The Beren Bekius Program Offers Torah Learning Opportunity

By: Raquel Leifer  |  March 11, 2022

By Raquel Leifer, Features Editor 

Shammai says, “Make your Torah fixed” (Pirkei Avos 1:15)

The Beren Bekius Program (BBP) is an incredible learning opportunity offered at Stern College for Women. Through the joint efforts of the Torah Activities Council (TAC), the Office of Student Life (OSL), and the Dean’s Office, the program began in 2018 and has been running for four years. The program incentivizes students to take on a particular sefer  [Jewish religious text] or multiple seforim, working towards completing as much material as possible over a semester  in a scheduled manner, either independently or with a chavrusa [Torah studies learning partner] After completing the assigned learning, participants are required to take a test every few weeks to ensure they have retained the information learned. Students who display a grasp of the material learned can earn a gift card to the YU Seforim Sale.

This semester, there were four tracks offered and participants signed up for one or multiple tracks. Even if one did not participate in the previous semester of learning, they could still sign up for the following semester of learning. The tracks offered include: Tanach, Halacha [Jewish law], Mishna, and Mussar [Ethics]. 

This semester, the Tanach track completed Sefer Devarim [Deuteronomy] and picked up with Sefer Yirmiyahu [Jeremiah]. The Halacha track continued with learning Peninei Halacha–Laws of Women’s Prayers by Rabbi Eliezer Melamed. The Mishnah track continued with Seder Moed (specifically Mishnayos Pesachim, Shekalim, and Yoma). Finally, the Mussar track focused on learning Mishlei. Each track had its own schedule dictating which chapters to learn and when to take the corresponding test. 

In previous years, participating BBP students have learned Seder Nashim [women], Daniel, Divrei Hayamim I and II [Chronicles], Masechet Makkot [lashes], and Peninei Halacha–Zemanim by Rabbi Eliezer Melamed.

BBP participant, Yona Berzon (SCW ‘23), remarked, “My favorite part about the program is the structured learning. I also like how the exams hold you accountable. It’s like mitzvah goreres mitzvah [one mitzvah leads to another]. By learning with the BBP program, I am able to buy more seforim at the Seforim Sale which leads to even more learning!” Ilana Rouhani (SCW ‘23) also expressed, “I love BBP because I can learn at a pace that works for me and my schedule.” 

Although the deadline to sign up for the Spring 2022 semester has closed, students can look forward to signing up for the program next year!

Photo Credit: Beren Bekius Program