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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Igud Harabbanim – Rabbinical Alliance of America gathers for 29th annual Siyum Hashas

Rabbinic leaders from across the country flocked to the Sephardic Lebanese Synagogue in Brooklyn on Tuesday evening for the 29th annual Chai Elul Siyum Hashas held by the Igud Harabbanim – Rabbinical Alliance of America.

This is the premier annual event of the rabbinical body, which was founded in 1942 by gedolim such as Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky zt”l, Rav Gedaliah Schorr zt”l and Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz zt”l, and encouraged and guided by the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt”l & Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l. The Igud currently has a network of over 950 rabbanim, as well as a Beth Din led by Rav Herschel Kurzrock, and robust clout in the government advocacy sphere.

The event opened within the beautiful main Sanctuary of the Sephardic Lebanese Synagogue, which is led by the esteemed Chacham Eliyahu Elbaz. Commencing with the traditional “Chomer L’Drush” session chaired by Rabbi Yaakov Klass, member of the RAA Presidium and Rav of Congregation Bnei Matisyahu in Brooklyn. During this session, several dynamic Igud rabbanim shared an array of intriguing maarei mekomos (Torah sources) and perspectives that rabbanim can utilize when addressing their kehillos during the upcoming Yomim Tovim.

A range of powerful drush material was shared by Rabbi Klass; Rabbi Shalom Axelrod of Young Israel of Woodmere; Rabbi Shmuel Marcus of Young Israel of Queens Valley; and Rabbi Yaakov Spivak, Igud Presidium member and Rosh Kollel Ayshel Avraham in Monsey. The dais, with the Shul’s exquisite Aron Kodesh as a backdrop, was a live testament to the vibrancy of the Igud chain, where veteran senior rabbanim pass the torch to the next generation of effective leaders. Noted community activist Mark Meyer Appel addressed the audience as well, sharing the Igud’s legislative accomplishments and future agenda on issues such as special education, tuition relief and more.

This session was dedicated in memory of HaRav Shlomo (Saul) Eisner zt”l, by Rebbetzin Fayge Eisner and Family.

Completing Shas – Together

A grand Siyum Hashas followed in the Shul’s beautiful hall, where a hot, delicious Seudas Mitzvah was served by Premier Catering. For the 29th year, the rabbanim of the Igud collectively completed Shas, and this Siyum is their celebratory event. It is also the 19th year that the event was held at the Sephardic Lebanese Synagogue. A special proclamation was presented to Chacham Eliyahu Elbaz for having his Shul serve as the “Achsaniya Shel Torah,” (Torah host).

Rabbi Yehoshua Hecht, Rav of Beth Israel Synagogue Chabad in Norwalk, CT, and Igud Presidium Chairman, welcomed the esteemed guests. Rabbi Shmaryahu Shulman, Zekan Rosh Beth Din of the Igud, and Chacham Hanania Elbaz of Ahi Ezer delivered riveting addresses highlighting the significance of the Siyum and the importance of the Igud mission. Rabbi Chaim Komendant, the recently appointed Menahel and Dayan of the Igud Beth Din, spoke about the importance of having a Beth Din with impeccable integrity.

The Siyum Hashas and Hadran were recited by HaRav Doniel Lander, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshivas Ohr HaChaim of Queens, who then presented an intricate discourse on the topic of “Mitzvos Tzrichos Kavana.” The new cycle of Shas – to be completed by the Igud rabbanim over the next year, b’ezras Hashem – was begun by HaRav Chaim Davis, Rav K’hillas Bais Medrash L’Torah and Rosh Kollel Birchas Shmuel in Passaic, who elaborated upon the Mitzvah of Krias Shema.

The Siyum Hashas was dedicated in memory of HaRav Meir Shapiro zt”l by Reb Pinny Shapiro and Family.

Activism and More

The final segment of this momentous event focused on the important askanus work that the Igud/RAA and its affiliates conduct, both publicly and behind the scenes, on a variety of key issues to advocate on behalf of Torah true values in the USA and Israel: Supporting Israeli Chief Rabbinate and its jurisdiction over the holiness of the Kosel (Western Wall) area; educating and advocating on end of life issues and proper burial standards; the support of the Seven Universal Laws of Noah within the realm of government policies; alleviating the opioid crises; and organizing youth intervention programs.

Rabbi Yaakov Menken of the Coalition for Jewish Values, accompanied by Rabbi Pesach Lerner, shared his important work in extolling the Torah community’s true values on issues such as family, morality and more to the world at large, and particularly to non-Jewish activists who share many policy goals. The RAA’s strong backing of his work add a heft of credibility and effectiveness to his efforts.

The energetic Reb Duvi Honig of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, which works together with the Igud on a variety of issues, stressed the importance of the Jewish community to network and work together proactively. He placed a particular focus on the power of networking to help others succeed in parnassah (livelihood) and introduced the “Parneis Beis Knesses” program, where each kehillah designates one or two individuals to assist members with parnassah networking and resources.

Before Birchas Hamazon, Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, Executive Vice President of the Igud, expressed the body’s ambitious work to spread Torah true values on myriad fronts, particularly the battle to maintain the Chief Rabbinate’s control over the Kosel Hamaaravi, the Western Wall area in Jerusalem. Pointing to the diverse group of rabbanim seated throughout the room, Rabbi Mirocznik exclaimed, “These are the people who take the heat for the Kosel’s holiness…Thank you for being our fearless leaders!”

By: Shimmy Blum