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For the week ending 2 January 2016 / 21 Tevet 5776

A Letter from Adam Zeiff

by Rabbi Shlomo Simon
The Color of Heaven Artscroll

Author’s note: A few weeks ago in Ohrnet Magazine we published a profile of Adam Zeiff, a student in the Jintern program. Adam spent the last five months with us here in Jerusalem and left a lasting impact on the Yeshiva and on the Jintern program. As mentioned in that article, Adam displayed an unusual level of hakarat hatov (gratitude), and the day he left the Yeshiva he left a letter for the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Schiller, as an expression of his gratitude. He has kindly allowed us to post the letter here.

December 17, 2015

Dear Rabbi Schiller,

As I think back on my time here I am reminded of friendly faces, of laughter and of growth. But, you can find these things almost anywhere — so why was Ohr Somayach so special? Growing up, I didn't associate much with religion, let alone my own. Judaism always felt like a category I fell into. My parents were Jewish, so I was Jewish. Hebrew school was mandatory so I went to Hebrew school. Bar Mitzvahs were fun and cool, so I had a Bar Mitzvah. Birthright was basically free, so I went on Birthright. I had no idea what this is. The media always seemed to be full of religiously based conflict and disagreement. The more I read, saw and heard about religion in the news, the less I wanted to be part of one.

I believed in G-d though. For some reason. I felt that He was around and I used to pray, long before I knew what davening even meant.

And then I came here and met you. Young guys like me trying to figure this all out – and it felt better. The classes were stimulating, the teachers were approachable and I was happier. Books I would have glanced over without a second thought became topics of inspiring conversation. A language I never dreamed I could understand, I learned to read. A country I recognized as a vacation spot became a place where I want to raise a family of my own.

In closing, nothing happens by coincidence and everything is from Hashem. Thank you for letting me be a part of your life in the world He has created.

(signed) Adam Zeiff

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