Europe's 60th Dirshu branch opens in Berlin

Head of Global Jewish Educational Initiative brings Daf Yomi B'Halakha project to Europe's cities

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Rabbi Hofstedter dancing in Vienna
Rabbi Hofstedter dancing in Vienna
INN: Dirshu

The Sophiensaele, a famous concert hall in Vienna, has much historical significance. Prior to World War II, it was the location in which two major meetings of Orthodox and Haredi Jews were held, but during the war itself, the hall was taken over and used by Nazis.

Last Sunday, the concert hall was a forum for approximately 400 Jews, mostly European, who celebrated the end of the study of Talmudic Tractate Nezikin (the portion of the Talmud related to damages) in a show of support for the "Dirshu" Daf Yomi B’Halakha program.

The event was part of an outreach mission to Vienna, Budapest and Berlin, led by Rabbi Dovid Hofstedter, founding president of Dirshu, a global Jewish education initiative

The group paid a visit to the cemetery in Bratislava, the city historically known as Pressburg. Pressburg was the home of Rabbi Moses Sofer, known as the Chatam Sofer, a Torah luminary who lived from 1762-1839. He was famous for establishing the Pressburg Yeshiva which trained some of the greatest scholars of that time and had a great influence on the growth of the Haredi movement and on strengthening Judaism in general.

Thousands of haredi and religious Zionist Jews the world over, including in Israel, study prescribed daily portions of MIshna, Talmud and Halakha, under Dirshu's guidance and auspices. Those who wish are tested and if they succeed, encouraged to continue with stipends that allow them to take the time to study Torah.

It was an emotional visit for Rabbi Hofstedter, himself the son of Holocaust survivors from Hungary, who visited Budapest where he addressed a diverse group of Jews, many of whom came from a community deprived of a Jewish education while under communist rule.

The trip concluded with the inauguration of a Dirshu branch in Berlin where the Jews of Berlin will now have the opportunity to study Daf Yomi B’Halakha. The event took place at Yeshivas Beit Zion. Rabbi Moshe Halpern will lead the Dirshu program in cooperation with Chief Orthodox Rabbi of Berlin Yitshak Ehrenberg.

This is the 60th branch of Dirshu to open in Europe since the program's founding 20 years ago. Students who will be studying Daf Yomi B’Halacha will be able to be tested on the material starting next month and stipends will be given to students who achieve high scores.

While in Berlin, the Dirshu leadership met with Andrew Savage, managing director of Lauder Yeshurun, where they discussed the achievements of the Jewish community in Berlin.