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On Friday, March 18, Hebrew Theological College held a siyum marking the completion of TaNach in memory of Ezra Schwartz, H"yd. Ezra, an 18 year old yeshiva student from Sharon, Massachusetts and graduate of Maimonides School in Brookline, was killed by an Arab terrorist, while on his way to deliver food packages to Israeli soldiers. Before his untimely passing, Ezra made a commitment to finish all of TaNach. He started at the beginning of the Torah, and had just completed his seventh Parasha, Parashas Vayetzei. He dedicated every night of his Israel Gap Year to complete the entire TaNach. Ezra’s death inspired students across America to finish the learning that he had started.
HTC is extremely proud of our students for undertaking this meaningful initiative. Fasman Yeshiva High School students completed Torah and Nevi’im and our Beis Midrash & College students completed Kesuvim. HTC thanks Rabbi Elisha Prero, Rabbi of Young Israel of West Rogers Park, who initiated this learning project for our students. May the Torah learning serve as a merit for Ezra and a source of inspiration to his family and to our Yeshiva. A video replay of the siyum is available below.
Rabbi Zev Eleff, Ph.D., chief academic officer and dean of the Men’s Division of the Hebrew Theological College (HTC) of Skokie, Ill., received the 2015 Salo Wittmayer Baron Dissertation Award at the Association of Jewish Studies (AJS) annual conference in Boston, the principal academic conference for the entire field of Jewish studies.
Professor Salo Wittmayer Baron was one of the preeminent Jewish historians of the 20th century. The Baron Dissertation Award, sponsored by the Arizona State University Center for Jewish Studies, recognizes the best dissertation in the field of American Jewish history and culture over a three-year period. Dr. Eleff’s dissertation was on the topic of the transformation of rabbinic authority in American Judaism during the nineteenth century.
L-r: Dr. Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, professor of modern Judaism at Arizona State University; Dr. Shoshana B. Tancer, professor emeritus at Arizona State; Dr. Zev Eleff, chief academic officer and dean of the Men’s Division of the Hebrew Theological College; Dr. Robert Tancer, professor emeritus at Arizona State; and Dr. Jonathan Sarna, professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University.
“This paper is an excellent piece of scholarship,” according Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, the Irving and Miriam Lowe Professor of Modern Judaism at Arizona State. “Dr. Eleff has articulated an original, multi-faceted and nuanced argument, building on the work of previous scholars, while deepening our understanding of the mechanisms that shaped the emergence of the rabbinate in America.”
Before coming to HTC in 2015, Dr. Eleff earned his Ph.D. in the field of American Jewish history from Brandeis University, was ordained at Yeshiva University and received a master’s in history and education from Teachers College at Columbia University. Dr. Eleff is the author and editor of six books and more than 30 scholarly articles, published in both English and Hebrew. He was most recently an instructor in the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis.
“It’s an honor to be associated with Salo Baron, the great pioneering Jewish historian in American universities,” said Dr. Eleff. “I’m also proud to be included among the faculty members of HTC and Touro who have distinguished themselves in the field. Hopefully this will encourage others to delve deep into the study of Judaism.”