teaching at the Lander College for Women-The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School. Rabbi Hasten is the son of Dr. Mark Hasten, chairman of the Touro College Board of Trustees and its Board of Overseers for over two decades.
The Milgraum brothers, who grew up in Edison, New Jersey and have three other siblings, were honored as the LCM Alumni of the Year. All four were very active and accomplished at LCM: during Koby’s senior year, he was presented with the Talmud Award; Meir is very active in alumni events, and his wife, Natanya, is a Touro alumna; Elchanan appears annually for the LCM Accounting Society to discuss his career and currently serves on the LCM Alumni Executive Board as vice president; and Micha, the youngest member of the Milgraum family, served as the vice president of the LCM student government and upon graduating received the College Service Award.
“As the Alumni Director at Touro College, it was truly inspiring to see the wide array of alumni attending this year’s tribute dinner and chag ha’semichah,” said Rabbi Young. “Every single graduating class in the school’s 15-year history was significantly represented and over 50% of our alumni living in the tri-state area were in attendance. The loyalty of our talmidim is truly unique and appreciated.”
The Lander College for Men is an undergraduate division of Touro College, in service to the Jewish community. Established in the fall of 2000 and located in Queens, New York, the Lander College for Men is grounded in a dual curriculum of intensive Torah study and a wide range of academic programs, and students major in professionally oriented disciplines. Lander College for Men provides students with an environment that produces ethical, mature, and well-rounded professionals committed to scholarship and career growth. Dedicated to Touro’s mission of perpetuating the Jewish heritage, Lander College for Men prepares students to uphold the ideals of Torah and pursue positions of professional and communal leadership.
The alumni of Lander College for Men Beis Medrash L’Talmud are becoming leaders and respected members of their communities. They serve Klal Yisrael with distinction in synagogues and schools across New York and the nation, each a testament to the depth and power of the exemplary experience and education available at Beis Medrash L’Talmud.
By Rochelle Maruch Miller