Torah on Tap and the Hillel Rabbinate Requirement

I was drawn to a recent article that appeared in the St. Louis News about a young rabbi doing Torah on Tap. Of course, Torah on Tap, is nothing new. It started over a decade ago after two priests created “Theology on Tap”. I had much success doing “Torah on Tap” programs at Congregation Agudath Israel in Caldwell, New Jersey. I was even featured in a New Jersey Monthly magazine article about Torah on Tap. I brought the Torah on Tap idea to University of Michigan Hillel (for grad students only of course) and I plan to bring it to my new congregation, Agudas Achim in Columbus, Ohio next month.

What caught my attention in this article, however, was the following sentence: “The former Hillel rabbi is quick to note that he applied what he learned as a Hillel rabbi to his current post and voila!” Yes! I too will be applying what I have learned at Michigan Hillel to my congregation. Every pulpit rabbi should be required to spend a couple years on the staff of a Hillel before entering the congregational rabbinate.

Rabbi Rabbi Hyim Shafner of Bais Abraham loves his job, especially when he can be creative and engage people who are young at heart. The former Hillel rabbi is quick to note that he applied what he learned as a Hillel rabbi to his current post and voila! Torah on Tap was born a year ago.

Rabbi Shafner describes this as a clever way to combine learning with pleasure… and proximity. Every other week on a Monday evening, he and his 10-12 mostly young adult students study at the St. Louis Room at Blueberry Hill. (Blueberry Hill is down the street from Bais Abe.) The regimen begins by ordering a pitcher of beer. Then heads bend down and Torah study begins. [more…]

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