Pittsburgh Anash Complete OU’s Halacha Program

The Semichas Chaver Program-Chabad (SCP-Chabad) of Pittsburgh celebrated its first graduation on Sunday, with a festive gathering attended by family and friends.

The Semichas Chaver Program-Chabad (SCP-Chabad) of Pittsburgh celebrated its first siyum on Sunday, with a festive gathering attended by family and friends. This marked the culmination of the first course of the Semichas Chaver Chabad Program on Hilchos Muktza- a 20-week course. 

After passing a rigorous exam, participants were awarded a certificate of “Semichas Chaver”. This is the first such siyum celebration for SCP-Chabad and an important milestone in the fast-growing pilot program. Pittsburgh is one of the 10 current SCP-Chabad locations to teach this exciting curriculum.

The Semichas Chaver Program, a halacha learning curriculum, was founded by Rabbi Elyada Goldwicht three years ago and is sponsored by the OU. Recently, a new branch of the program was launched under the leadership of Rabbi Betzalel Bassman and Rabbi Avrohom Jacks to cater to Chabad communities, adding an emphasis on the psak of the Alter Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek, and contemporary Chabad poskim.   

Lubavitch Center of Pittsburgh, under the leadership of Rabbi Yisroel Rosenfeld, head Shliach of Western Pennsylvania and Rov of the Pittsburgh Lubavitch Community, has established a Bais Medrash Division to encourage Limmud HaTorah among the growing Anash Community.

On the day marked in the secular calendar as Fathers’ Day, fathers from the Pittsburgh Anash celebrated their completion and mastery of the 20-week course on Hilchos Muktzah taught by Rabbi Betzalel Bassman.

After a celebratory luncheon and a friendly competition on Kahoot, those who passed the final test received their diplomas, signed by Chief Rabbi of Yerushalayim, Rishon L’Tziyon, Rabbi Shlomo Amar; and prominent Chabad poskim Rabbi Gedalya Oberlander and Rabbi Yehoram Ulman. and the Rov of Pittsburgh’s Chabad community, Rabbi Yisroel Rosenfeld. 

Rabbi Chaim Itkin leads the Bais Medrash Division which arranges and provides shiurim, daily learning programs, Kollel Tiferes Zkainim Levi Yitzchok, and many learning opportunities for the Anash of Pittsburgh. “The community response has been very positive, and Boruch Hashem has seen much growth in the ten months since its founding,” he said.

“It is very inspiring to see how much effort was put in by all the participants to learn and review the test material. This is only possible with the ongoing support of their families, and it is heartwarming to see the happy faces of their wives and children who are so proud of their great accomplishments.”

DovBer Naiditch, a writer in Pittsburgh, is one of the many busy professionals and family men who attend the weekly shiur. “This meant a lot to me,” he said. “Almost more than when I originally got Semicha as a young man. Surrounded by my family to receive this certificate, I felt that it was making such a roshem on my children and on myself as a person.” 

There are over 200 weekly participants in SCP Chabad in the current 10 locations. SCP-Chabad is looking to expand to 10 new locations for the new zman after Sukkos. In the next course, (after Sukkos) the SCP-Chabad shiurim will cover the subjects of Amira Lakum, Kiddush, and Havdalah.

The classes are an in-depth text-based study of the background and underlying principles of the halacha. The curriculum starts with the Gemara and the Shulchan Aruch of the Alter Rebbe and follows the chain of the halacha to the contemporary Poskim. The classes cover the background and original sources but there is a heavy emphasis on the modern and practical application of each halacha.

To find out more information contact Rabbi Betzalel Bassman [email protected].

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