By Yair Shavrick, Opinion Editor
As this is my last semester in Yeshiva University (YU), I have been looking back at my academic and class choices and found myself very pleased. The classes pertaining to my psychology major were informative, my English literature classes brought culture and excitement, but most important of all was my choice to join the Stone Beis Medrash Program (SBMP). In my first semester, I initially planned to switch into the Isaac Breuer College (IBC) morning program to rid my afternoon class schedule of the Judiac core requirements. I viewed YU as a place of academics where Torah and Jewish history were getting in my way of a Bachelor’s degree. Fast forward to today, I am incredibly grateful for choosing to stick with the SBMP program.
In comparison to the other morning programs offered at YU, SBMP has the most balanced schedule. The Yeshiva Program (YP) finishes their learning at three o’clock in the afternoon, and does not really incorporate classroom-style learning. IBC almost solely focuses on classroom learning, in which students can create a schedule with different Jewish-related topics such as Hebrew language, or attending minyan (prayer service). SBMP however finishes at one o’clock, and has a concrete schedule including Beis Medrash (partnered) learning, as well as shiurim (lectures) pertaining to Gemara (Talmud), Halacha (Jewish Law), and Navi (Prophets). In my experience, I have found SBMP to be the most well rounded, as well as most informative.
As my last semester concludes, my morning Rabbi (Rabbi Rapp) discusses future semester plans and topics which will be covered. As he talked about these, I found myself informed and recognizing each topic he introduces to the shiur (class). The reason for this is SBMP has a three-year trajectory which covers all of Naviim Rishonim (Early Prophets), Halacha topics applicable to everyday life, and Gemara learning which follows the Mesechta (Tractate) schedule of YU as a whole.
Judaism is based on inherited traditions and knowledge; our history plays an integral part in its existence. By learning Naviim Rishonim, students leave SBMP with a complete grasp of how Jews progressed from kingship to the first Beis Hamikdash (Temple) being created and destroyed. The knowledge of day to day Kashrus (law of kosher) is instilled in students via the teaching of topics such as Baser Bichalav (the forbidden mixing of meat and dairy), monetary laws (tithing, etc.), and various other informative lessons.
Another crucial aspect in my mind that places SBMP above the other morning programs is that it finishes at one o’clock. Classes, in my experience, are mainly offered starting at three o’clock, leaving no break between shiur and classes for YP students. Some classes which fulfill Judaic cores are offered from one o’clock to around three o’clock. Even if one is in IBC, taking Judaic classes in place of the other morning programs, the students miss out on educating themselves further in Judaism and Jewish knowledge.
In summation, I have found the morning program option of SBMP to be the most informative, fulfilling, and balanced option available at YU. The knowledge and information attained throughout my experience makes me look back at my time in YU with contentment, happiness, and admiration.