Orthodox Union Calls for Round-the-Clock Torah Study for Israel During “Nine Days”

July 21, 2006


Continuing its all-out effort to find ways in which American Jews can become actively engaged in supporting their besieged Israeli brethren, the Orthodox Union is calling for a nationwide effort to utilize the power of communal Torah learning.

The Mishnah teaches that the Shechinah – God’s presence – is to be found wherever a minyan, a quorum of ten, comes together, thus elevating and magnifying the power of the group’s prayers and studies. Therefore, the OU is seeking to maintain at least one minyan studying Torah somewhere during each hour, night or day, of the first eight of the upcoming Nine Days, the period leading up to Tisha b’Av (Thursday, August 3), which marks the destruction of the ancient temple in Jerusalem. Torah study is not engaged in on Tisha b’Av itself. “We believe that such a major continuous spiritual effort,” said OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, “will have a meritorious effect on the welfare of our fellow Jews in Israel at this critical time.”

Synagogues, summer camps, yeshivot, kollelim and other groups are being urged to sign up on a special calendar page on the OU website, www.ou.org, for one or more one-hour slots of learning. Participants can opt to study a text or topic of their choice, or to utilize the audio, video and text resources, as well as live web-cast shiurim, to be made available online by the OU.

“Hundreds of synagogues heeded our call one evening this week for special prayers and tehillim (Psalms) to be said simultaneously in communities across North America on Israel’s behalf,” noted Stephen J. Savitsky, the OU’s President. “Now we’re calling for massive involvement in Torah study, because this is one way in which we feel we can make a difference and demonstrate our concern.”

Many other groups are joining in this effort, including the Rabbinical Council of America, Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future Summer Batei Midrash and Learning Programs, and the National Council of Young Israel and Young Israel Council of Rabbis. The OU has arranged for its own NCSY summer camps and its Seymour J. Abrams Jerusalem World Center to participate, too.