Home Community Richmond Jewish Learning Experience launches

Richmond Jewish Learning Experience launches

Friday afternoon's Shmooze For Shabbos at the JCC with Ashley Sheets, Leah Skaist, Russ Finer, Terry Lynn, and Rabbi Bart

There are many different links joining all of us in the Jewish nation: a Passover Seder, a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, giving tzedakah (charity), hearing the Shofar on Rosh Hashana, bagels & lox, etc.

All of them though, are based on one thing – The Torah. (Well, maybe bagels are not explicitly found in the Torah, but you get the idea.)

The Torah is the source of Jewish life with instructions, laws, history, life advice, and so much more.

Increasing Torah knowledge and study is the goal of a brand-new local organization, the Richmond Jewish Learning Experience (RJLE).

Unaffiliated with any organization, but wanting to work with all other Jewish organizations, RJLE is offering free classes and learning opportunities to groups and individuals in various locations, that are made available to all, regardless of background.

Avi Gunzburg and Rabbi Bart at opening event for RJLE.

Speaking to the mission of RJLE, businessman and co-founder Avi Gunzburg said, “We saw a need in the community for more Torah-based education and a valuable opportunity in the availability of local educator par excellence, Rabbi Yosef Bart. We built the program around those 2 fortuitous events colliding.  There has been great excitement around all aspects of the program.”

Rabbinic leadership and teaching are provided by Rabbi Yosef Bart, a longtime Richmonder and educator. He has a passion for spreading Torah knowledge and Jewish wisdom.  Rabbi Bart’s love for and dedication to his fellow Jews is evident when he talks about the launch of the RJLE. He feels that “The Torah is the birthright of every single Jew – it is not just for the yeshiva and seminary scholars or Rabbis and Rebbitzins – it is ours!  It is a privilege for me to have the opportunity to play a small role in helping Jews from all walks of life connect with our precious and priceless heritage.”

Rebecca Kalman-Winston and Mary Lee Cantor at the RJLE launch event

RJLE launched with a wine & cheese event at a private home on Sept 6th.  The opening event drew a large crowd. One attendee, Rebecca Kalman-Winston enjoyed mingling, eating, and the official remarks delivered by Avi Gunzburg and Rabbi Bart. “I was delighted, and not shocked, by such a large crowd.  I think Jewish Richmond is going to love having RJLE, especially because our beloved Rabbi Bart is the kollel’s head… and heart!” said Rebecca  Kalman-Winston.  Similar sentiments were echoed by many in attendance.

Large and small group classes have already begun, hosted at the Weinstein JCC, Keneseth Beth Israel, private homes, and Yeshiva of Virginia, Richmond’s only Jewish boys’ high school.

Marlena Cantor and her mother Terry Lynn at event.

Weekly one-on-one learning, at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, with topics chosen by the participant, is in full swing.  Rabbi Bart and his study partners are going through everything from basic Judaism to High Holiday customs to advanced Gemara.

RJLE is actively looking to hold classes in more, varied locations including synagogues and at other Jewish non-profit offices. There are classes exclusively for men or women, with most being intended for both.  If your organization would like to host an event or if you’d like to personally schedule a one-on-one study session, just contact Rabbi Bart or Mr. Gunzburg to work out the details.

More information about RJLE can be found at www.RJLE.org and by emailing yosefbart7@gmail.com and avi@simcordia.com.  You also can call or text Rabbi Bart @ (804) 901-1012.  Joining the RJLE WhatsApp group will keep you informed of the current calendar of events and some videos have already been uploaded to the RJLE YouTube Channel.

With the Richmond Jewish Learning Experience officially launched and starting strong, co-founder Rabbi Meir Aronowitz summed up the vision for the organization this way: “We are here for one purpose: to maximize the opportunity for every Jew, regardless of background and affiliation, to learn, share, and encounter our beautiful living Torah.”

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