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‘Spirit’ offers free Jewish learning for men and boys

(L-R) Rabbinic student Avrohom Luban talks with Tucsonans Max Lazar and Al Gordon during a ‘Spirit’ study session in 2014. (Courtesy Southwest Torah Institute)

The 2019 Dr. Paul W. Hoffert Spirit Program, a free Jewish learning opportunity for men and boys from the Southwest Torah Institute’s Naomi Adir Center for Torah Education, begins July 28 and runs through Aug. 11. In morning or evening sessions, individuals or groups can study the topic of their choice with four visiting students from the Rabbinic Seminary of America (Chofetz Chaim) in Queens, New York, and Tucson’s Rabbi Israel Becker. 

Sessions are offered by appointment, from 9 a.m. to noon and 8 to 9:45 p.m. daily, except for Shabbat. Study sessions can be scheduled for 15 minutes to three hours.

The scholars include Yosef Porush, 21, who was born in Jerusalem and raised in Milwaukee. He has studied in Baltimore, Milwaukee, and Jerusalem. In addition to Talmud and halachah (Jewish law), Porush is interested in expanding his knowledge of mussar, or character development. His hobbies include jogging and diving.

Rueven Russek, 22, who hails from Queens, enjoys the methodical style of learning that is the trademark of the Chofetz Chaim seminary. His hobbies include snowboarding, jogging, and basketball.

Uri Goldberg, 21, is a Floridian who attended schools in Boca Raton and North Miami Beach, and for three years in Jerusalem, before beginning at the Queens seminary. Apart from his studies, he is a camp counselor, athlete, creative writer, photographer, video editor, and guitar player.

Shimmy Freud, 21, was born, raised, and schooled in Staten Island, New York, before attending the Chofetz Chaim seminary in Queens. He has a keen interest in the study of hashkafa, which focuses on viewing the world around us through the prism of Judaism.

To register, visit or contact Becker at