The Orthodox Union will continue its recently-inaugurated program, “Community Weekends,” with a visit to Memphis, the Shabbat of February 5-6, to strengthen the ties between the OU and the area’s Orthodox community. Synagogues that will be visited are Anshei Sphard Congregation; Baron Hirsch Congregation; and Young Israel of Memphis. The program kicked off with a visit to Atlanta in December and will follow up in January with a visit to South Florida.
Led by its Executive Vice President, Rabbi Steven Weil, the OU will send a delegation to serve as scholars-in-residence, to speak during and after Shabbat services. Rabbi Weil will be joined by Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Executive Vice President Emeritus, and Rabbi Saul Zucker, Director of the OU Department of Day School and Educational Services. Rabbi Moshe Isenberg, Associate Regional Director of Midwest NCSY will also speak.
“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 Shai Finkelstein, the senior rabbi of Baron Hirsch Congregation, declared, “We are excited to welcome Rabbi Weil and the OU leadership to Memphis. We appreciate the OU’s recognition of Baron Hirsch’s efforts in reaching out to as many people as possible and we are looking forward to partnering with the OU on even more programs. Our previous OU scholars always attract many participants, and we are sure that this weekend will be unforgettable.”
Rabbi Joel Finkelstein, spiritual leader of Anshei Sphard Congregation, stated, “We are so excited to have Rabbi Weinreb of the OU come to our congregation. He is one of the most insightful and thoughtful people I know, and the topics he is addressing are very compelling. It is wonderful how the OU has reached out to our community to connect with us in this way and in many other new and exciting ways. We are also thrilled to offer a Shabbat morning session with Rabbi Isenberg for our teens.”
Rabbi Weil will serve as scholar-in-residence at Baron Hirsch. There will be a community dinner at the synagogue followed by Rabbi Weil speaking on “The Response, the Repetition, and the Ramp.” A teen oneg led by Rabbi Isenberg will follow Rabbi Weil’s lecture. On Shabbat morning, Rabbi Weil will speak on “The Schizophrenic Jew,” and in the afternoon, he will give a shiur (class) on “The OU Unplugged.” Rabbi Isenberg will lead a teen seudah shlishit (third Shabbat meal) program.
Rabbi Weinreb will be the scholar-in-residence at Anshei Sphard. On Friday night, there will be a community dinner at the synagogue followed by a speech by Rabbi Weinreb on “Origins of Life: Evolution, Intelligent Design, and Genesis.” On Shabbat morning, he will speak on “The Three Greatest Problems Facing the American Orthodox Jewish Community and What You Can Do About Them.” At 9:45 a.m., Rabbi Isenberg will lead a teen discussion on “Davening…What’s the point?” On Saturday night, Rabbi Weinreb will speak at a private home on ‘The Art of Effective Parenting.”
Rabbi Zucker will be the scholar-in-residence at the Young Israel of Memphis. On Friday night, he will deliver a speech entitled “The First Commandment: The Mitzvah to Know Hashem.” He will speak on “Shabbat: Why Oneg (Joy) is Such A Critical Element” on Shabbat morning. That afternoon, he will give a talk on “The Difference Between Coveting and Desiring, and What That Says About Us.” Rabbi Zucker will also speak on “Issues in Education” at Baron Hirsch on Saturday night.
Each synagogue participating in the weekend will also take part in an OU-led synagogue board development session.
As a follow-up, the OU Job Board will present its highly acclaimed Resume Fair, in which experts will provide advice on creating an effective job search document. A representative of the Job Board will be present in Memphis to conduct the fair on Tuesday, March 9.