Showing posts from August, 2012

A History of Learning Honored at Mayanot

] Mayanot Yeshiva was proud to welcome Rabbi Yaakov and Bailah Greenbaum, as well as their grandson Levi Yitzchak, to their campus today. When the Mayanot Women’s Program was established four years ago, Rabbi Yaakov initiated contact with Rabbi Shloime Gestetner, Dean of Mayanot and Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov, the Executive Director. He wanted to donate a Torah library to the new Mayanot Women’s Program in loving memory of his parents, Reb Shmuel and Rachel Greenbaum. This gesture was extremely kind and generous given the new beginnings of Mayanot. It was just what the Yeshiva needed. Rabbi Yaakov’s parents were true Torah scholars. His mother Rachel was one of the first students at the famed Beis Yaakov, a seminary in Krakow. It was established in 1917 by Sarah Schenirer, the renowned pioneer of Jewish education for women. His father, Reb Shmuel, studied at the famous Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva, which was headed by the acclaimed Rabbi Meir Shapiro (who established the Daf Yomi progr

Five Years Ago…

(Speech given on Shabbat at the National Jewish Retreat in Weston, FL on August 4th, 2012)   Five years ago, I was an atheist. And not just your normal, run-of-the-mill, “I’m too cool/modern/educated to believe in G-d,” kind of atheist. If there is such a thing, I was a devout atheist. I preached atheism. Science and technology were bred into me and it didn’t take many years into my childhood for me to come to the firm conclusion that between physics, mathematics, biology, and chemistry, science had a completely reasonable and logical explanation for absolutely everything. Religion on the other hand, was confusing at best and was a manmade concoction of children’s stories at worst. Passover was spent with my mom’s family one weekend and Easter was spent with my dad’s family the next.  Winter in my house growing up was characterized by a pine tree topped with blue and white ornaments, aka “the Chanukah bush.” Needless to say, when I arrived at the University of Central Florida as a fres