CTL Leadership Shabbaton

The week of February 5, 2011 - Shabbat Parshat Teruma, Rosh Chodesh Adar Alef - Eitan Polster '08, Dovi Hochbaum '08, Dov Lerner '05, Michael Berkowitz '05 and I, Asher Lindebaum '08, attended the CTL Shabbaton in Wesley Hills, NY, to spend Shabbat with Rav Moshe Taragin. Besides the obvious advantage of spending Shabbat with my shana aleph Ra”m, which always proves to be exciting, going to a community like Wesley Hills offered a unique opportunity for all of us. Wesley Hills, a suburb of Monsey, is a small Modern Orthodox community with many YU graduates. The Rav of the shul at which we davened, Kehillas Bais Yehuda (KBY), is Rabbi Josh Blass, a YU Sgan Mashgiach.

On a cold, icy Friday night we all attended Rav Taragin’s shiur on Parshat Hashavua. Rav Taragin attracted a warm, sizeable crowd despite the inclement weather. Following the shiur, we sat down to a private tisch with Rav Taragin and Rav Blass. We discussed in detail different aspects of chinuch, the rabbinate, and Jewish community leadership. It was interesting to hear the varying perspectives offered by Rav Blass and Rav Taragin, as they were able to reflect on their personal experiences undergoing stages of life similar to our own.

The next day I was given the opportunity to speak at the Teen Minyan in KBY. Meanwhile, Rav Taragin captivated the audience in the main shul during the drasha on Shabbos morning. Later in the day, Dov Lerner, a rising star in the RIETS Semicha program, delivered a shiur on the history of kiddush levana. It was incredible to witness Dov’s ability to tie together sources from halacha, hashkafa, English literature and philosophy in such an interesting and engaging way. Following mincha, Rav Taragin spoke once again to a large crowd about Geulat Yisrael.

This shabbaton was a terrific platform for us to develop and display our talents in community leadership. We were able to develop and maintain connection with incredible Rabbeim, to give a bit back to the community, and have an enjoyable, meaningful time.

- Asher Lindenbaum