On Sunday, February 2, the Chicago community held its 5th Annual Super Learning Sunday, with the participation of over 400 people. This year, the event was made even bigger and better with significant changes. In addition to enhanced planning and promotion of the event, chessed activities were added to make the day as productive as possible. The events were all planned and promoted by talented and enthusiastic children from different schools around the community. Planning Coordinators for the learning event were by Yosef Dov Kreisman, Aryeh Leib Kreisman, Tzvi Oren, Eli Osgood, Shmuel Paretzky, Yonah Peikes, Eliyahu Scheinberg and Gavi Warso. The Planning Coordinators for the chessed activities were by Kayla Bracha Oren, Makenzie Legum, Zohara Legum, Sara Burian, and Tamar Burian.
The day started with 20 girls and women volunteering at the Chicago Chesed Fund, stocking the shelves in the large warehouse. The volunteers were given a tour by Mrs. Shoshana Moskowitz, who conveyed to the young ladies the impact of their chessed. The Chicago Chesed Fund continues to be an essential resource to the greater Chicagoland community, helping families in need with food, clothing, financial assistance, and many other ways. Additional thanks goes to Erica Kahn and Avigail Burian for chaperoning the activity.
Congregation Adas Yeshurun, was selected as the venue for this year’s learning event. The shul’s well-known theme of “Torah is the Ikur” promoted by the Mara D’Asra, Rabbi Zev Cohen, was truly fitting for 4.5 hours of learning by boys and men of all ages. Rabbi Mordechai Millunchick did a phenomenal job developing a professional flyer, simplifying the logistics to accommodate a crowd of 400 people and ensuring the shul’s enormous kitchen kept the Great Chicago popcorn chicken and fries piping hot, and the pareve ice cream freezing cold. Additional kudos to Alderman Debra Silverstein and David Aberman for ensuring security aspects were well planned and in place for this high profile event.
Additional excitement was generated this year with official T-Shirts (given to our wonderful planners and volunteers), prizes totaling over $1200, and an award of a fleishig lunch to the class with the highest attendance. As it turns out, a tie is as good as a win with the program, as lunches were earned by both 6th-grade classes at YTT. Much continued nachas to Rabbi Hochberg, Rabbi Chayn and the families of the boys who participated in the learning.
Rabbi Zev Cohen spoke right after the first of three Maariv minyanim. He was followed by Rabbi Yechiel Kalish, a longtime advocate for the needs of the community both in his current role as Illinois State Representative and many years in his various roles in Agudath Israel. Rabbi Kalman Worch showcased his Torah, story-telling and singing talents to a very appreciative audience that filled the shul with beautiful harmony. Rabbi Efraim Twerski shared some powerful divrei Torah and words of admiration. The culmination of the evening was the attendance of Harav Shmuel Yehuda Levin, shlita, Rosh Yeshivah of Telshe Chicago, who enthusiastically conveyed to boys and men alike what a tremendous Kiddush Hashem they were making in choosing to fill the evening with Torah learning. He then extended his stay to greet each boy individually.
In addition to the learning, boys also participated in the “Seeing the Good” program which was formulated by Rabbi Shlomo Pomerantz z”l. The program this year took place near his eighth yahrzeit. The idea was that children would develop a more positive outlook on life. In Rabbi Pomerantz, words, “When we speak about the good, Hashem will bring about the good”.
Rabbi Mordechai Millunchick, Director of Adas Yeshurun said, “The event was well run and very, very, well attended. Aside from the actual learning, I think this event served as a chizuk to the entire community to show everyone where our priorities lay. Learning is geshmak and Torah is the ikur.”
Concurrent to the learning event was a chessed event at the Park Plaza Retirement Center. A special project was developed specifically for the event by Ephraim Zimmerman of the Walder Education Center. A cheerful Smyle greeting card was designed via computer graphics and children colored or wrote friendly messages on the inside of the cards for 150 people in the community. Mrs. Sheila Segall led the community participants in an overview of the mitzvah of bikur cholim. The residents and participants were also treated to Mickey Hahn’s beautiful piano playing. Additional thanks go to Devorah and Shoshana Perlmuter for ensuring the dinner and project went smoothly.
As in past years, the event was sponsored anonymously as a zechus for the needs of the community. This year’s video and audio of the speakers are available on Torahanytime. Simply type in Super and you’ll see Rabbi Zev Cohen shlit”a. For people without internet, dial 718-298-2077, press 9 and enter class id 101668#. For more information about these programs, please send an email to Smyleprogram@gmail.com.