Innovative Halacha Program Expands to 19 Chabad Communities

Over 400 people in 19 Chabad communities have joined the Chabad branch of the Semichas Chaver program, which provides in-depth halacha classes, along with the rulings of the Alter Rebbe, Tzemach Tzedek and Chabad Poskim.

Chabad communities from across North America are joining the Chabad branch of the Semichas Chaver Program, which provides a curriculum to learn in-depth halacha along with the rulings of the Alter Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek and Chabad Poskim.

The Semichas Chaver Program (SCP), started by Rabbi Elyada Goldwicht to teach in-depth halacha classes to Baaleh Batim currently boasts over 120 locations, with over 2,000 weekly talmidim. The curriculum is a text-based study of the background and underlying principles of the halacha. It starts with the Gemara and Shulchan Aruch, and follows the chain of halacha all the way to the contemporary Poskim and modern issues.

Semichas Chaver Chabad (SCP Chabad) is a branch of SCP directed by Rabbi Betzalel Bassman and Rabbi Avrohom Jacks. They have worked in conjunction with Lubavitcher Rabbonim to adapt the curriculum to follow the opinions of the Alter Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek and contemporary Chabad Poskim.

SCP Chabad is a seven-year program divided into six-month courses with classes held weekly. Each six month course is an independent subject after which students review the material and take a test. Those who pass the test receive a prestigious Semichas Chaver certificate signed by leading Rabbonim from around the world, including Chabad Rabbonim. SCP Chabad is endorsed by HaRav Gedaliya Oberlander and HaRav Yehoram Ullman.

Classes are growing, and SCP participants are excited!  “I feel very fortunate to BH able to participate in the Semichas Chaver learning program,” said Reuven Frank of Baltimore. “Much thought and intention has been given to the structure and delivery of the material; there is a beautiful balance of conceptual background and practical application.”

Dr. Michael Moritz of Pittsburgh agrees. “Semichas Chaver is a university-level program in content, structure and instruction. It’s interesting, challenging, engaging and useful. I am fortunate to have this.”

Rabbis teaching the program are also excited!  “The balance between in-depth study and its practical application in halacha is beautiful,” says Rabbi Dovid Shmuckler, who teaches the course in Los Angeles. “The program has amazing repercussions,” he says, “starting right in the heart of the Beis Medrash and spreading outwards to family and friends.”  

Rabbi Mendy Cohen of Sacramento comments, “I want to thank everybody who is putting so much work into the Simchas Chaver Chabad program!  It is transforming our community, giving so many people an understanding of how halacha works.”

Rabbi Moshe Markowitz has been teaching SCP Chabad in Chicago for a year now. He describes the material as, “at the same time is true הלכה לעיון and also הלכה למעשה. Every shiur is designed in a way that keeps it exciting, interesting and very interactive.” 

Rabbi Yossi Marlow that been teaching SCP-Chabad in North Miami Beach said: “The SCP-Chabad program is a wonderfully structured presentation of various topics in hilchos Shabbos allowing in-depth comprehension and greater awareness of shmiras Shabbos to be taken to a whole different level”.

Rabbi Mendel Gurary of Antwerp extols the program. “It’s clear that the organizers are investing a lot of time and effort to make it work,” he says. He adds that it’s been years since he’s seen so many ba’al habatim gathered together for this kind of shiur. “[Their dedication] is reflected both in their consistent attendance and in the passion they have during the study itself. And all week they’re trying to implement their lessons at home.”

Rabbi Moshe Slavaticki of Baltimore appreciates the diversity of his class, which he says has the largest audience of any in the community. “Those who want to know halacha in matters relevant to daily life discussed by contemporary poskim will find it interesting. Those who want to learn Halacha for its shakla vtarya, or to study the origins of Halacha will find it interesting. Those who want to review their Yeshiva learning will find it interesting. Those who want to learn something unique each week that’s still part of a larger study will find it interesting.” 

He’s also impressed with how it reaches the families as well. “Many of the participants say that it has changed their Shabbos table. Every week they discuss a practical and interesting halachic topic at the Shabbos table, with all the family members and guests participating and enjoying the discussion.”

Classes will cover relevant subjects such as Bishul Akum, Pas Akum, Tevilas Keilim, Ha’galas Keilim, Basar V’cholov, Berochos, Nida, Mezuzah, Muktza, Melaben, Bone B’Keilim, Borer, Sechita, Hadlokas Neiros, Ribbis, Hilchos Tefila, Hilchos Beis Haknesses, and more.

Current classes studying Lechem Mishna, Shabbos morning Kiddush, Havdalah and Amira Lakum are taking place in communities across the world: Crown Heights, Monsey, East Flatbush, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Miami, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Phoenix, Toronto, Montreal, and Antwerp. 

The next 6-month z’man, which begins after Pesach, will include the topics of Bishul, Hatmana, and Chazara. Registration for SCP Chabad is open right now, and the program is accepting new teachers to bring the classes to more communities. The deadline for instructor applications is Tannis Esther (13 Adar II).

An additional program called HalachaU is being designed to provide the content of SCP Chabad to an audience with little or no Yeshiva background, and is currently being piloted in four Chabad Houses.

To find out more about SCP Chabad or HalachaU please contact Rabbi Betzalel Bassman – [email protected]

Here is a full list of the current locations for SCP – Chabad 

Rabbi Zalman Moshe Abraham – East Flatbush, NY

Rabbi Betzalel Bassman – Pittsburgh, PA

Rabbi Berel Bell – Montreal, CAN

Rabbi Mendy Cohen – Sacramento, CA

Rabbi Dovber Dechter – Phoenix, AZ

Rabbi Sholom Goldstein – Crown Heights, NY

Rabbi Mendel Gurary – Antwerp, Belgium

Rabbi Avrohom Jacks – Toronto, Canada

Rabbi Michoel Lerner – Crown Height, NY

Rabbi Chaim Dovid Kagan – Monsey, NY

Rabbi Yossi Marlow – North Miami Beach, FL

Rabbi Moshe Markowitz – Chicago, IL

Rabbi Dovid Shmukler – Los Angeles, CA

Rabbi Shneur Silverberg – Detroit, MI

Rabbi Moshe Slavaticki – Baltimore, MA

Here are the current locations for HalachaU’s pilot program

Rabbi Yisroel Altein – Pittsburgh, PA

Rabbi Mendy Groner – Melbourne, AUS

Rabbi Levi Jacobson – Toronto, CAN

Rabbi Meir Chaim Posner – Yale University 

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