Using a beloved camp game, Postville Yeshiva is adding an exciting twist to the Yeshiva’s Mizvta Torah campaign. The Kluger games use a competitive edge to encourage the bochurim’s learning of Kitzur Shulchan Orach
By: Yossi Duboff
Summer is on the minds of all and many people are making preparations to send their children to camp. Camp is a place where children can have an enjoyable experience and most importantly a yiddishe experience.
One of the most exhilarating moments for a young camper is the “kluger” games. Kluger is a game show where 2 people test the speed of their knowledge. The question is asked and whoever hits the buzzer first has the opportunity to answer the question and collect points for their team.
Some would say kluger is just a game. That is childish or just for camp. However, when one looks at kluger as an opportunity to infuse competition and excitement into the learning of Torah, it can become a fresh and exciting way for bochurim to review their learning.
Postville Yeshiva did just that. This year there was a Mivtza Torah initiated in the Postville yeshiva. It was set up in “kluger” style and used as a tool for bochurim to learn Kitzur Shulchan Aruch with a renewed passion.
Here’s how it works: in their own time, bochurim learn Kitzur Shluchan Aruch and prepare for the kluger game. Students can also win cash prizes for learning by themselves and answering questions on their learning, from a booklet they received at the beginning of the Mivtza Torah.
Additionally, the bochurim are split into groups to learn together in a chabura-style setting, or to make chavrusas on their own.
Every 2 weeks the Yeshiva hosted “kluger” game shows with multiple rounds. The showoffs didn’t just consist of a head-to-head round to test their speed. There were also personal questions to test the breadth of their knowledge as well as a bellman round to show the coordination of the teams.
The winner of each game won automatic prizes. The 2 teams that won the most at the end of the 5 game season went to battle to see who is the Mivtza Torah Kluger champion.
It was Wednesday, 5 Iyar, in Postville, Iowa. An electric energy was in the air, as everyone knew that at 7:30 pm team Rubin would face off against team Levin. The three-judge panel of Rabbi Zirkind, Rabbi Shmuel Bensimon, and Mendey Nachmenson were seated and ready.
The lineups were handed in to the judges, and the game was set to begin. The crowd was loud, each rooting for their favorite chaburah. The room fell silent as the first question was asked, and answered. The next, and then another. The game was heating up, and the crowd was getting louder. The game was tied up at the beginning of the bellman round.
Team Levin correctly answered the first bellman question, putting his team ahead. However, the next question was answered beautifully by team Rubin to bring it back to a tie.
Eventually, Team Rubin prevailed answering enough questions to pull ahead and take the win. Showing the Yeshiva what hard work and diligent learning can do for a bochur.
Learning Torah doesn’t need to be bland. On the contrary, it cannot be bland. עבדו את ה׳ בשמחה! There must be excitement when serving Hashem. Especially when learning His Torah.
The Mesivta of Postville commits to giving its bochurim a feeling of geshmak and excitement in their learning. Not just in seder but outside of seder as well. As an alumnus of Beis Shalom and now a Shliach I can attest to this firsthand. And I thank Hashem that he gave me the opportunity to pass on the love of learning to today’s bochurim.