• June 29, 2022
  • 30 5782, Sivan
  • פרשת חקת

Dr. Bernie Kastner Receives Semicha From WebYeshiva

Rabbi Dr. Bernie ‘Baruch’ Kastner is one of WebYeshiva.org’s first semicha recipients.

Rabbi Kastner is a graduate of Yeshiva University and Columbia University. He served as an administrator at the Mount Sinai Medical Center and later on as an associate director of the AVI CHAI Foundation.

His family made Aliyah from New York in 1994 and he currently lives in Jerusalem with his wife and five children.  All five of his grandchildren also live in Israel.  Rabbi Kastner also holds a PhD in Counseling Psychology and is a certified Graphologist.  In addition to his private practice in psychotherapy, he is also the published author of five books.

When asked why he decided to join the Halacha Mastery Program, Rabbi Kastner said, “Learning on a regular basis became a necessary ingredient for me for sustenance once I understood that I also have to feed my neshama.  The body and soul are a team and rely on each other to grow and develop both physically and spiritually.”

He went on to explain how the Halacha Mastery Program and the semicha track at WebYeshiva.org provided him with a wide range of understanding of halachic principles and its underpinnings, and as a result, now enables him to explain to others what may not otherwise have been obvious or properly understood.

“The areas of leniency vs. being strict on various issues was especially important for me to understand,” he said, “as many decisions arise on a daily basis that require an understanding of when and how to be either more lenient or strict, all within the framework of halacha.  Often, this defines one’s hashkafa as they go through life, toward finding that all important simchat chaim,” he said.

The semicha certificate is signed by Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Brovender and Rabbi Dovid Fink.

Nathan Davidovich Receives Semicha from WebYeshiva

Rabbi Nathan Davidovich is one of WebYeshiva.org’s first semicha recipients. Rabbi Davidovich spent most of his life in Denver, Colorado until making Aliyah to Efrat in 1994.

A 1963 graduate of the University of Denver College of Law, he has since practiced law as a trial lawyer even commuting from Israel for court hearings, trials and depositions after moving to Israel. In 2013 he was honored by the Colorado Bar Association for 50 years in the practice of law.

At the same time, learning Torah has always been an important element in Rabbi Davidovich‘s life helping him get from one point to the next.

“Torah is an owner’s manual to life as a Jew,” he explained. “Just as you cannot operate a piece of machinery without understanding the owner’s manual, the same is true in navigating life. The Torah adds richness, fulfillment and purpose to life.”

Growing up in Denver, his Torah study included learning with his father, Rav Chaim Davidovich, Z’L, and Rav Shlomo Twersky, Z”L. Later, he organized and started teaching daf yomi at the Denver Talmudic Research Institute, which was under the leadership of Rav Mordechai Twersky.

Since coming to Israel he has studied at the  Magen Avraham Kollel in Efrat and Yeshivat Hamivtar. He enjoys learning Chassidut, specifically, the Netivot Shalom and Rebbe Nachman saying for him, “They stress the importance of joy in life and joy in serving our Creator.”

In 2013 Rabbi Davidovich joined the Halacha Mastery Program to improve his core knowledge of halacha. Prior to that he describes his study of halacha “haphazard.”

“Most of my time before that was spent studying Gemara and Chumash with the meforshim, but not specifically concentrating on halacha. The program gave me a way of really being able to delve into halacha by learning about many of the sources in addition to the Shulchan Aruch, and learning how to apply halacha to daily life,” he explained.

He added, “It was also informative to be able to learn about the varied halachic opinions on a particular subject and how to apply them to unique situations.”