SBM Alumni

What is special about the SBM is that not only does it provide an intensive, vigorous, and dynamic learning experience, but that it joins creative Torah study with some of the most pressing issues of the day - like social justice, spiritual expression, and notions of progress in the religious experience. I have gained immeasurably from my experience at SBM and recommend the program to anyone who wants to contribute a more erudite and reasoned voice to the Orthodox Jewish community.

Dr. Shai Secunda is the 2007-2009 Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Postdoctoral Associate in Judaic Studies at Yale University.

I attended the Summer Beit Midrash over the course of three summers during some of my formative years of study. Rabbi Klapper always forced us to challenge what we often took for granted, to consider new sources, and new lines of thought. I think the most important thing I learned is that we have an obligation to confront the challenges of our day and think proactively how to address them within the authentic and dynamic guidelines of our halakhic tradition. We came to understand that this is in fact the well established process of our halakhic system. Our final assignment was to write a "responsum" related to a topic of our study, and this brought the point home. Rabbi Klapper has an important vision for Jewish leadership that every semikah student or student of the Torah should experience and learn from.

Rabbi Dani Rockoff
Rabbi of Congregation BIAV, Overland Park, KS

Unlike other Summer Beit Midrash programs, Rabbi Klapper’s emphasis on Halakha and the Halakhic process allows for the possibility for Halakha to truly become a part of Jewish living as opposed to instruction for Jewish practice. The SBM teaches its students to perceive the fundamental issues behind juridical decision-making, thereby reinforcing the bridge between theory and practice and allowing students to develop into thinking Jewish leaders.

Ira Bedzow
Adjunct professor at Touro College South
Director of Land Acquisition & Finance for Groupe Pacific

The summer when I was a SBM fellow was a watershed period of time in terms of my maturing relationship with Torah study and Jewish leadership. The intellectual stimulation from Rav Klapper's shiur as well as the camaraderie of an extremely impressive and diverse cohort of fellows combined to create a truly unique intellectual environment. Almost a decade later, in my work as a rabbi and Jewish educator, I still find myself time and again sharing ideas with my students that I first encountered in my studies with Rabbi Klapper.

Rabbi David Wolkenfeld is a co-director of the Jewish Learning Initiative at Princeton University.

The SBM was where I first learned to look at Halakha as a legal system that functions as any legal system must. The SBM was a great learning experience, but also a very enjoyable one. There was an excellent chevre, starting with the Klappers themselves. The program was serious, but afforded us the opportunity to experience Boston – we got to see the Samuel Adams brewery, Fenway Park, and the Freedom Trail.

Elli Fischer
Hebrew-English Translation Services
fischer.tirgum@gmail.com
Tel/Fax: +972-8-975-0638
POB 74, Modiin, Israel, 71700
adderabbi.blogspot.com The Summer Beit Midrash poses essential questions about Jewish life and study in a format of curiosity and exploration. Chaim Strauchler Rabbi Shaarei Shomayim Congregation The Summer Beit Midrash Program provided a unique environment to deeply explore a central contemporary halakhic issue and go beyond the stereotypes and misconceptions that are usually brought to the table with regard to hot-button issues. The depth and sincerity of Rabbi Klapper's shiurim created an open-minded yet committed atmosphere necessary to understanding halakha and the halakhic process. Rabbi Shlomo Brody Ram, Yeshivat Hakotel Online Editor, Tradition Ask The Rabbi columnist, The Jerusalem Post