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Da Ma Shetashiv - Series by Harav Aaron Lopiansky   ...
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When Rutgers students signed up to go on the Rutgers Jewish Xperience – Meor Israel trip this winter break, they were expecting to be inspired by the Torah, land and people of Eretz Yisroel.When trip leader Rabbi Yehoshua Lewis, director of the Rutgers Jewish Xperience on the Rutgers campus in New Brinswick, NJ, took some of the boys to the Kosel one morning, they were not quite prepared for whom they would meet.Rabbi Lewis organized a minyan so that many of these boys could put on tefilin for t...
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"The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”So wrote the great American author Mark Twain and so, it seems, would be apropos for kiruv rechokim in America. One regularly reads about the end of kiruv, including twice recently from Rabbi Yonoson Rosenblum, who bemoans the apparent lack of interest in anything new, deep, or meaningful on the part of college students nationwide.Yet for those of us who work in the well-over 100 campuses and young professional programs around the country (t...
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Forty years ago, the movement was in its infancy. Since then, due to the efforts of some determined individuals, the phenomenon has blossomed, positively impacting Jewish communities worldwide. It would be beneficial to take a step back to see where we are today and what the trends are for the future. In its early stages was performed mostly by the Torah Umesorah day school movement and NCSY, with their emphasis on reaching children and teens. Eventually, they were joined by Chabad, Aish Hatorah...
by November 6, 2019
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The Stories 1. Josh is a 20-year-old college student who was given a yeshiva education from kindergarten through 12th grade. No doubt his parents spent well over $100,000 for his solid Jewish education. He is involved in Jewish life on campus and attends minyan regularly, though life on campus is a spiritual battle. So when he told me he went to his college football team’s stadium to attend a game on a Shabbos afternoon, I was a little disappointed. “Don’t worry,” he reassured me. “I walked to...
by November 6, 2019
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People sometimes wonder what is the ‘trick’ to doing Kiruv. In truth, there is no trick and almost anyone who is sincere can be successful in reaching out to our secular Jewish brothers and sisters. The ‘chut hameshulash’ of Kiruv are Torah, Shabbos and creating a true bond of friendship and connection. While people or organizations will sometimes use certain recruiting methods or programs to get Jews initially interested, if one wants to be able to bring Jews to Yiddishkeit in a deep and meanin...
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Rabbi Shlomo Landau began working for Torah Links (the outreach arm of the Lakewood Yeshivah) in the summer of 2000, and he was instrumental in founding Torah Links of Middlesex County located in East Brunswick, NJ. Torah Links of Middlesex County began with a few home-based study groups and has blossomed into a full service kiruv organization serving 400+ Jewish families in the area. From Sunday school to Hebrew High, from numerous daily classes to High Holiday programs, the organization works flat-out to create inspiring programs. The results speak for themselves. Thousands of Jews from all walks of life have been positively impacted by the uplifting and inspiring Judaism provided by Torah Links. In addition, countless individuals and families have found their way back to complete Torah observance, and Torah Links is proud to have graduates of its youth programs in top yeshivos and kollelim. Through Rabbi Landau’s tireless efforts, Torah Links is about to commence construction of the Torah Links of Middlesex County Community Learning Center; a 15,000 sq. foot beautiful state-of-the-art full service Kiruv center. Additionally, since the fall of 2002 Rabbi Landau has been a high school rebbi in various Modern Orthodox yeshivot. He is currently a beloved faculty member of the Ray Kushner Yeshiva High School (located in Livingston, NJ). For over a decade, Rabbi Landau has succeeded in inspiring hundreds of young men to investigate and appreciate Jewish living and learning. Rabbi Landau has built long lasting relationships with very many of his students – relationships that have lasted past graduation and continue to flourish today, when he is often called on to act as ‘mesader kiddushin’ at their weddings.
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"I thought I would do this [ponzi scheme] for just a short time and then extricate myself and my clients from it" —Bernie Madoff, during his sentencing hearing in court. We can imagine the temptation, the first time Madoff's investments turned sour, to use the money from new investors to pay the old. What harm could there be in borrowing in hard times and paying back when things improved? ...
by June 19, 2020
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It is hard to see the world in the way we are supposed to- with a lens of optimism and positivity. This is especially true now with all of the tumult in society today.  But the reality is that it is always challenging to see the world correctly. The Torah records the initial visual impairments when the spies sent to Israel to scour the land.  This one episode led to a thirty eight year extension in the desert.  Apparently, Jewish vision always had its issues.              After a taste of giant...
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Jewish mysticism is often perceived as ethereal abstract and beyond the ken of all but a select few. It is often considered to have little relevance to the day-to-day life of an ordinary Jew. Indeed, the laws and commandments found in the Torah and Talmud which form the framework of Jewish living can be understood and followed without any knowledge of the mystical literature. Chasidic philosophy teaches, however, that there is an essential, fundamental interrelationship between all levels of Jew...
by May 8, 2020
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Jews are credited with a plethora of creativity in the fields of arts, science, economics- basically any field under the sun. Unfortunately, we are not always credited with our most creative and productive work, sanctifying G-d’s name. What does it means to give sanctity to G-d’s name and why is it our most creative work?               To begin, we need a working definition of sanctity.  One way of defining sanctity is the ability to do an act purely for its own sake. In other words, our world ...