By Chaya Nessa Krycer
Learning Torah is not a recent development, evolved thanks to Western Civilization. Ever since its official bequeathing at Matan Torah, Jewish men have pored over its pages, delving into its infinite depths, searching for more profound explanations. The Torah a man learns becomes a part of him, a critical piece of his being. It is no wonder that many men throughout the world are involved with a Kollel, whether learning directly in it or supporting its members. But the Torah learning of a Kollel doesn’t only affect the individual himself who has diligently been engrossed in it for many hours each day. Rather, it also dramatically impacts the entire community.
A prime example of this can be found in the Dallas-Fort Worth Jewish community. 30 years ago many Jews had settled their families in Dallas. Although there were several Jewish schools, a JCC, and other Jewish locales, the opportunities were limited within the community itself. For many years, the Jewish population remained stagnant. Then, 28 years ago in the year 1992, a dramatic transformation occurred. In came DATA and Dallas has never been the same.
DATA (as quoted from their website) is a non-profit Jewish learning center. It’s members diligently learn for half a day, in a 3-5 year semicha program. For the rest of the time, DATA rabbis serve the community, teaching Torah to Jews of all affiliations.
The transformation that has transpired in the Dallas Jewish community is astonishing and extraordinary. The community has grown and developed in ways that no-one could have deemed possible just 35 years ago. Countless families have settled in Dallas, establishing numerous shuls, schools, and organizations. As stated by Rabbi Shaya Fox, one of DATA’s administrators, “Because of DATA, the Dallas Jewish community’s vibrancy has taken a turn for the better.” Thanks to DATA, Dallas is truly a flourishing Jewish community.
Now, in DATA’s 28th year, the organization continues to grow and expand with six additional kollel Rabbis. It is a testimony to the neighborhood’s tremendous spiritual growth that a kollel which is offering a more advanced track of learning is needed. The six new rabbis and their families have relocated to Dallas in order to establish the new kollel (Rabbi Tzvi and Rebbetzin Miriam Rosenshein, Rabbi Aaron and Esti Gewirtzman, Rabbi Noson Tzvi and Shana Mittel, Rabbi Yehuda and Shevy Stern, Rabbi Daniel and Rochel Leah Taitel, and Rabbi Chaim and Zakutinsky). Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried, founding Rosh Hakollel of DATA, will now oversee an advanced Semicha program for Dayanus with the study of Choshen Mishpat, for graduates of the DATA Semicha program and local Rabbonim. The semicha program for the current DATA rabbis will be overseen by Rabbi Tzvi Rosenshein. Rabbi Rosenshein and the new Rabbis invite anyone to come learn at night seder where chavrusas (study partners) will be arranged. The kollel also digitally delivers a weekly dvar torah and parsha video for the community’s benefit.
It is astonishing the impact Torah learning has on a community. When people diligently study Torah, the entire atmosphere of the city changes. As Rabbi Fox says, “The presence of Torah scholars elevates the community. It is the source of all blessings, the pillar, foundation, and source of all growth.” After all, Torah learning is the engine that drives the city toward the path of growth and a stronger connection to Hashem. Without it, there is no community. We are fortunate to not only have constant Torah learning within Dallas’ city limits, but exceptional rabbis and rebbetzins within the kollel. They are truly the vitality of a city.