MESHULAM NAHARI, MK, ISRAELI MINISTER WITH SOCIAL SERVICES RESPONSIBILITIES, VISITS OU TO DISCUSS OLD TIES AND TO FORMULATE NEW ONES
Rabbi Meshulam Nahari, Member of the Knesset (Shas party) and Minister in the Israeli Finance Ministry with responsibility for education and social affairs, gained first-hand familiarity with the social services of the Orthodox Union in Israel in November when he spent much time, until the wee hours of the morning, visiting The Pearl and Harold M. Jacobs Jerusalem Outreach Center--Zula program of the Seymour J. Abrams OU Jerusalem World Center.
At Zula, young men and women living a dangerous lifestyle, many of whom have abandoned the Orthodoxy of their parents, gather after Shabbat until dawn. Invited in from the streets where they had been congregating, then finding themselves in a relaxed atmosphere of music and discussions, the young people are encouraged to reestablish their ties with Torah Judaism and to leave behind their experimentation with an at-risk existence.
Minister Nahari visited Zula as a guest of the Orthodox Union, which held its Biannual Convention in Israel at Thanksgiving 2006. He was so impressed that he was still on the premises at 3:30 a.m., long after his OU hosts had returned to their hotel. It was only natural, therefore, that when he arrived in the United States this week to visit with Jewish organizations with an interest in the problems of Israeli society, that Minister Nahari would come to OU headquarters in New York to meet with staff and to formulate plans for joint OU-government approaches to dealing with the problems of drop-outs and young people at risk.
The Minister was accompanied to the OU by Rabbi Avi Berman, Director-General of OU Israel.