Shavuos celebrates G-d’s giving of the Torah to the Jewish people, and in Denver, the address for Torah is the Denver Community Kollel. The Kollel offered numerous programs both leading up to and during Shavuos throughout the Denver area. The Wednesday before Shavuos, the Kollel Women’s Division organized a pre-Shavuos JWRP (Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project) get-together, which was also open to women in the general Denver community. Mrs. Leah Schiermeyer, who converted to Judaism in 2006, inspired those present with the story of her spiritual journey. The evening was capped off with a display of delicious cheesecakes for all to sample and enjoy; recipes were distributed for all to take home.
“Leah’s story was touching and inspiring!” said Amy Topelson. “Her journey reminded me that I sometimes take being Jewish for granted because I was born Jewish. Leah reminded me that in order to live up to my Jewish potential, I would need to dig a little deeper and act with purpose. After I heard Leah’s story, I signed up for Partners in Torah! I can’t wait to start learning and finally put my words into action.”
The Shabbos before Shavuos, Parshas Bamidbar (May 10-11), the West Side Kollel families joined the Southeast community for an inspiring, uplifting Shabbos. The Kollel’s presence was a great way for everyone to get into the spirit of Shavuos, as the Kollel offered numerous learning opportunities during the Shabbos. (See article Kollel Families Join Southeast Community for Shabbos in this update for a full report.)
On Sunday night, just two nights before Shavuos, Kollel dean Rabbi Shachne Sommers delivered a pre-holiday talk in the Kollel Beis Medrash. With close to thirty people in attendance, Rabbi Sommers discussed the importance of learning Torah for oneself while simultaneously learning Torah for all of Klal Yisroel.
On Shavuos night, the Kollel conducted an overnight learning session in two different areas of Denver. On Denver’s West Side, the Kollel studied in Congregation Zera Abraham. The subject under focus was a Talmudic discussion of why milk is kosher. On the Southeast side of Denver, the Kollel held a study session in Aish Denver. There, the topic studied was making havdalah in middle of the week. The lively Torah discussion continued throughout the night, making Matan Torah (the Giving of the Torah) a reality. Dr. Dan Peckman, a member of Aish Denver, thoroughly enjoyed the night. “I was up all night learning one-on-one with the Rosh Kollel, Rabbi Sommers. I couldn’t imagine a better chavrusah! He worked with me on my level, and the material provided by the Kollel was so interesting and fun to learn! It was the first time that I learned the entire night without attending any formal classes, and I can’t wait to do it again next year!”
For the Southeast community, the packed Beis Medrash was a coming of age of sorts. “When I moved to Southeast Denver six years ago, there were a handful of people in the Beis Medrash on Shavuos night,” says Rabbi Moshe Heyman, a member of the Kollel. “Now, there were approximately fifty people involved in Torah study during the night.” Rabbi Sommers, who delivered a lecture following the 2 ½-hour study session in Aish Denver, was impressed with the intensity of the learning. “The give-and-take with those involved in the learning made me feel like I was giving a lecture to a group of Kollel members!