(Jeremiah) said to them, “Thus says God… If you will remain in this land, I will build you and not pull you down; I will plant you and not pluck you up… Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon… for I am with you to save you and to deliver you from his hand…”
Arriving at Ben-Gurion Airport in Israel, on the day they made aliyah: Dena and Shelomo Dobkin, with daughters Meira (standing), and Ahuva (sitting).
On July 12, 2008, Shelomo Dobkin of Passaic, NJ listened to a shiur (lecture) by Rabbi Menachem Leibtag as part of the Orthodox Union’s Nach Yomi cycle. Two years later, almost to the day, and as a result of this shiur, Mr. Dobkin, his wife Dena and their two young children, made aliyah to Israel.
Talk about the impact of an OU program!
Nach Yomi is a two-year cycle in which one chapter a day from the non-Torah portions of the Hebrew Bible (Tanach) – that is, from the books of the Prophets and the Writings – is analyzed on OU Torah (www.ou.org/torah or www.outorah.org) by leading rabbis and teachers. On November 24 -- Thanksgiving Day -- the cycle will begin for a third time.
OU Executive Vice President Emeritus Rabbi Dr.Tzvi Hersh Weinreb will be joined by Rabbi Leibtag, Rabbi Yitzchok Etshalom, Rabbi Eric Levy, Rabbi Dr. Gidon Rothstein, Dr. Shawn Zelig Aster, Rabbi Elli Fischer, and many others in providing the lectures. In addition, OU Torah Content Editor Rabbi Jack Abramowitz provides a written synopsis of each chapter in contemporary language; these synopses have been collected as the two-volume Nach Yomi Companion, available from OU Press | Jewish Educational Publications (www.ou.org/oupress).
Shelomo Dobkin had been following the longer (seven-and-a-half years) and better-known Daf Yomi Talmud cycle on the OU website when he learned about Nach Yomi when it began in November, 2007. Then, the second cycle began in November 2009. The following June, the Dobkin’s family’s life changed.
In Chapter 42 of Jeremiah, the navi (prophet) encourages the disheartened Jews to remain in a vanquished Israel following the destruction of the first Temple by the Babylonians and the assassination of the last Jewish governor, Gedaliah. “Don’t go to Egypt,” he urges them – alas, to deaf ears.
“This chapter made me think how many times we have chances in life and don’t take advantage of them,” Shelomo Dobkin said. “The beautiful thing about Nach Yomi in general is to take some sort of life’s lesson out of it—and I always made a conscious effort to do so.” He decided to show a commitment to Israel that those who rejected Jeremiah’s advice didn’t have by making aliyah -- if Dena agreed, of course.
That took some time, particularly because neither had been to Israel before. “It was hard to get Dena to agree,” Shelomo remembers. “Every time we passed the airport I would say, ‘Let’s get on the plane.’ Finally she said, ‘O.K., let’s fill out the Nefesh b’Nefesh application.” They took a pilot trip to Israel, mainly to determine where to live – they now reside in Ramat Beit Shemesh – and in June of 2010, officially made aliyah. They live there with Meira, now 7, and Ahuva, 5.
“It is wonderful to hear that Nach Yomi had such a great impact on the lives of the Dobkin family,” said Rabbi Abramowitz. “I can’t predict whether or not the upcoming third cycle will play such a visibly dramatic role in the lives of our listeners, but one thing is certain – those who follow the cycle will have a vastly different understanding of and appreciation for the Books of the Prophets and the Writings.”
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