On Tues., 6th of Tammuz, June 27, 2012, members of Anash of Los Angeles joined with friends and supporters of Yeshivas Bais Toras Menachem for a Tribute Reception celebrating the unique institution of higher learning’s completion of its fourth successful year, BH. Amongst the highlights of the celebration were remarks by the program’s primary Maggid Shiur, Rabbi Levi Chazan, under who’s thorough and patient tutelage, the bachurim at BTM successfully completed 2,3 and some, 4 “chalokim”, or sections, of the Code of Jewish Law required for obtainment of ‘Smicha’/Rabbinical ordination. Rabbi Chazan has a most engaging style of teaching, incorporating scholarly discussions and differing opinions of the poskim, with practical application.
The designated “testing Rav” for the specialized Smicha program is the renowned and widely respected Posek, and Av Bais Din D’kihal Bais Yehuda, Rabbi Elchanan Tauber. Rabbi Tauber, who has been a strong proponent of the program since its inception, has expressed how impressed he’s been by the students’ overall dedication to their studies and their fine grasp of the material. He continuously praises the boys for their hard work and commitment.
Bais Toras Menachem was established in 2007 in response to a void in the greater Chabad community in terms of quality programs catering to post-mesivta students who are not ‘cut out’ to handle the full grind and intensity of other yeshivos/Smicha programs, or who just want/need time to pursue other interests. By balancing a well-rounded curriculum of Smicha studies, Chassidus, Halachah and Hashkafa with various vocational, recreational opportunities – including GED & college level prep., music, martial arts, sports, hikes, other trips, & bbq’s, the program has enjoyed phenomenal success in keeping its students engaged on all levels. For example over thepast year, the boys enjoyed a Chanukah Shabbaton in S. Diego, Purim in Utah @ a new kosher ski resort, & end of year road trip/ Shabbaton in S. Fransisco. Our mashgiach & shliach Rabbi Yoni Sarue accompanied the bachurim and ensured that there was a nice balance between pleasure and shlichus work.
“The fact that these Talmidim are experiencing a sense of accomplishment, productivity & fun in other arenas has only enhanced their sense of spiritual growth on the Limudei Kodesh front,” says Rabbi Mordechai Katz, Dean of BTM. “The success of this program lies in the synthesis of these two elements as opposed to the usual sense of perceived conflict between them.”
Katz also points to the program’s numerous extra-curricular activities as providing vital enrichment and support for its spiritual and social aspirations. These include regular Chassidishe Farbrengens, Shabbatons and specialized in-house Shabbos experiences. In addition, Students are often engaged by many of the local Shluchim who involve them in outreach programs - each according to the student’s individual skills and inclinations. The students are likewise warmly welcomed and embraced by the Lubavitcher community of Los Angeles, making them feel as an integral part of the “Anash Family”.
Plans are underway to expand both the curricular and extracurricular components of the program for the coming 2012-2013 school year, including an allowance for students to earn an Associate’s Degree through a local college. The ground has been set for the acquirement of grants towards the tuition of such a facility.
“As we embark upon our 4th year, we are enthusiastic about achieving new heights in terms of what this program has to offer,” says Mrs. Rivky Katz, program coordinator. “We are thankful for the z’chus Hashem Has Given us to provide sincere bochurim with a ‘misgeres’ which promotes appreciation for the beauty and benefits of a positive learning experience when offered in a well balanced, trusting, positive, and warm environment.”