Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

21 Adar I 5765 - March 2, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Using the Siyum HaShas for Kiruv Rechokim

by C. Weiss and Yated Ne'eman Staff

Many askonim involved in the arrangements for the Eleventh Siyum HaShas long sought to find a way to channel the enormous energy that is generated by the effort to reach a broader audience. One such effort that was organized this time is called Jewish Unity Live.

Torah Links in New Jersey (with the haskomos of rabbonim from Lakewood and Rav S. Kamenetsky) took the lead and was later joined by the Atlanta Scholars Program in Georgia. They envisioned an event that would run in parallel to the main Aguda Siyum HaShas but would be directed outward, to people who had a much weaker connection to Torah than most of the direct participants. The Phoenix Community Kollel in Arizona (under the leadership of Rabbi Zvi Holland) and JEP in Long Island (under Rabbi Shlomo Stilerman) joined in, creating community-wide events in their areas for non-frum people.

In New Jersey, a live linkup to the Siyum will introduce it to a non-frum audience. In Atlanta, they used the Siyum to reach out to students in community schools (religious and non- religious) some time ago, and have them commit to a learning program that will be completed at their event on March 1. In effect they were able to create a local community-wide siyum.

It was understood that the non-religious public would not understand or appreciate a siyum on Shas, so the focus of the "celebration" was broadened to encompass the entire Torah. The message is to promote and publicize the need for all Jews to study the Torah.

Jewish Unity Live was the name given to the event because it was thought to be a theme that would resonate with all members of the Jewish community. We were all united at Matan Torah, and today the Torah is the common thread that continues to unite us.

Events are being held in a cities around the United States, and a special half-hour film — "Passover with the Wellmans" — was created to offer a dramatic and humorous approach to contemporary issues facing non-frum Jews today, such as intermarriage, kiruv, etc. This film is being shown in five locations in North America on March 1, and almost 100 U.S. military bases around the world with a strong Jewish presence have been offered the opportunity to show it as well.

In Atlanta, the event was sold out weeks in advance and people were being turned away. In New Jersey and other communities, the kiruv organizations hosting it have found that this is a new and effective way to bring non- religious people through the door.

Promotion and publicity was done in the general Jewish communities, and it has brought it dozens and dozens of emails from non-affiliated people fascinated by the Siyum HaShas — something they were unfamiliar with — and wanting to know more about it.

The event is being held this year in the US and one city in Canada, with hopes to expand it in future years to encompass all communities with a large Jewish population.

For more information, Rabbi Aron Gruman of Torah Links is an ideal person to talk to: 732-367-0600.


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