By Fruma Landa, News Editor
On January 6th, sstud and ystud emails were sent out on behalf of the Yeshiva University student councils, announcing a new winter break learning initiative:
“When anti-semitism surfaces in our communities, we must stand together: in memory of the victims and in honor of the families. We must respond as one nation to honor them. Please join your fellow students and sign up to learn over winter break in the memory of those who have been killed, for the recovery of those injured, and for peace for all of the Jewish people. When we return, we will celebrate in a campus-wide siyum on both Beren and Wilf. Stand in solidarity, learn together, so that no Jews will face hate or fear in our communities alone.”
Shayna Doretsky, SSBS ’20, the treasurer for the Beren student councils, was inspired to start this winter break learning program because, as she commented to the YU Observer: “I think it’s really important for the YU student body, and YU community as a whole to not only respond to anti-Semitism publicly, but to also do everything that we can to honor each victim and prevent future losses. After the attack in Monsey, which followed the attack in New Jersey, the student body felt like we had an immediate responsibility to respond in a meaningful way not only to any one event, but to all of the attacks that we as a Jewish community have had in recent years. As individuals, there wasn’t very much each one of us could do, but as a community, …we found a meaningful way to respond…in the memory of those killed, for the refuah of those injured, and for the hope of peace and…wellbeing…[of] Klal Yisroel. I am beyond proud to have been a part of this effort, and I thank everyone who helped to make it possible.”
The email contained three links — one each, for members of the Beren and Wilf campuses to sign up to recite a perek of Tehillim, and a link to sign up to learn a perek of Mishnayot. The two goals were to finish Sefer Tehillim every day of winter break and to finish the Mishnayot by the end of the break. The perakim of Mishnayot were divided in half between the students of the Beren Campus and the students of the Wilf Campus. Although the division of perakim was based on campus, the sign up sheet allowed for flexibility. Women on the Beren Campus were therefore able to sign up for the perakim alloted to the Wilf campus and vice versa.
Sara Schatz, SCW ’20, remarked, “As a student leader, I found it to be incredibly inspiring; I was pleasantly surprised to see how many people, coming from all different areas of YU, were involved. As a student who partook in the Mishnayot learning, it felt like I was contributing to unifying our nation through Torah learning.”
The siyum for the completion of Mishnayot will take place on February 9th at the Tu B’shvat seder hosted by the Israel Club on both the Beren and Wilf campuses. Students are encouraged to partake in the Mishnayot learning until this time.