By: Jared Scharf  | 

Over 100 Students Virtually Celebrate Annual Yeshiva-Wide Seudas Preida

Over 100 students virtually celebrated their completion of either masechet (tractate) Hullin or Avodah Zarah at the annual, Yeshiva-wide Seudas Preida (closing banquet) on June 22 at 7 p.m. Over 140 participants tuned in to the program via Zoom.  

Every year, the Seudas Preida is held to celebrate the siyumim (completion) of that year’s respective morning and night seder programs’ masechtot, as well as the full year of Torah learning. This year’s Seuda Preida was dedicated in memory of Saadya Ehrenpreis (Makor ‘20), who passed away from COVID-19 almost two months ago. 

Max and Marion Grill Dean of RIETS  Rabbi Menachem Penner began the night’s program speaking about Saadya. “[Saadya’s] name means Saad Ka — helper of God,” said Rabbi Penner. “[He] encouraged people with a smile, a hug and an arm around your shoulder to greet everyone who came onto the second floor in the beis midrash ... Saadya and the impact he had was tremendous and is far from over.” Afterward, a tribute video to Saadya was shown over Zoom, followed by a slideshow of every individual who was making a siyum.  

Following the slideshow, the siyum’s program included speeches from Associate Dean of Undergraduate Torah Studies Rabbi Yosef Kalinsky, President Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) Mashgiach Rabbi Joshua Blass and RIETS Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Hershel Schachter. “You know Hullin and Avoda Zara,” Rabbi Schachter remarked to the celebrating students, “and now Yoreh Deah will be a breeze.” 

Afterward, guest-speaker Rabbi Osher Weiss, Rosh Kollel of Machon Minchas Osher L’torah V’Horaah, spoke and commented that he was “impressed by the [students’] accomplishments of completing such a large masechta such as Hullin, this being the third-largest [masechta]”.  

“The siyum was the perfect way to end off an incredible year of learning,” said Eytan Aryeh (YC ‘21), who was one of four students to celebrate completing Hullin and Avodah Zarah. “Having the bnei yeshiva (students) join together after being apart for so many months to celebrate the accomplishments of a year’s worth of growth in Torah was extremely special.”  

A pre-recorded video of Rabbi Zvi Rimon, Rosh Yeshiva of Lev Academic Center (JCT) was played over Zoom, followed by Aryeh reading the hadran — a short prayer recited upon the completion of a masechta — and Joel M. Schreiber, chairman of RIETS Board of Trustees, completing the siyum. Michael Nassimi (YC ‘21) concluded the Seudas Preida by reading the first mishna of Pesachim, next year’s morning program masechta.  

“I really appreciate how the yeshiva made such an effort to recognize and congratulate us,” reflected Moshe Gordon (YC ‘22), one of the celebrating students. “I found it very meaningful that even from afar I was able to celebrate the accomplishments of our yeshiva.  In particular, I would like to thank Rabbi Etan Schnall for his efforts to arrange all sorts of minor details.”

Rabbi Schnall, one of the organizers of the program, told The Commentator that this year’s Seudas Preida contained unique features, such as a pre-siyum party held 20 minutes before the program, in which the siyum-makers ate their personally-delivered, YU-sponsored meals.

“[The Seudas Preida] literally touches hundreds of our students, including the 100+ who are Misaymim, and many more — as well as their rebbeim and parents,” said Rabbi Schnall. “It celebrates the year of successful learning for all — morning, afternoon and night.”

Photo Caption: The annual, Yeshiva-wide Seudas Preida was held over Zoom.
Photo Credit: Yeshiva University