Three Brief Reviews

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In the Fall 2023 issue of Jewish Action, I review the following three books:

  • Torat Chaim: Words to Share at Life’s Meaningful Moments edited by Rabbis Wes Kalmar,
    Noah Cheses, Steven Miodownik and Brahm Weinberg
  • The Golden Age of the Lithuanian Yeshivas by Ben-Tsiyon Klibansky
  • Choshev Mishpat: Software Ethics in Halacha by Shaul Moshe Alter

Torat Chaim: Words to Share at Life’s Meaningful Moments

Apprenticeship is an important part of becoming a professional. When it comes to Torah, joining the chain of practical tradition and learning from an experienced mentor is even more important. The Talmud (Berachot 47b) says that even if someone has learned many Torah texts, if he has not served under an experienced scholar, he is an am ha’aretz, an ignoramus.

For twenty years, Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter has been gathering young rabbis twice a year to help them prepare for holidays and hone their rabbinic skills. For the many rabbis who were fortunate enough to attend these “Yarchei Kallah,” Rabbi Schacter served as a mentor, guiding them through their challenges in the congregational rabbinate. (Also important, perhaps life changing, were the sessions with Mrs. Yocheved Schacter, an experienced psychotherapist.)

Rabbi Schacter began the Yarchei Kallah when he was dean of the Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik Institute in Boston, and took the project with him when he moved to Yeshiva University. For well over a decade, the Yeshiva University Yarchei Kallah has trained Modern Orthodox rabbis in the practical aspects of the rabbinate. A mainstay of the Yarchei Kallah are the binders of primary sources of homiletical material that rabbis can incorporate into their sermons. Prominent scholars are also invited to address the gathered rabbis. Overall, the Yarchei Kallah offers rabbis the opportunity for continued training and a safe space to share experiences with colleagues and seek guidance from those who have faced similar challenges.

Continued here: link

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student currently is serving his third term on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and also serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazineand the Board of OU Press. He has published four English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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