OU Kosher will provide a halachic, historic and archeological perspective of Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and the special mitzvot that are connected to this holy land when it presents Kedushas Ha’Aretz and its Mitzvos, Sunday, June 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p. m. at Lander College in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens.
The program, The Harry H. Beren ASKOU Mesorah Conference IV, follows previous mesorah conferences presented at Lander College – a division of Touro College -- to large and enthusiastic audiences, The Mesorah of Kosher Birds and Animals, and The Pareve Mesorahs. In addition, the kosher birds and animals conference was presented last summer in Los Angeles to another large group.
As with the case of many OU Kosher programs, the conference is made possible by a grant from the Harry H. Beren Foundation of Lakewood, NJ in memory of Harry H. Beren, z”l.
Admission to the conference, which is open to both men and women, is $10, except for OU members for whom it is complimentary. An OU certified box lunch will be available for $10.
As with the previous conferences, Mesorah IV will feature “The Two Ari’s,” Rabbi Dr. Ari Zivotofsky and Dr. Ari Greenspan. Not only are they experts on the mesorah (tradition) of kosher food, but they are experts on the archeology of Israel and serve as tour guides to the Kotel tunnels and to Ir David (City of David) one of Jerusalem’s archeological sites, which dates back to the time of King David.
Unlike the previous mesorah conferences, which dealt specifically with food, OU Kosher has expanded the boundaries of this seminar beyond food, but still with kashrut implications.
According to Rabbi Yosef Grossman, Director of Kashrut Education and conference coordinator, “This program also has to do with kashrut, because foods that come from Israel are governed by specific mitzvot that apply only to Eretz Yisrael. Before an orange or tomato comes from Israel, for example, some of the crop must be set aside as terumah, the portion once given to the kohen, and ma’aser, the tithe once given to the Levi, and since there is no Temple, the portion that we may not eat is left to decay and disposed of in a respectful manner. In Israel, a religious person will only shop in a store which has a reliable kashrut certification that this has been done.”
Conference sessions are as follows:
• Mitzvos Hateluyos Ba’aretz Bazman Hazeh, with Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, OU Kosher halachic posek, on the mitzvot, such as terumah, ma’aser and shmita, which can only be performed in Eretz Yisrael;
• Korbonos Today? with Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of OU Kosher, exploring whether we are permitted to bring sacrifices that were brought when the Temples were standing;
• The Unique Halachot of Yerushalayim: A Mikdash Extension, with Rabbi Dr. Zivotofsky, on the extension of the holiness of the Temple to Jerusalem;
• The Shape of the Menorah and its Base, with Rabbi Dr. Seth Mandel, OU Kosher Rabbinic Coordinator, on the different opinions regarding this question;
• The Heter Mechira of Shmita, with Rabbi Genack, on whether land can be sold to gentiles during the shmita year, thus allowing work to be done on this land;
• Seeing the Exact Boundaries of Eretz Yisrael Through Google, with Dr. Shalom Kelman, an ophthalmologist who is also a Talmudic scholar, and who will use the website projected on to a screen to define the boundaries;
• Shmitas Kesofim, with Rabbi Hershel Schachter, OU Kosher halachic decisor, on the nullification of loans during the shmita year except when there is a written pruzbol;
• Kedushas Ha’aretz and its Ramifications, with Rabbi Noach Isaac Oelbaum of Congregation Nachlas Yisroel in Kew Gardens Hills, on the halachic ramifications of the concept that the land is holy;
• Har Habayit – a Halachic and Archeological Tour, with Dr. Greenspan, featuring a slide show;
• The Precise Location of the Mizbeach HaChitzon, with Rabbi Liebel Reznick, a former Rosh Yeshivah at Yeshiva Shaarei Torah, Suffern, NY, who has written and lectured extensively on many of the conference topics, on the location of the outer altar;
• Unearthing Tanach – the Message of “Yerushalayim Shel Matah,” with Rabbi Dr. Zivotofsky, on archelogical excavations in Jerusalem which validate Torah; and
• Halachic Archeology – “When I Was in Rome I Saw the Menorah,” with Dr. Greenspan, referring to the menorah on the Arch of Titus.
Two other presentations which have been added to the program are “The Expanding Boundaries of Eretz Yisrael Found in Tanach” with Rabbi Menachem Leibtag, another noted scholar from Israel who will be joining the program; and “The Schulchan and Schulchanot of Shlomo HaMelech,” with Dr. Kelman.
Rabbi Grossman pointed out that a newly created ASKOU DVD, for use on computers with DVD drives, will be distributed free of charge to all ASK OU Mesorah Conference participants. This DVD contains 91 major ASKOU presentations by OU experts, including past Mesorah Conferences, the Los Angeles Halachic Seudah at Prime Grill restaurant, as well as shiurim and divrei chizuk by such noted Roshei Ha Yeshivah and Rabbonim as Rav Shmuel Kaminetsky, Rav Asher Weiss and the Nirbater Rav, Rav Ahron Teitelbaum.
Pre-registration is required. Contact Rabbi Grossman at email@example.com, 212-613-8212, or register online at www.ou.org; http://www.ou.org/ou/event_more/askou_mesorah_conference_iv.