Since 2009, Agra D’Pirka has become the go-to morning Torah learning program in seven different hosting communities. But for many, says the program’s founder R’Ezra Klein, it’s just an entrée.
“While our niche is certainly mid-morning learning shiurim,” he says, “we’ve also introduced hundreds of balabatim to the beauty of learning Torah which is reflected in their many extra hours of learning in the Beis Medrash.” Because of the morning shiurim at Agra D’Pirka, he says, “the desire to learn increases exponentially.” Learning begets more learning.
Agra D’Pirka is an organized morning learning program geared towards local professionals, business owners, college students, retirees, and anyone else who wishes to increase his limud haTorah. The program runs from 9:30 to 11:30 AM, Monday – Thursday, with an impressive roster of maggidei shiur at each location. Those who are already involved in Agra D’Pirka are singing its praises. And once they get started they usually maintain a permanent commitment.
There are today Agra D’Pirka programs thriving in the communities of Flatbush, Boro Park, Queens, Williamsburg, Lakewood, Miami, and Monsey. And plans are in the works to open chapters elsewhere.
Rabbi Klahr is an enthusiastic participant at the Flatbush location. “The shul is open all day,” he points out. “And I like to stay after the shiur to prepare for the next day’s shiurim. Because if you don’t prepare before the shiur or review afterwards, then you’re just being entertained. But if you’re serious about it, it’s best to be prepared.”
Rabbi Klahr took early retirement from his job as an MTA engineer, and is thrilled to have discovered Agra D’Pirka. He’s delighted to be able to stay and spend the afternoons at Knesses Bais Avigdor, the Flatbush Agra D’Pirk location. “I stay till I get hungry,” he jokes. “But it’s not just me. Others stay as well and learn b’chavrusa, often until 5:00 PM.”
Another Flatbush participant, Rabbi Gartenhaus, says he discovered Agra D’Pirka “by accident” when he retired. That was about five years ago and he hasn’t looked back since. “It’s excellent,” he says. “I would have gone crazy without it.” He will occasionally stay late after the shiur to learn, and also appreciates that the shiurim are available to listen to on Kol Haloshon. “If you ever miss a shiur,” he explains, “you can make it up or listen live. Of course it’s always better in person, but if you have to be somewhere else the recordings are a great help.”
In Lakewood, R’Mayer Nussbaum has joined a group of Agra D’Pirka participants who stay after the shiur at Khal Zichron Yaakov, Rabbi Gissinger’s shul, to learn Novi together. “We’ve learned a lot of Tanach over the last couple of years,” he says. “We started with Yehoshua and just finished learning Daniel. Now we’re doing Ezra. “ He points out that another chavrusashaft has also developed from the program. He adds, “Agra D’Pirka has spawned a great deal of additional learning.”
R’Daniel Kramer will stay late occasionally at the Flatbush Agra D’Pirka depending on his schedule. He says the shul “is a wonderful Beis Medrash that is well stocked with seforim and is a beautiful place to learn privately.” Daniel works part time and only attends shiurim on his off days, but he adds that “each of those sessions is very meaningful.”
That’s why R’Daniel makes sure to encourage others to join the program, especially during the Legal Holiday special sessions. “I know there are many who can’t attend the regular classes,” he says “because they are busy in the mornings. But I’ll tell the people in my shul or students who are on vacation to come to the shiur on Legal Holidays. This is an opportunity for them to learn. And some of them really do take me up on it.”
One such opportunity is coming up soon. Monday, May 28th, is Memorial Day, and that’s when countless others can join the movement that’s called Agra D’Pirka. That morning’s holiday program will feature special shiurim and guest speakers at many of its locations. It will undoubtedly serve to enhance anyone’s morning. And not just because of the coffee and light breakfast that is offered at most locations.
“Agra D’Pirka,” says R’Bobby Rosenberg of Miami, “is our daily dose of medicine. People here depend on it. It’s become part of our routine.” The program continues nonstop “even during the summer when the vacationers have left and even when the weather is bad.” From Miami to Monsey, Boro Park, Lakewood, and Queens, Agra D’Pirka is seriously changing lives. Join the program on Memorial Day, and discover for yourself what everyone is talking about.
For more information about Agra D’Pirka and the Legal Holiday program, please call Chaim Fuhrer at (718) 677-1377