It will be a historic turnout at Agudath Israel of America’s Yerushalayim Yarchei Kallah, with a record 500 participants registered to join the annual Torah gathering from every corner of the world. Now in its 18th year, the Yerushalayim Yarchei Kallah was warmly endorsed by Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman zt”l in 2000 during the second intifada and is a landmark project of the Agudah’s Torah Projects Commission.
“This is an effort that started with 60 people as a response to terrorism to be michazek yidden in Eretz Yisroel and since then has mushroomed into a life of its own,” noted Rabbi Shlomo Gertzulin, executive vice president for finance and administration at Agudath Israel of America. “Rav Shteinman could really be considered the father of the Yarchei Kallah and this year we will be having special divrei zikaron and a siyum on Shisha Sidrei Mishna at the Yarchei Kallah just days after his shloshim, l’iluy nishmaso.”
Taking place from January 15th through January 18th at the Ramada Jerusalem Hotel, the Yarchei Kallah generates excitement that runs high all year long, with a steady stream of callers reaching out to the Agudah office every week to confirm the timing of the Yarchei Kallah in order to avoid potential scheduling conflicts.
“This is that unique event that everyone really wants to be a part of,” said Rabbi Gertzulin. “People look forward to our Yarchei Kallah more than any other, and when they hear about it we are deluged with phone calls, emails and text messages from people thirsting to join us. Judging from the ever-increasing numbers, it can truly be considered the premiere Yerushalayim Yarchei Kallah experience. At no time in recent memory, have so many travelled from all over the world to be a part of a Yarchei Kallah of this magnitude.”
In addition to several hundred veteran participants, this year’s Yarchei Kallah is attracting an unusually high number of first-timers, with attendees hailing from all across the United States, as well as Canada, Eretz Yisroel, England, Mexico, Switzerland and Australia.
“It is a real Yeshivas Yarchei Kallah,” explained Rabbi Gertzulin. “Nearly 85 percent of the people who come are taking time off from their businesses and professions to enjoy almost a full week of complete immersion in learning.”
In addition to the intensive mens’ program of learning and shiurim, the largest ever number of 135 women are registered for the Yarchei Kallah’s full touring program. For some it is a family event, with several parents coming with their children and trios of grandfathers, fathers and sons who will be learning together. The Yarchei Kallah has recently started attracting a younger crowd and has expanded its popular English-only track for those who are less fluent in Yiddish which has grown exponentially with every passing year.
Preparations continue at a steady pace as the Yarchei Kallah draws near, with organizers putting finishing touches on the program and participants taking advantage of hachana shiurim and teleconferences on the Sugyos D’Kallah from Maseches Sanhedrin.
“This is not a one week event,” explained Rabbi Avrohom Nisan Perl, national director of the Commission on Torah Projects for Agudath Israel of America. “There are people who are busy learning the sugya from Succos straight through the Yarchei Kallah. We have people who go to the hachana shiurim, go home to catch up on any shiurim they might have missed and then get busy chazering the shiurim they have learned.”
The beauty of the Agudah’s Yarchei Kallah is its broad scope, observed Rabbi Perl.
“We have people coming who have learned in every yeshiva throughout the world and even from those in Eretz Yisroel including the Mir, Merkaz HaTorah, Chevron, Slobodka, from all over,” said Rabbi Perl. “We have the trust of Gedolei Torah and the material and the choice of magidei shiur are so wide and varied that there is a wealth of learning for every individual at every level.”
A pre-Yarchei Kallah event starting at 6 PM on January 14th will be held in Bnei Brak to welcome participants at the Mayanei Hayeshua Hospital which will include the presence of Rav Chaim Kanievsky and divrei bracha from Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein. Doctors at the medical center will discuss some of the issues of refuah and pikuach nefesh to be addressed during the Yarchei Kallah while women will be treated to a tour of the facility’s birthing center.
Registration for the Yarchei Kallah continues, with Ramada representative Harvey Douglen saying that the hotel is doing everything in its power to encourage as many guests as possible to join the Yarchei Kallah, even moving other groups to accommodate our program.
“We want everyone that wants to sit and learn to be here,” said Mr. Douglen who believes that his hotel’s success throughout the year is rooted in its partnership with the Yarchei Kallah. “Each one brings glory to Eretz Yisroel and glory is in the large number.”
For more information on the Yarchei Kallah including registration information, updates, marei mekomos, shiurim and more, call 212-797-7380, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.aiayk.org. To sign up to learn mishnayos for the siyum for Rav Shteinman ZT’L go to https://campaign.formstack.com/forms/siyum or email email@example.com