Developing a great shiur title can be as easy as just taking a famous phrase and substituting one word for your shiur. And here the Jewish community owes a great deal of gratitude to President Trump. You may not like his politics, but MAGA was a gift to shiur title developers everywhere. “Make Passover Great Again!” While you’re at it, “Make America Shtark Again!” Why not? No presidential slogan in recent memory has been co-opted for so many shiur titles. Thanks, Obama!
Does the title make the shiur or does the shiur make the title? I’m not even sure what that question means, but I know it’s a great shiur title technique. “Eating to Live or Living to Eat?” This classic trope is a great way to get people to show up to your presentation, as they silently and shamefully admit to themselves, “the latter.”
Struggling to add some flair to your otherwise bland title? Just add the phrase “Torah Perspective.” But, be careful. Unless you are one of the gedolei Yisrael or have recently been privy to prophecy, the word you use to preface “Torah Perspective,” can make a world of a difference. As one Jewish work-in-progress once noted: “Dear The Torah Perspective — No thanks! Sincerely yours, A Torah Perspective.”
This tried-and-true formula can get you out of any title dilemma. While partnering with our old friend alliteration, these titles practically write themselves: From Moshe to Monsey, From Egypt to Europe, From Kinderlach to Kugel. Don’t sweat it if they aren’t really connected or don’t even make sense. What really matters is that you get From the Home to Your Shiur.
Stuck with a bland shiur title? All you need is a little colonoscopy. Not to be confused with the medical procedure, this technique just requires the addition of a dramatic colon to add some histrionics to an otherwise tranquil topic. Rabbi Micah Epstein, a rav noted for his regard for human life, once suggested that with these techniques you can deliver the ultimate shiur entitled “Colons, subtitles, and lists of threes: A Guide to Giving a Title to Your Shiur.”
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 715. Special thanks to: Rabbi Micah Epstein, Robert Wilon, Evan Gutterman, Rabbi Dov “Fortnite” Emerson, Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz, Michael Katz)
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