A Talmudic adage states that a city is not worthy of that name unless it has “asara batlanim”—ten individuals exclusively engaged in full-time Torah study. For nothing is more critical to the continuity of Jewish identity than the study of Torah.
The Kollel is the place where this happens daily. At its core it is a makom Torah, a place dedicated to the study of Torah. The Kollel operates with the philosophy that it is only our Torah and the study of it that has kept our people alive throughout the millennia. We call the Torah Etz Chaim—a Tree of Life. Like a tree, it must have roots deep within the earth to produce fruit. To be able to share Torah, Community scholars must be deeply rooted in their own dynamic Torah study.
Anyone who steps into the Kollel’s Sindler Bais Medrash—study hall experiences an energetic environment dedicated to Torah study. The spiritual energy generated by in-depth Torah study emerges in dynamic Community Scholars who become teachers and leaders, along with vibrant community members, both men and women, who strengthen our Jewish community.
The heart of the Kollel is the Community Scholars, who provide the dynamic that creates this flow of energy. This takes place through intensive daily study sessions, where the critical mass of Kollel scholars probe, study, and analyze the Torah. Every community member can step forward to become an intrinsic part of this vibrant milieu and join in this process. And so the Kollel fulfills its goal of sharing the beauty of Torah study throughout the Jewish community, bringing every Jew closer to their heritage.
Community Scholars inspire and promote intellectual thought. Whether in or out of the Kollel’s study hall—with lectures, workshops, classes, and discussions that take place just about anywhere—the result is that learning, thinking, and growing become an integral part of a Jewish community.
The concept of in-depth, exclusive learning certainly isn’t unique to a Kollel. The model is similar to that of a university or think tank with the highest academic standards. Where the Kollel differs is the way that every community member is able and entitled to be a part of this intellectual environment—anyone, at any stage of knowledge, is welcome to come and learn. That open environment energizes the community, creating a dynamic of learning for all.
The Kollel teaches in a highly personal way. The one-on-one chevruta interactive approach offers a tailored learning environment for every individual. Partner-based learning ensures that every person can achieve and grow at his own pace—while being a part of the larger dynamic of the Kollel study hall.
The Kollel offers an education and outreach department in addition to a woman’s program director to ensure that no Jew is left behind. With programs for women, families and children, everyone is assured of a comfortable place at the Kollel—along with some fun and excitement!
The Kollel is unique in creating leaders: developing, training, and feeding them into the life of the community. Almost all the Kollel scholars have achieved signiﬁcant community positions either within Pittsburgh itself, or in other Jewish communities throughout the world. Kollel scholars ﬁll important roles in education, spiritual guidance, and leadership.
The presence of young families within a community encourages others to join them. Demographics change, as the community’s young adults begin to return—now married and willing to raise their own families in a welcoming environment. The Kollel is the catalyst for the growth of many institutions in Pittsburgh’s Jewish community. As more families move in, schools and shuls (and even kosher restaurants!) grow. And the Kollel helps provide the resources for this growth, with scholars and their wives making significant contributions to their success—whether as educators, teachers, organizers, or simply volunteering their time and talents.