B’chasdei Hashem, on Monday, Yud Daled Sivan, June 20, SHNAS HAKHEL, 2016, Yeshivas Bais Toras Menachem (BTM) held its annual Gala Tribute Reception, at its base at Congregation Levi Yitzchok in Los Angeles. The event celebrated the unique institution of higher learning’s completion of its eighth successful year. The beautiful affair was temporarily challenged by a blackout at its onset, but swiftly afterwards, with the help of the audience, various sources of light were ignited, yet none brighter than the shining happy faces of our bachurim!
Indeed, a ‘spotlight’ shone brightly on each and every one of its bachurim as each were bestowed distinctive awards and certificates in accordance with their various achievements. This was truly a unique event like no other. This is not ‘your typical Graduation’ with speeches, awards, and everyone returns home the same. This was a memorable Simcha; a celebration of the highest caliber for the community and all of Anash. Indeed, the Shul was BH packed with friends, relatives and members of Anash who came to witness how these “teiyere (dear) bachurim” have stretched themselves to reach and achieve beyond what they ever dreamt they could. This was an evening filled with nachas and pride for all, and the realization and message that there is a broad spectrum of boys who ALL belong and are an INTRINSIC part of our Anash Community!
The bachurim shared Divrei Torah based on the Halochos they covered; others shared impressions of the Program; words from the heart and mind. One of the fathers who flew in from New York especially, gave over a message of inspiration to the graduates and the audience. Other parents and relatives came from out of town as well. Rabbi Chazan conveyed some powerful hora’os to the bachurim, wishing them much success in their future, especially for those who had completed the two year program and were embarking upon their future life. Rabbi and Mrs. Katz saluted the bachurim for ‘just being who they are’ relaying that each and every one holds a special place in their hearts even long after they part, and to let them know how much “they ‘matter’ to us, to our community, and to Klal Yisroel!”
There were Smicha certificates for the ‘stars of the evening’: those who successfully completed the four chalakim or sections, and those who completed two sections, of the Code of Jewish Law required for Rabbinical Ordination. This milestone was the result of countless hours of study under the thorough and patient tutelage of HaRav Levi Chazan, our Smicha Maggid Shiur and a noted Talmud Chacham in our community.
The designated “testing Rav” for the specialized Smicha program is the renowned and widely respected Posek, and Av Bais Din D’kehilla of Los Angeles, Harav Elchanan Tauber. Rabbi Tauber, who has been a strong proponent of the program since its inception, has expressed how impressed he has been by BTM’s students’ overall dedication to their studies and their fine grasp of the material.
Other awards were given for B’kiyus in Shulchan Orach; Hilchos T’fila and Birchas Hanehenin. At BTM one of the pre-requisites to acquire Smicha is good knowledge of the basic day to day Halochos; the Rebbe always emphasized the great importance in being ‘baki’ in this.
One of the goals of BTM is empowering its students with life skills, such as CPR, (which many boys achieved their Certification for) good nutrition and time for physical fitness, plus knowledge and training needed for gainful employment. To this end, there was a GED track as well as a diploma course in Digital Accounting at ORT College of Los Angeles. Most students took an entire year’s worth of this practical skills- based course, and their instructor attended to award and aplaud them with their certificates for their huge achievements.
In addition to the other rewarding studies this year, BTM added Shchita and Safrus classes in the evenings, to provide a fully rounded Kodesh curriculum.
Students also had the opportunity to ask any questions they wanted at a weekly Q & A session, which led to many meaningful and thought provoking discussion. Additionally, something BTM prides itself in is our innovative mini-series about preparation for Shidduchim and marriage, given by a noted Shadchan and Shidduch coach.
Of course, the bachurim got to enjoy a wide range of guest lectures, farbrengens, barbecues, hikes, trips and Shabbatons throughout Southern and Northern California.
The evening was the crowning event to cap off a very special, unique and successful eighth year and SHNAS HAKHEL, in BTM! One could truly witness the expression which the number ‘eight’ represents, which is “L’maaleh Miteva” (above the confines of nature) throughout the year. The achdus and pride amongst the bachurim, as well as their joy and enthusiasm were palpable as they melded together like a family unit.
The following students were honored:
Hatmimim: Mendel Botnick, Moishe Levinson, Nachie Samuels, Zalmy Avtzon, Baruch Marshak, Moshe K.,and Mendy Kohn, all received ‘Full Smicha”. Hatmimim: Shmuel Mendel Tenenbaum, Yona Elharar, Mendel Hornbacher, Moshe Scheiner, Yaakov Blanton, and Yossi Tevel received ‘Partial Smicha’ and will surely continue until they complete all.
Students who completed the Halochos of Shchita are: Nachie Samuels, Zalmy Avtzon, and Mendel Hornbacher. I’y”H this coming year we will continue with hands-on Shechting. Students who completed the Halochos of Safrus are: Mendel Botnick, Nachie Samuels and Moishe Levinson. Iy”H this coming year we will continue with actual quill, ink and parchment.
Bais Toras Menachem was established in 2008 by Rabbi and Mrs. Mordechai Katz in response to a serious need in the Jewish community in terms of quality programs catering to post-Mesivta students, age 18 and up, who are looking for something different and innovative. By balancing a well-rounded curriculum of Smicha studies, Chassidus, Halacha and Hashkafa with inspiring extra-curricular activities plus career training in the afternoons – the program has B”H enjoyed phenomenal success in keeping its students engaged on all levels.
Classes are held from 8:30 am until 2:30 pm for Limudei Kodesh, at Congregation Levi Yitzchok on La Brea Avenue, and the afternoon program is at a local institution. A beautiful dormitory has been rented to accommodate the out of town students. Spaces are filling up quickly!
We are looking forward to enhancing the program for the upcoming year, which begins on November 1, 2016. Stay tuned for more details as they develop.
To inquire further regarding BTM or to register for the 2015-16 academic year, please email firstname.lastname@example.org You may also contact Mrs. Rivky Katz at 323-495-3010 or Rabbi Katz at 323-936-2777 ext. 103.
To make a donation to our very worthy and critical cause, please use the donate button on our temporary website at www.Smicha.net. We are a ‘Mom and Pop Shop’ with minimal staff and manpower. We are dedicated 24/7 to the bachurim, leaving us minimal time to fundraise. Please help, every bit counts!