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Fast Facts: Rabbi Mordechai Torczyner, Rosh Beit Midrash of Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov of Toronto

mordechai_torczyner_lpRabbi Mordechai Torczyner has been Rosh Beit Midrash of Yeshiva University Torah MiTzion Beit Midrash Zichron Dov of Toronto since its founding in August 2009. Rabbi Torczyner received his B.A. (Comp Sci) from Yeshiva University in 1993, and studied toward a Masters (Comp Sci) at New York University while learning for the rabbinate in Yeshiva University’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. During those years he also pioneered Webshas, an on-line topical index to the Talmud. After his ordination in 1997, Rabbi Torczyner served as Rabbi of Young Israel of Pawtucket, Rhode Island for four years, and then Congregation Sons of Israel, Allentown, Pennsylvania for eight years. While in Allentown, Rabbi Torczyner spent three years mentoring new pulpit rabbis for Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future. Rabbi Torczyner has served two terms on the Executive Committee of the RCA, and he has headed and served on various RCA committees. More than 1700 recordings of Rabbi Torczyner’s classes delivered in Toronto are featured on, and Rabbi Torczyner regularly writes for the Center for the Jewish Future’s “To Go” holiday publications. Rabbi Torczyner blogs at The Rebbetzin’s Husband, and lives in Thornhill with his wife, Caren, and their four children.


  1. What profession did you think you would hold when you were a YU undergrad and deciding on a major?

I went through three majors - English when I wanted to become a writer, Psychology when I thought I would become a psychologist, and finally Computer Science when I planned to make aliyah as a programmer. So much for the best laid plans...


  1. What aspect of your job with YU do you most enjoy?

Our Beit Midrash learns with a diverse array of populations, including high school students, university students, young professionals, and members of Orthodox and non-Orthodox synagogues. The opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with people in all of these groups keeps me smiling.


  1. How do you feel the Toronto Kollel impacts the greater Toronto community?

Our range of activities includes operating daily batei medrash (study halls) for male and female university students;  teaching accredited Continuing Education classes for medical professionals, legal professionals and financial services professionals; promoting Religious Zionism through programs and our weekly Toronto Torah publication; providing three weekly high-level Torah classes for women; reaching out to the non-Orthodox community with special programs and on-going classes; and teaching approximately 20-25 community classes each week. More than any individual program, though, I hope our overall presence and visibility serves as an ongoing reminder that Torah is the engine driving Modern Orthodoxy. (For more, follow the Toronto Kollel on Facebook.)


  1. What are your goals in your position for the Kollel?

Our Beit Midrash has been blessed with wonderful Sganim and avreichim over the past eight years, and they have enabled us to develop and execute the broad range of programs we provide. However, we have a long list of programs we would like to run, and those are waiting only for the day we can expand our staff.  In particular, I would like to expand our programming for Toronto's high school students, enhance our home beit midrash with a daily "morning seder" program for adults, and engage in stronger outreach for religiously unaffiliated university students in Toronto.


  1. What would your colleagues be surprised to learn about you?

I was interviewed on the pre-game show before Game 5 of the Rangers-Canucks Stanley Cup Finals in 1994.

I won a rabbinic rock climbing competition in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

I have officiated at a Noachide wedding.