Last Wednesday saw the first-ever New York Inter-Yeshiva Public-Speaking Competition between the Yeshiva of Far Rockaway and Mesivta Shaarei Chaim of Far Rockaway.
The idea is the brainchild of Rabbi Y.Y. Rubinstein, who teaches public speaking in both yeshivas. He explained that the competition is designed to encourage and excite yeshiva talmidim about gaining the skills that will allow them to take their Torah knowledge and effectively convey it to others.
The concept immediately proved a hit with Rabbi Paysach Krohn, shlita, who enthusiastically volunteered to come and address the teams and the large numbers of their peers and parents who made up the audience.
Each of the four team members had to give a five-minute presentation. The talks were a dvar Torah to a frum audience, a dvar Torah to a non-frum audience, and a talk on a controversial topic, like the immigration debate, to a non-Jewish audience, explaining the Torah perspective on the subject. In the final and hardest round, each captain chose a topic for the opposing captain to speak on.
Points were awarded for content, clarity, and competence. The final score was close, with Yeshiva of Far Rockaway wining by four points.
Rabbi Rubinstein said, “The enthusiasm and standard of the boys was a credit to both yeshivas. Other yeshivas have already enrolled for next year’s competition, and there has been interest expressed from as far away as London and Los Angeles.”