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After spending a Shabbos as a scholar-in-residence at Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion, Jerusalem Post columnist Jonathan Rosenbloom wrote an internationally syndicated column, "The Power of a Communal Rav," in which he discussed "the power of caring rabbis, passionate about teaching Torah [who] build and uplift entire communities":

 Over the course of the next few days in BJSZ, I gained a clear sense of how a passionate, young rabbi, filled with Torah, can lift an entire congregation... When Rabbi Hauer first took over the congregation, it could have been described fairly as a backwater on the Baltimore Orthodox scene. Today, I have the sense of shul filled with Jews eager to be inspired by Torah and thrilled to have a rabbi who has the Torah knowledge to slake their thirst and whose vision for a shul encompasses Jews at all different levels of learning and a wide variety of backgrounds.

Rabbi Hauer has transformed BJSZ into an educational center, on the front lines of Jewish education, where classes and educational programs occupy the facility daily from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Rabbi Hauer's fascinating classes (more than twenty hours of classes a week) have earned kudos across the spectrum of our community. Rabbi Hauer elegantly translates the eternal verities of Torah life with beauty, dignity and aplomb. His classes are intellectual tour-de-forces, sprinkled with wit and humor, and anchored with enduring moral messages. In addition to learning torah from Rabbi Hauer, crowds enjoy Rabbi Hauer's classes.  Rabbi Hauer offers many innovative classes and programs with a variety of topics: classes which interest young and old, advanced learners and beginners - and often, all of these different type of people in the same class.  Some of the programs and classes offered by Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion include:

  • The Gershon Taubman Memorial Talmud class meets at 6:10 a.m. Monday through Friday and, to date, has attracted a committed group of participants. The class is currently learning Masechet (Tractate) Bava Metzia, their twelfth volume being studied together. The combination of Rabbi Hauer's scholarship, warmth and humor together with the group's camaraderie is a refreshing, challenging and rewarding way to start the day. Rabbi Hauer's exposition of the Talmud's exquisite, arcane ethical algebra, its fun, its difficulty, and its accumulative virtue all outweigh the early morning hour and the group's concomitant lack of sleep.
  • Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion is part of the ranks of study groups throughout the world in the Daf Yomi (daily page of Talmud) cycle. When Rabbi Meir Shapiro initiated the program for Jews all over the world to study the same Daf Yomi, at the First Knessiah Gedolah of the Agudas Yisroel World Organization in 1923, he explained the significance of this undertaking by paraphrasing Rabbi Akiva: "A daf is the instrument of our survival in the stormy seas of today. If we cling to it faithfully all the waves of tribulation will but pass over us." Rabbi Hauer's class takes place after the early Shacharis Minyan, and is currently in the midst of its second cycle through the Talmud.
  • We are currently in year five of the "Parsha Plan" which is intended to promote engagement and accomplishment in Torah study and knowledge by encouraging individuals to focus their study of the weekly Parsha on one Aliyah in the Parsha, per week per year, with the goal of achieving more meaningful engagement and more substantive accomplishment in Parsha study (a course of study beyond the Halachically mandated שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום). In conjunction with the Parsha plan, a Parsha Project Chubra meets on Thursdays nights, headed by Rabbi Daniel Rose and Rabbi Ari Storch, to learn deeper insights into Rashi. Also, every week, teh shul e-mails a link to audio files which contain Divrei Torah on the Parsha.
  • Rabbi Hauer's Wednesday evening class for men and women is now also working within the framework of the Parsha Plan, focusing on themes drawn from the second Aliyah of the Parshas Hashavua (the weekly Torah portion). The Shiur continues to have a strong attendance as Rabbi Hauer engages in a thorough study drawing on primary sources  in Midrash and classic works of Jewish thought. In his inimitable way, Rabbi Hauer, with his graceful eloquence, brings a vibrancy to studies of the weekly Parsha.
  • On Summer Shabbos afternoons, Rabbi Hauer teaches Pirkei Avos, Ethics of the Fathers. Each week the shiur focuses on one Mishna from that week's Perek and delves into all aspects of the Mishna both internally, and its relationship to other teachings of the Sages. In the Winter, Rabbi Hauer has been teaching the Rambam's introduction to the Mishna, a fascinating introduction to Oral Torah.
  • On Monday nights, Rabbi Hauer teaches a Mussar series for  women. The shiur is studying Rav Wolbe's classic Sefer Alei Shiur. The Mussar shiur has focused on other matters of personal and spiritual growth, including practical undertakings and commitments towards that end.
  • Sunday mornings, at 8:20 a.m., Rabbi Hauer leads a shiur which is studying the Maharal's Gevuras Hashem, a work that explores the deeper aspects of Jewish Thought surrounding the story of the Exile and Redemption of Egypt. The class has to date completed five other works of the Maharal.
  • The Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion Leadership Kollel is a program for post-graduate rabbinic students who re preparing for careers in various areas of communal leadership, including the pulpit rabbinate, school administration, community Kollelim and outreach. These young men have the potential in their future careers to play a significant leadership role in the Jewish community. Given the complex and dynamic landscape of American Orthodoxy in the 21st century, it is vital for future leaders to be trained in the area of leadership, to develop the basic skill set necessary for communal leaders, and to develop an awareness and understanding of the myriad issues that they may face, communally and individually. The Leadership Kollel was created to provide some of this training and education, to supplement the student's core Talmudic curriculum. Under the leadership and guidance of Rabbi Hauer, the participants engage in this year-round program that includes weekly classes with Rabbi Hauer, sessions with local and National Jewish leaders, and periodic skill-building seminars. The students are also given the opportunities to use their skills through individual and group projects. Students in the program are expected to blend a strong commitment to Talmudic learning, authentic religious values, and the ability and commitment to bring these values to the Jewish community to address the challenges of contemporary Jewish life. The program was initiated in December of 2005. Most of the graduates of the program currently occupy positions in Jewish communal leadership around the country, in schools, community Kollelim, campus outreach and the rabbinate.
  • The BJSZ Night Kollel Bais HaMedrash, meets on Sundays through Thursdays from 8:30 to 10 pm followed by Maariv at 10pm. A Gemara Shiuris given by Rabbi Daniel Roase, as well as regular chavrusa learning, Shiurim and Chaburos for young and old with teh members of the BJSZ Leadership Kollel.
  • Rabbi Daniel Rose, the Assistant Rabbi at BJSZ, has filled in for Rabbi Hauer in his absence and been involved with other programs and learning opportunities around the shul. He has previously taught Torah around the country, including leading teaching programs in Seattle and serving as the acting rabbi of a shul in Sharon, MA. Rabbi Rose currently studies at the kollel of Yeshivas Ner Yisrael, where he has been a student for several years. He has also studied at the Mir Yeshiva of Yerushalayim. Rabbi Rose has spent almost his entire life here in Baltimore, and attended TA before moving on to Ner Yisrael. Shiurim by Rabbi Rose include 10 to 15 minute weekday shiurim following the 7:45 Shacharis minyan; a "Taste of Shabbos," a weekly Halacha shiur for men, presenting an in-depth look at the common Halachos of Shabbos; and shiurim throughout the year on Chaggim / holidays.
  • On every weekday, between Mincha and Maariv, Rabbi Hauer studies the first aliyah of the Parsha in conjunction with the Parsha Plan. Following Maariv each weeknight, Rabbi gives a shiur on Halachos of Shabbos.
  • The Friday evening "Question of the Week" provides "food-for-thought" as Rabbi Hauer asks the congregation an intriguing Parsha question to consider with family and friends over the course of Shabbos.
  • The Shabbos morning class in Parsha HaShavua by Rabbi Hauer provides more in depth and stimulating insights into the week's Torah reading.
  • The shul has its own monthly seniors program and it also hosts a monthly N'Shei Lunch and Learn program for area seniors.  Members of the BJSZ Leadership Kollel have also been conducting regular classes for seniors at area apartment buildings.
  • The shul hosts beautiful, warm and "heimish" Shabbos meals designed for seniors and singles.  This has been an outstanding addition to our array of programs, and has been warmly received by many.  The meals are elegant and tasty, and the atmosphere warm and communal.  Average attendance for these frequent programs is forty to sixty people!
  • We are honored that the Rebbetzin Frieda K. Hirmes Women's Institute of Torah is based at the shul. Since its founding in 1998, WIT's goal has been to provide Jewish women with meaningful and stimulating Torah study. A significant number of our members take advantage of the many learning opportunities offered by WIT, including Rabbi Hauer and Rebbetzin Hauer's classes at WIT.
  • The Rebbetzin Shoshana Feldman Memorial Shiur meets on Shabbos afternoon for women.  Following in the tradition of Rebbetzin Feldman who taught this class to enthusiastic audiences for 36 years, this fascinating class - usually based on the Parsha - continues, always anchored with enduring moral and penetrating messages.
  • Our Shul's children enjoy a great variety of Shabbos morning groups, during which they learn, daven and have great fun.  Other thriving programs for our Shul's children include the popular Father-Son Bais HaMedresh.  This year's three month program saw great and spirited attendance.
  • Under the leadership of Dr. Rina Walter, we have had a number if events for our teenage girls. These programs have included get-togethers with Rabbi Hauer, an overnight hike, and other fun and educational events.
  • We are proud to host a Youth Minyan, designed as a serious Minyan for boys who are motivated to daven on their own and who would like an opportunity to lain and lead the davening.   The minyan includes a Torah shiur for the boys.
  • Our shul has been on the forefront of issues relating to the situation in Eretz Yisrael.  Our projects have included: cards for Israeli soldiers, coordinated by Dr. Lorna Durso; missions to Israel led by Rabbi Hauer; inspiring slide-show presentations about the trips to Israel; lectures by leading Israeli statesmen and soldiers, including former Ministers of the Israeli government; the sale of beautiful roses from Moshav Sde Nitzan in the Negev for Shabbos Mevorchim; support for the Rebbetzin Tema Shapiro Tehillah chapter; and the quiet raising of tens of thousands of dollars for Rabbi Hauer's Yishuv Ha'Aretz/ Israel Fund.
Fri, January 22 2021 9 Shevat 5781