Torah Clubs form in different ways around the world. One common way that clubs take shape is through First Fruits of Zion’s HaYesod resource (hayesod.org).
Hayesod is a 10-week discipleship course that explores the Jewish foundations of the faith. Carolyn Walla is a Torah Club Leader in Kansas City, Missouri. She sat down with us recently to discuss the impact that HaYesod had on the formation of her Torah Club.
Tell us about the HaYesod groups that you have been running for many years.
When the most recent edition of the HaYesod: The Foundation course came out, I was thrilled with it. I had been praying for a curriculum that I could take Christians through to introduce them to the foundations of the faith from a Jewish perspective. When I first went through this course, I knew it was an answer to my prayers. After going through it myself, I invited my husband and some others to join me. My first HaYesod group was on a Thursday night, and they loved it. After the first group, more people expressed interest. That developed into a routine of me leading HaYesod groups every fall and spring. Over the years, I have led thirty-six HaYesod classes. The key to this was being available for God to use me through this resource.
How did your experience with HaYesod prepare you for Torah Club?
For students, a common question after completing HaYesod is, “what’s next?” Torah Club is the answer to that! The learning experience in HaYesod provides great preparation for what they will learn in Torah Club. As a leader, I gained invaluable knowledge through HaYesod. It prepared me to answer a lot of questions that I receive as a leader in Torah Club.
What difference has Torah Club made in your own life and ministry?
Torah Club has brought a certain rhythm to our home. Studying the weekly portions creates consistency for my family, especially when it comes to Shabbat and the holidays in the Torah. Also, I love to learn, and Torah Club has opened a vast treasure of learning for my family and me. With the learning comes the challenge to apply our learning to help build the kingdom of God.
You also have adult children involved in Torah Club. Tell us about that.
My family has always been interested in what I teach, learn, and write. My kids appreciate what they have learned and experienced in our home through Torah Club. Each of them incorporates what they have learned in different ways now that they are adults. One of my sons has led HaYesod classes and is now also leading a Torah Club. Torah Club has been great for our entire family.
What would your advice be to someone who is considering starting a Torah Club, but is not sure if they are a good enough teacher?
Torah Club is structured perfectly for facilitating. The readings are there, the questions are there, and you have support. The training videos for the leaders on the website are so valuable. We return to them regularly and reference them in our club. You do not go into this without supportive resources.
Over the years, I have learned that one of the keys to Hebrew thought is that you learn how to live in the tension of not having all the answers. This is a good place to be because it creates a reliance on God. He has the answers even though you may not. To be vulnerable is to be completely reliant on the LORD. When you relinquish that to Him, that is a declaration of your submission to Him.