Learniversaries Archives - Partners in Torah
https://www.partnersintorah.org

Dr. Glenn Grossman (Canoga Park, CA) & Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky (Woodmere, NY)

Dr. Glenn Grossman (Canoga Park, CA) & Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky (Woodmere, NY)

This dynamic duo is tangible proof of the power of 1:1 learning!

Dr. Glenn Grossman (Canoga Park, CA) is an accomplished doctor in the field of obstetrics and gynecology, and his partner Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky (Woodmere, NY)  is the Rosh Yeshiva of a Jewish high school for boys. 

For the past four years (mazal tov on this learniversary!), these two highly accomplished men have made time to learn together. First, they learned Parsha, and now they are almost finished with Mishnayot Brachot and are hoping to move on to learning Gemara! 

And their feedback speaks volumes! Rabbi Kamientzky said that being involved in Partners in Torah “has opened up a world of teaching and learning to me I never knew about.” Coming from an accomplished educator… wow!

He encourages all who are not involved to sign up to learn with a partner because “you will get far more than you give!”

Pictured are the two happy partners with their wives when they met for the first time a year ago in California!

Renee Vlashi (West Hills, CA) & Penina Berman (Baltimore, MD)

Renee Vlashi (West Hills, CA) & Penina Berman (Baltimore, MD)

Through the past six years, Renee Vlashi (West Hills, CA) and Penina Berman (Baltimore, MD) have built a beautiful partnership! In Renee’s words: “Penina has become my go to person for anything Jewish and I would highly recommend Partner’s in Torah’s program to anyone looking to heighten their Jewish life!”

It’s so wonderful to hear that they got to meet last March! As Renee shared: “Being able to meet in person was such a special occasion as we live on opposite coasts from each other. Penina took us on a “Tour of Jewish Baltimore” starting with a wonderful gourmet kosher lunch at Serengeti’s restaurant… We all had a great time!”

May these committed partners be able to continue learning and growing together for many years to come… and be able to meet again in person!

Trude Reiser (Dunlap, IL) & Guttie Augenstein (Brooklyn, NY)

Trude Reiser (Dunlap, IL) & Guttie Augenstein (Brooklyn, NY)

One of the incredible aspects of Partners in Torah’s participants is that they come from all over the world. It’s humbling to hear how people in remote Jewish communities can find connection through their involvement with a partner. 

One example is Trude Reiser (Peoria, IL), who shared: “I live in Peoria, IL, around 3 hours from Chicago and around 3 hours from St. Louis.  In Peoria, there are few Jewish learning opportunities and few Jewish resources.” Trude signed up for Partners in Torah in hopes of increasing her connection through learning. She and her partner Guttie Augenstein (Brooklyn, NY) are now celebrating their 3 year learniversary! They have studied the laws of Shabbat in depth and are now focusing on prayer. 

Trude added: “Besides these formal learning topics, Guttie has greatly influenced other aspects of my life… she has enhanced my ability to transmit Judaism to my grandchildren… While Guttie started as a study partner, she has become so much more.  I truly value her friendship and I always look forward to our study time together.”

Guttie echoed Trude’s sentiments so beautifully: “I can’t believe it has been three years since we began to study. Our relationship has evolved over time.  Initially our relationship was focused on our studies. During Corona, our focus shifted. Covid has certainly changed our lives. Over the past couple of months, we have spent more time shmoozing. We compare our lifestyles, and share our belief in Hashem that He runs the world and we have to trust and rely on Him. I admire Trudy’s commitment to Judiasm… I feel that by sharing our experiences from our different backgrounds my life has become enriched. I don’t take my Judaism for granted. Practicing Judaism is easier in Brooklyn. Living out of town in Peoria, Illinois, makes Judaism more of a challenge. Trudy has certainly stood steadfast in her beliefs!”

Rebecca Lang (Atlanta, GA) & Bena Tarlow (Lakewood, NJ)

Rebecca Lang (Atlanta, GA) & Bena Tarlow (Lakewood, NJ)

Woah, 15 years of learning and commitment!! A huge mazal tov to Rebecca Lang (Atlanta, GA) and Bena Tarlow (Lakewood, NJ) on this incredible accomplishment!

We love Rebecca’s beautiful feedback: “While we have read numerous texts through the years and Bena has answered countless questions for me, it’s learning by Bena’s example that has taught me the most.  Bena is more learned, but she never makes me feel like less than a partner.  It always feels like we’re learning something together.  Bena inspires me in so many ways.  Bena is my chevrusa, my mentor, my friend. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner!”

Debbie Goldman (Baltimore, MD) & Nechama Burnham (Jerusalem, Israel)

Debbie Goldman (Baltimore, MD) & Nechama Burnham (Jerusalem, Israel)

Are you curious about the three participants pictured here?! We’d love to share the story (well, really, the multiple stories!) behind it!

Debbie Goldman (Baltimore, MD) and Nechama Burnham (Jerusalem, Israel) began learning three years ago, and although they live so far away from each other, and amazing story brought them together in person!

As Nechama shares: “About two weeks after we had begun studying together, we got an invitation to a wedding, which my husband left on my computer–I was flabbergasted. We had only just “met”–how could my Partner have gotten an invitation to me so soon? When I told my husband [who is a Jewish educator] how amazed I was, he replied, “That’s not your partner; that’s my student, whom I have kept in contact with.” I replied, “Well, guess what? Your student is marrying my partner’s daughter!”  Even more incredible than that, it “just so happened” that we had planned a trip to the States… so I got to really meet my partner in person, for the first time, at the wedding! What a lovely way to begin a learning relationship!”

Wow! Since then, these two have continued their learning together, and a year ago, decided to add one more participant to their sessions! Devora Shore (LaJolla, California) is married to one of Nechama’s husband’s students. She expressed a desire to learn, and Nechama and Debbie offered that she join them! 

And another amazing aspect: Nechama has an additional partnership that is soon to celebrate a 6 year learniversary! Stay tuned to hear more in a future newsletter…!

Flora Reiner (Glendale, NY) & Liz Wahrsager (Passaic, NJ)

Flora Reiner (Glendale, NY) & Liz Wahrsager (Passaic, NJ)

Flora Reiner (Glendale, NY) was conversing with someone in a store in the Five Towns… she shared that she wanted to educate herself about Judaism. This person connected Flora with Partners in Torah and here we are, a year later, as she celebrates her one year learniversay with Liz Wahrsager (Passaic, NJ)! The feedback they shared is testament to the incredible partnership they’ve built!

Flora: “I have an amazing partner Liz who finds time to teach me the weekly Parashat.  Liz Wahrsager is not only my teacher but my best friend.  She is very knowledgeable and she allows me to think outside of the box and ask lots of questions.  She always has the answer and even her children participate in the learning experience… We recently started the Parashat all over again as there is always more to explore and discuss.”

Liz: “Thanks so much for this opportunity to share with everyone how much I enjoy learning with Flora.  I always look forward to our Thursday night learning sessions.  Flora always asks the most thought provoking questions. I love talking to her not only as a learning partner ,but as a true friend.  She is so growth oriented and is really an inspiration.  She makes me think of things about the parsha I never thought about before.  I so enjoyed meeting Flora in person at the partners in torah chanukah party [last year].  I hope we can meet up again in person in the near future and I am looking forward to learning and growing together.  Thank you partners in torah for this opportunity!”

Charles Neuman’s (Plainview, NY) & Mordecai Plaut (Jerusalem, Israel)

Charles Neuman’s (Plainview, NY) & Mordecai Plaut (Jerusalem, Israel)

Charles Neuman’s (Plainview, NY) words need no edits… you’ve gotta read this feedback he gave on the occasion of a 3 year learning with Mordecai Plaut (Jerusalem, Israel)! 

“One important thing I have learned from my Mordecai is the value of a fixed time for Torah study. With only a couple exceptions throughout the year, we learn every week. Mordecai works it in to his schedule no matter what is going on. Our learning is high priority. A couple times we didn’t have the full amount of time available. Instead of just meeting for a shorter amount of time, Mordecai found a way to make it work: for example, we would learn some before maariv, and then resume after. I recall that one time we learned for six minutes and then finished later that day. Iwas impressed that he would make use of six minutes for Torah study. I’ll never think of time the same way again.

I am happy I signed up for Partners in Torah. I feel that every Jew should learn with a partner, and even better with someone of a different background. We are all one community, and one way for us to realize that is to learn together. Partners in Torah is the best way to make it happen.

My advice for someone just getting started is to make learning your priority. There are so many times when I would have canceled our learning session because I was tired or couldn’t prepare. Since Mordecai makes it his priority, and his time is valuable, I knew I had to make it my priority. Sometimes I would stay up late the night before, or even do some learning right before our session so I could make the most of it. It is not easy balancing learning with the normal challenges of life, but in the end I’m glad I made learning a priority. It’s worth it.”

Lauren Harnick (Merrick, NY) & Ilana Sicklick (Lawrence, NY)

Lauren Harnick (Merrick, NY) & Ilana Sicklick (Lawrence, NY)

These two amazing ladies. Lauren Harnick (Merrick, NY) and Ilana Sicklick (Lawrence, NY), met at a Friday night Shabbat dinner exactly a year ago. They instantly clicked, and since they had both been involved previously with Partners in Torah, they decided to become Partners! They reached out to us and the match was made!
As Ilana shared: “I look forward to learning with Lauren each week and just speaking with her about anything and everything! Lauren has become a cherished friend!”
These two friends have been learning Parsha of the week together for a whole year! Huge kudos to them, and we hope they’ll continue growing, connecting, and learning together for many years to come!