More than 1,000 people participated in the Orthodox Union’s Semichas Chaver Program’s (SCP) virtual siyum on Sunday celebrating the completion of Hilchos Shabbos. Participants joined from 54 different Jewish communities on five continents. The siyum featured keynote addresses from Rabbi Hershel Schachter and the Chief Rabbi of Yerushalayim Rabbi Shlomo Amar, who, along with Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg, are the guiding influence behind SCP.

Founded in 2017 by Rav Elyada Goldwicht, the Semichas Chaver Program is an innovative, fast-paced, and interactive halachah learning program crafted for the needs of the 21st century, with a specialized focus on the practical meaning of halachah. Each shiur includes thought-provoking questions and a dedicated segment on the philosophical meaning behind the relevant topic.

The 54 communities who participated include: Phoenix, AZ; Los Angeles, CA; Boca Raton, FL; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Boston, MA; Silver Spring, MD; Edison, NJ; Fair Lawn, NJ; Passaic, NJ; Springfield, NJ; Teaneck, NJ; Five Towns, NY; Manhattan, NY; Monsey, NY; Queens, NY; Washington Heights, NY; West Hempstead, NY; Memphis, TN; Edmonton, Canada; Montreal, Canada; Toronto, Canada; Bnei Brak, Israel; Efrat, Israel; Maale Adumin, Israel; Petach Tikvah, Israel; Pisgat Zeev, Israel; Raanana, Israel; Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel; Rehovot, Israel; Yerushalayim, Israel; Santiago, Chile, and London, UK.

“The Semichas Chaver program is part of the OU’s broader effort to bring more learning opportunities into our community,” said Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane. “This program has made an indelible mark in our community, and this siyum provided chizuk during these difficult times. Watching Jews from all around the world join Sunday’s virtual siyum was truly remarkable.”

“The community’s support of the Semichas Chaver Program has been overwhelming, and to see this group of more than 1,000 talented men who have studied and mastered Hilchos Shabbos is inspiring,” said Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Allen Fagin. “These men dedicated many hours toward learning these important halachos and involved their families in their learning. During these difficult times, learning Torah together in a program like this brings us all together.”

“It is incredible to see how even now, in these tumultuous times, SCP participants are so dedicated to Torah learning. Their commitment is having an amazing impact on not only themselves but on their entire family and extended community,” said Rav Elyada Goldwicht. “It is our hope to bring this program to even more Jewish communities around the world.”