OU to Hold its First ‘Community Weekends’ Program with a Visit to Two Atlanta Synagogues, Nov 20-21

November 12, 2009


The Orthodox Union will inaugurate a new program, “Community Weekends,” with a visit to Atlanta, the Shabbat of November 20-21, when Parshat Toldot is read, to strenghten the ties between the OU and the Atlanta Orthodox community. The weekend will be centered around Beth Jacob Congregation and the Young Israel of Toco Hills, neighboring synagogues which will allow for the easy sharing of the OU representatives.

Led by its President, Stephen J. Savitsky, the OU will send a three-person delegation to Atlanta to serve as scholars-in-residence, to speak during and after Shabbat services, and to conduct a panel discussion, Orthodox Jewry at a Crossroads: Challenges and Opportunities. Mr. Savitsky will be joined by Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Executive Vice President, Emeritus; and Rabbi Cary Friedman, Assistant Director of the OU Department of Day School and Educational Services.

They will be joined there by the booming Atlanta chapter of NCSY, the OU’s international youth program, and its Director, Rabbi Chaim Neiditch.

“The goal of Community Weekends is to focus on thriving areas of Orthodox life and to go there to address a variety of topics and to meet community leaders,” declared Rabbi Steven Burg, OU Managing Director. “Depending on where they go and the interests of the community, they will discuss topics such as Torah study, kashrut (kosher), Israel, government relations and so on. We will explain the variety of programs the OU offers to its synagogues and ask what programs they would like us to develop. We have chosen communities where our relations are already close and seek to strengthen the bonds that already exist between us.”

Rabbi Burg explained that Atlanta was chosen to kick off the program because “it is the heart of the South, the home of a thriving NCSY youth program, and has an Orthodox community that is certain to grow along with the city as a whole.”

He noted that Atlanta participated in the OU’s “Emerging Communities Job and Home Relocation Fair” in June, in which Beth Jacob and Toco Hills sent delegations to explain why Atlanta would be a good community for Orthodox Jews from the New York Metropolitan area to resettle in, because of lower living costs than New York and its warm and welcoming atmosphere.

At Beth Jacob, the speakers will be as follows: Rabbi Weinreb, Friday night Oneg Shabbat; Rabbi Friedman, Pre-Shacharit Shiur (Iecture); Mr. Savitsky, after-Kiddush; Rabbi Friedman, pre-Mincha; Rabbi Weinreb, the third Sabbath meal. Saturday evening, there will be a Melave Malka (post-Shabbat festivities) and the panel discussion, which will be sponsored by both synagogues and with the three speakers taking part.

At Young Israel of Toco Hills, the speakers will be as follows: Mr. Savitsky, Friday night Oneg Shabbat; Rabbi Weinreb, Shabbat morning sermon; Rabbi Friedman, after-Kiddush; Mr. Savitsky, the third Sabbath meal. Then the Young Israel community will proceed to Beth Jacob for the Melave Malka and panel.

The addresses of the synagogues are: Beth Jacob Congregation – Atlanta, 1855 Lavista Road, NE and Young Israel of Toco Hills, 2074 Lavista Road, NE.

Future community visits, extending until May of 2010, will be to South Florida, Memphis, Silver Spring (MD), Westchester County (NY) and Chicago/Skokie, but Atlanta is the first. Each community visit, including Atlanta, will include a Resume Fair, a program of the OU’s Job Board, in which experts will provide advice on creating an effective job search document. Michael Rosner, Director of the Job Board, will also be present in Atlanta to conduct the fair.