Rabbinical Alliance of America Celebrates 80 Years of Gevurah and 34th Annual Chai Elul Siyum HaShas with an Eye Towards “Fulfilling the Divine Will”  - The Jewish Voice
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Rabbinical Alliance of America Celebrates 80 Years of Gevurah and 34th Annual Chai Elul Siyum HaShas with an Eye Towards “Fulfilling the Divine Will” 

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Rabbinical Alliance of America Celebrates 80 Years of Gevurah and 34th Annual Chai Elul Siyum HaShas with an Eye Towards “Fulfilling the Divine Will” 

Rabbinic Guidance, Teshuva, And Answering the Clarion Call of Rabbinic Activism

Edited by: TJVNews.com

A new year is around the corner. Members of Klal Yisroel are pulling out all the stops to merit a Kesiva V’chasima Tova. Both at the individual and communal levels, so many individuals and communities need divine blessings. As always, Klal Yisroel looks towards its rabbis for leadership, guidance, advocacy and spiritual strengthening.

In the beautiful Sephardic Lebanese Congregation on Avenue T in Brooklyn, leaders of the Igud HaRabbonim/Rabbinical Alliance of America and other distinguished guests crystallized the calling of leadership in our day. This has been the Igud’s mission since 1942, when it was founded by great Jewish leaders including Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky zt”l, Rav Gedaliah Schorr zt”l and Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz zt”l, and later encouraged and guided by the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt”l & Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l. The Igud currently has a growing network of nearly 1,000 diverse rabbanim across the country, as well as a Beth Din led by Rav Herschel Kurzrock, and a robust advocacy operation.

For the 34th consecutive year, the Igud held its flagship gathering on Chai Elul, the birthday of the Baal Shem Tov and Baal HaTanya zt”l. The annual gathering’s highlights include a Siyum HaShas, cumulatively completed by the Igud’s member rabbis; and a convocation summing up the Igud mission for the year ahead.

Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, Executive Vice-President of the Igud, emphasized the consistent and fearless leadership that the Igud’s rabbis represent regardless of the issues of the day. “Rabbanim must often take unpopular positions,” he candidly explained. “The Igud provides the tools for them to succeed.”

The highlight of the multi-hour event, no doubt, was the Siyum HaShas. Rabbi Eytan Feiner, rabbi of Congregation Kneseth Israel, The White Shul, in Far Rockaway, New York, served as the Siyum HaShas Chairman. Rabbi Yaakov Shulman, Presidium Member of the Igud HaRabbonim, made the Siyum on the entire Talmud. Rabbi Shulman explained that the Siyum symbolizes that the Igud’s rabbis are not content merely with learning and leading the community around the clock. “The rabbanim show that they want to do ‘retzono shel makom,’ fulfill the divine will,” he exclaimed in an address replete with profound Talmudic insights. Rabbi Leibel Wulliger, Rosh Kollel Nachlas Dovid of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath, made the Has’chalas HaShas with an impassioned series of Talmudic interpretations. Joining the rich Torah program was Rabbi Herschel Welcher, renowned halachic authority and rabbi of Congregation Ahavat Yisrael, Kew Garden Hills, who gave an erudite Dvar Torah and Halacha which served as the 80th Celebratory Keynote Tribute Address.

Mayor Eric Adams, who was in Washington D.C. on city business, delivered the keynote address via video. Additionally, the RAA honored Mayor Adams’ three top Orthodox Jewish aides: Joel Eisdorfer – Senior Advisor to Mayor Adams with the Distinguished Leadership Award; Menashe Shapiro – Deputy Chief of Staff to Mayor Eric Adams with the Outstanding Guardianship Award; and Fred Kreizman – Commissioner of Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit with the Community Leadership Award. In addition, the RAA surprised Inspector Richard S Taylor – Commanding Officer, NYPD Community Affair Bureau with the Public Safety Award; Rabbi Gil Student – Director RAA/Igud Vaad Halacha with the Igud Service Award; and Scott Maurer – CEO and Executive Vice President of the Council of Jewish Organizations (COJO) of Staten Island with the Jewish Leadership Award.


The following special guests were present at the convocation: Councilman Kalman Yeger; Brooklyn South Chief Mike Kemper; Staten Island Chief Terence Hurson; Inspector Joe Hayward; RAA Director of Govermental & Community Relations, NYPD Clergy Liaison David Heskiel; Simon Sebag, representing Public Advocate Jumaane Williamswho presented the honorees with Recognition Certificates; Rabbi Eli Slavin, representing Congresswoman Yvette Clark who presented the honorees with Congressional Recognition Certificates; Israeli Deputy Consul General to New York, Israel Nitzan; NYPD Honorary Surgeon Dr. Jack Husney; NYPD Chaplain Imam Tahir; Igor Galanter, DC 37; Flatbush Jewish Community Council Chairman Josh Mehlman; and Executive Director of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island, Rabbi Moshe Wiener; Rabbi Eli Cohen, Executive Director of CHJCC; and Yitzy Weinberg, Executive Director Flatbush Community Fund, among other dignitaries that attended the event to discuss the concerns of Torah Jewry with the Igud. Rabbi Nissim Zeev, former Member of the Knesset and founder of the Shas party was also in attendance, and he participated with warm greetings.

The Siyum HaShas and dinner was dedicated in memory of Rabbi Meir Shapiro zt”l, Chief Rabbi of Buenos Aires and Igud Chairman, and his Rebbetzin Pearl Yita Shapiro zt”l, by Rabbi Pinny Shapiro and family. Rabbi Yaakov Shulman dedicated the Hadran in memory of his father Rabbi Shimaryahu Shulman, ZT’L.

The event began with greetings by the host, Rabbi Eliyahu Elbaz the rabbi of the Sephardic Lebanese Congregation, and an invocation by Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda) Blank, MS, BCC, Vice-President of Professional Development and External Affairs of the Igud HaRabbonim, and former New York City Housing Authority Police Department Chaplain. Subsequently, Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, Executive Vice-President, RAA/Igud and Event Chairman, together with Rabbi Michael Meir Melnicke, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, RAA/Igud and Dinner Chairman, presented awards to the honorees.

Rabbi Pesach Lerner, founder and chairman of Eretz HaKodesh gave a report on the growth of this amazing organization and explained how it has transformed the landscape at the World Zionist Organization and has become a force to improve Torah life in Israel. Rabbi Lerener proudly announced that Eretz HaKodesh appreciates the strong support of the Igud HaRabbonim and it plans to collaborate on projects to further strengthen the study and observance of Torah.

At the convocation, Rabbi Moish Schmerler was installed as the Executive Director/Menahel of the Igud HaRabbonim, and Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank was installed as the Vice-President of Professional Development and External Affairs of the Igud HaRabbonim.

Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht, Igud Presidium member and Rav of Congregation Beth Israel Chabad of Norwalk, CT, passionately articulated the Igud’s official convocation agenda for the coming year. Top agenda items include: lobbying for a mandated daily moment of silence, recognizing the Creator, in educational institutions across America; urging the Jewish Federation organizations to increase their support for Torah education; supporting the integrity of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate and its fealty to Halacha; and promoting awareness that the Igud is an authentic voice of American Jewry, whose Torah observant bloc is growing fast.

The event concluded with the climactic Siyum HaShas. This was the culmination of a year of learning of Igud’s rabbis, who divided the entire Talmud for individual study, and the beginning of a new period of study. Each new year has its own set of challenges but we constantly return to the Talmud for guidance. As the inspirational ceremonies concluded, the Igud’s rabbanim returned to their respective communities, with chizuk and a clear mandate for their avodas hakodesh in the year ahead.

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