In 2015, Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn, dean of school at Yeshivat Yavneh in Los Angeles, held a live video shiur, or teaching session, on Lag B’Omer, when he taught for 18 hours straight.
This year, he’ll try to go even longer. On Lag B’Omer — from 11 p.m. May 2 through 6 p.m. May 3 — Einhorn plans to conduct a 19-hour shiur in front of an in-house audience, and to whoever watches a live video stream of the session on the web.
Einhorn’s teaching can be viewed at TheLongestShiur.com and on the websites of participating Jewish schools. The multiple topics he plans to cover include: “Time Waits for Nobody: Exploring the Mystery of Time,” “Super Jew: What Makes Somebody a Jewish Hero?” and “Was There Ever a Female Chassidic Rebbe?” Each class will be an hour long and will serve as a fundraiser. The monies collected will go to families that can’t afford to send their children to Jewish day school.
During the 2015 broadcast, Einhorn said, he raised $250,000 from the 15,000 people who tuned in.
“[The first shiur] was an exciting way to teach Torah, and it was something that had never been done before,” Einhorn said in a phone interview with the Journal. “Since it was so different, I thought it should be used in an exciting way to raise money for Jewish education.”
For The Longest Shiur, Einhorn has teamed with 35 Jewish schools around the world that will also show the event’s live stream. Among the schools are Yeshiva University High School for Boys – MTA in New York, and Los Angeles schools Valley Torah, Yeshiva University of Los Angeles (YULA) Boys, YULA Girls and Shalhevet High School.
Judaism is so rooted in a people connected to a book and the Torah. Without a sophisticated teaching of it, we’re losing our main form of our connection.” — Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn
Einhorn, who has been working in Jewish schools since being ordained more than 20 years ago, said he hopes he and his partners can raise $500,000 this year.
“I firmly believe in the value of a strong and sophisticated Jewish education, especially in 2018,” he said. “You give somebody fluff and that’s what they will take out of it. Judaism is so rooted in a people connected to a book and the Torah. Without a sophisticated teaching of it, we’re losing our main form of our connection.”
Los Angeles resident Ron Nagel has known Einhorn since he was a child, and attended the 2015 shiur.
“I was amazed by his stamina, diversity of topics and how he thinks out of the box,” Nagel told the Journal in an email. “His humor and being a master teacher are characteristics that make him so enjoyable to listen to.”
This year, Einhorn will rely on the support of his wife, Yeshivat Yavneh Executive Director Lev Stark, to keep him awake and alert through the 19-hour marathon study session. Among the lessons he learned from his 2015 shiur: Don’t drink Diet Pepsi Big Gulps. “When I’m teaching Torah, I am very energized,” he said. “The energy just feeds you when you stay up and help someone get a Jewish education.”
The topics, he said, are going to be deep but approachable for everyone who tunes in, no matter their education level, and some will deal with particularly modern issues. For one session, “Does Halacha Require Us to Vaccinate?” he plans to bring in a doctor to answer questions. He will also teach a class on the Jewish position on the National Rifle Association and gun control, and another titled, “The Grassy Knoll: Great Jewish Conspiracies.”
There will also be an online form where people watching on the web can submit questions that Einhorn will answer after each class.
“I love all areas of Jewish teaching,” he said. “I’ll keep it heavy and deep but break down the content how I can. It’ll be heavy philosophical ideas but for a broad audience.”