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Dear Talmid,

There are two dates in the month of Shvat which have a special significance for Ohr Somayach and all of its talmidim, past, present and future.

On Rosh Chodesh Shvat, the Torah tells us at the beginning of Parshat Devarim, Moshe Rabbenu gathered all of Israeland began to elaborate the Mishneh Torah. This was at the end of forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The review of the Torah for a generation whose majority had not yet been around when the Torah was given, and the critical resume of all the mistakes made during those forty years, added up to a "mission statement" for the Jewish People.

As Ohr Somayach approaches its own fortieth year we feel a need to share with you our own "mission statement" much of which was delivered in a shmuse on this Rosh Chodesh Shvat in the Main Beis Medrish of the Yeshiva.

The exciting few weeks which just passed, with a hundred young people from university campuses in North America and the United Kingdom, served as a proud reminder of the basic mission of Ohr Somayach to bring a generation of alienated Jews back to their Jewish roots. But the many hundreds of talmidim learning and growing in all of the departments of the Yeshiva express the other half of Ohr Somayach's mission statement which makes it so unique among all institutions and organizations involved in kiruv. They represent the Yeshiva's commitment to the ideal that every talmid must be given the opportunity to develop his potential as a Ben Torah and to strive to become a talmid chacham who can share his learning with others.

As a former talmid, you can readily relate to this date about a mission statement but you can also relate to the second significant date of this month – Tu B'Shvat, the new year of the trees. Aside from all of its halachic implications, this date also recalls the blessing which one Talmudic Sage gave to the other. Comparing him to a tree that has all of its own blessings of fruit, shade and water source, he blessed him that all of the trees – his offspring – planted from his seeds should enjoy all of his gifts.

Ohr Somayach is proud to be the tree from which so many wonderful trees such as yourself have sprouted to enrich our people.

Alumni Update

  • A number of those 100 university students who participated in our JLE and other short-term programs have elected to become full-time students in the Yeshiva while others became committed to putting on tefillin and tzitzis.
  • Much of the credit for this success goes to the Mentors Mission led by Danny Lemberg which included a significant number of former talmidim amongst the close to 30 businessmen and professionals who came to Israel to learn and interact with the JLE participants
  • Former talmidim who gave guest lectures for Ohr Lagolah during their recent visits here included Rabbi Yonason Goldson from St. Louisand Rabbi Zev Kahn from Chicago.
  • Upcoming events include a JLE–Mentor Reunion and Grand Shabbaton scheduled for February 17-20.
  • In addition to our weekly OHRNET, Ohr Somayach now broadcasts a weekly podcast (2-4 minute thought from this week’s Parsha) from Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair. You can always hear this week’s podcast on the following link:

And in Conclusion

The entire Ohr Somayach Family joins in wishing you hatzlacha in everything you do.

Rabbi Mendel Weinbach | Rabbi Nota Schiller

Roshei Hayeshiva

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