Brian Singer had been looking for a unique way to honor his mother, Edye Anne Singer z”l, when Rabbi Israel Becker with Congregation Chofetz Chayim in Tucson, contacted him with an exciting proposition.
It all started when the Foxman Torah Institute in Cherry Hill, New Jersey reached out to Rabbi Becker after their three-week program, scheduled to be held in South Africa this summer, fell through. They wondered if they could bring their top 12 Yeshiva students along with Rabbi Shimon Max and Rabbi Aaron Juni to Tucson and present their program there.
Rabbi Becker reached out to Brian and asked him if he would like to spearhead the project as a way to honor his mom, and Brian wholeheartedly agreed. “I said, ‘sign me up,’ ” says Brian. “I didn’t want to lose the opportunity.”
Brian, who is a third-year medical student at the University of Arizona, has been spending his spare time planning the event called “The Connection Edye Anne Singer Learning Program” – three weeks of powerful learning to help the Jewish community strengthen their connection with Judaism.
“It’s important to me, and it’s important to Tucson,” says Brian. “It’s the largest program that the Jewish community has ever seen. No one can believe that this is actually happening – nothing like this has happened before.”
Brian jokes that The Connection offers more classes than medical school. His goal is to create lots of opportunities for people of all backgrounds. He wants to make sure, “if somebody is looking for something, that we have it, and if somebody doesn’t know what they are looking for, they can be inspired by something we do have.”
There is also a whole separate arm of the program that is just one-on-one learning. If someone is interested in a specific topic, they can schedule a time to be connected with a Yeshiva student. “Any topic you are struggling with, these guys are on call,” says Brian.
Edye Singer was a single mother and entrepreneur with a love for learning and Brian feels that The Connection is a perfect way to honor her. “It was her dream, and my dream – both of ours – to become a doctor one day,” says Brian “Ever since I was little she stayed up studying with me and sent me to this or that extracurricular activity. Her dream was always the success of my sister and me.”
Most of the programs offered are free, while some have a suggested donation fee. But Brian wants to make sure that people understand that no one will be turned away from any event due to inability to pay. “I wanted to make sure that there were no barriers for people who are looking for answers to their questions,” he says. “I want people of all financial backgrounds to participate in the program.”
Edye Anne Singer Learning Program
What: A three-week revolutionary program with the goal to help the Jewish community of Tucson build, strengthen and explore their connection with Judaism.
When: June 26-July 17
Where: Chofetz Chayim, 5150 E. Fifth St., Tucson and Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, 3718 E. River Road, Tucson
For more information and to register, visit theconnectionaz.com