For the week ending 5 March 2005 / 24 Adar I 5765

Adar I 5765

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Dear Alumnus,

"Mishnichnas Adar marbim bsimcha" משנכנס אדר מרבים בשמחה

The reason for the simcha, Rashi explains, is that this is a season of miracles which our people enjoyed the ones we recall on Purim and Pesach.

As someone who had the privilege of being part of the modern miracle called Ohr Somayach, you are certainly interested in knowing what is happening at your beloved yeshiva. Following is a brief update of recent developments that we are confident will give you simcha in being connected to this ongoing miracle.

Learning Missions From North America

Ohr Somayachs popularity as a place for people to come to for learning is not limited to young full-time students and JLE participants. Rabbis, educators and serious laymen have also found the yeshiva the right place for spending from a day to a week involved in learning.

This past winter we again welcomed a group from Toronto led by alumnus Yaakov Kaplan which spent a week of serious learning. Another group from Chicago, led by Rabbi Zev Cohen and including some of our alumni, also spent a week learning here. There was the annual learning visit of our friends from Philadelphia and something new in the form of a visit of a delegation of rabbis and educators from Southern California. This impressive visit was arranged by Rabbi Avrohom Union, prominent Los Angeles community rabbi and Beis Din member, who began his distinguished career in public service as Ohr Somayachs representative in South Africa.

Second Pesach Mission

Following the great success of last years Pesach Mission to Israel at the Nirvana Hotel on the Dead Sea, a second Pesach Mission will take place this year at the Kinar Classic Hotel on the Sea of Galilee. The Scholar-in-Residence will be internationally acclaimed speaker and senior lecturer at Ohr Somayach, Rabbi Dovid Orlofsky. Joining him as Co-Scholar-in Residence will be a recent graduate of Ohr Somayachs Ohr Lagolah program, Rabbi Mitchell D. Goodman.

Visiting scholars will include the deans of Ohr Somayach, Rabbi Nota Schiller and Rabbi Mendel Weinbach. Also in Residence will be Rabbi Shlomo Simon, JD of Yerushalayim, a director of Ohr Somayach and its General Counsel.

Anyone interested in joining this Mission should contact: Travel Deal Israel Tel. 972-2-999-8440 Fax 972-2-999-5877 Call Toll Free from the USA 1-866-376-6716. Full information is available on the Ohr Somayach web site:

Advancing Through Retreats

One of the ways in which kiruv is being done throughout the world today is providing young men with no background in Judaism an opportunity to become acquainted with their heritage by spending a week or more at a retreat in their home country. While Ohr Somayachs policy has always been to encourage participation in the Jewish Learning Exchange programs at our campus in Yerushalayim, we are aware that there are university students who are unable to make the trip to Israel at any given time. For this purpose we ran our first retreat this past summer at a beautiful campsite in Southern Connecticut. The success of this program for a limited number of students has inspired plans for conducting similar retreats throughout the year.

In South Africa two of our alumni, Menachem Sosnovik and Kevin Gilbert, have been running such retreats under the name of Outdoor Jewish Experience (OJE) and in conjunction with Ohr Somayachs highly successful branch in Johannesburg.

Record Numbers In Jle Programs

The above-mentioned retreats are by no means a substitute for the intensive JLE programs which this year achieved record numbers. About a hundred young men came from North America. Some of the outstanding groups were those from UCLA, led by alumni Elie Bloom and Benzion Klatzko, from University of Michigan, led by Rabbis Jacobovits and Eiseman, and from Toronto and Great Neck, New York organized by Ohr Somayach alumni.

Another fifty participants in the JLE programs came from the U.K., South Africa and Australia.

What They Are Doing

Asael Merteh, a product of the Russian Language Department which Ohr Somayach established and maintained for a decade, has returned to his native Georgia, an independent state of the former Soviet Union, to reach out to the Jewish community there.

Dr. Hillel Abramson, a University Library Scholar of Judaica at Florida Atlantic University, has just completed his new book "Learn to Learn: An Introductory Talmud Textbook", which is an outgrowth of his learning experience in Ohr Somayach. In his secular field of expertise, he is in the last stages of completing two works on Polish Jewry during the war.

Nachum Hirshel, who is an outstanding member of the Beit Shemesh community combining Torah with Derech Eretz, is one of the people who responded to our appeal for help in our last Alumni Newsletter by making a substantial gift in memory of Chana Leah bas Moshe.

We hope that other alumni will follow their example and enable Ohr Somayach to continue performing its miracle for our Generation of Return.

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