OU Torah Convention in LA: ‘There’s an OU for You,’ 12/15-18

02 Dec 2011


In a change of pace, this year’s OU West Coast Torah Convention, to be held in Los Angeles from Thursday, December 15-Sunday, December 18, will focus on the Orthodox Union itself, and its programs and initiatives to serve the Jewish community, rather than on some of the more philosophical questions discussed in the past, such as last year’s “Jewish Values for the Next Generation.”

The title of program sums up the new approach: There’s an OU for YOU!

A team of OU lay and staff experts will join with invited presenters to explore how the OU is dealing with its current priorities. Once again, a group of OU member synagogues will welcome guests with special Shabbat morning sermons dealing with OU initiatives delivered by scholars-in-residence.

“Historically, our West Coast Convention has showcased talented speakers from around the world who focus on a particular theme of note in the Jewish community,” explained OU West Coast Director Rabbi Alan Kalinsky. “This year, we have decided to refocus the convention in order to take a step back and understand what resources are being brought to bear on the pressing issues that face us. In that spirit, this year’s convention is titled “There’s an OU for YOU” and our goal is that attendees learn about the wide variety of areas in which the OU is making a real difference to our lives as Orthodox Jews.”

OU West Coast Assistant Director Rabbi Adir Posy worked closely with Rabbi Kalinsky and Region’s lay leadership to put the Torah Convention together.

The OU will be represented by Rabbi Steven Weil, Executive Vice President and Rabbi Steven Burg, Managing Director – both with years of service in Los Angeles. Joining them will be Nathan Diament, Executive Director of the OU’s Institute for Public Affairs | Jewish Political Affairs, who will be placing special emphasis on the OU’s Education Affordability Initiative; OU Vice President Dr. David and Vivian Luchins; and Rabbi Hershel Schachter, OU Halachic Posek, who will make his regular visit to the Convention, where he will devote a Friday pre-Shabbat session to a Rabbinic Enrichment Shiur. He will then give a presentation at the Friday night Oneg at LINK Kollel; a Shabbat morning drosha at Adas Torah; a Shabbat afternoon shiur at the Young Israel of Century City; and will be a panelist at Young Israel of Hancock Park in a session presented by OU Kosher on Sunday.

Area OU member synagogues that will be welcoming visitors to the Convention are Beth Jacob Congregation, Adas Torah, Bnai David-Judea, Young Israel of North Beverly Hills, Young Israel of Century City, Shaarey Tzedek-Valley Village, and Beth Jacob of Irvine.

Given the OU emphasis on the Jewish education affordability issue, the Thursday night Education Symposium at 7:30 p.m. at Beth Jacob Congregation is certain to be of special interest. This session is geared toward educators, lay leaders and decision makers to discuss the issues and solutions involved in funding Orthodox Day School education. The program will include Nathan Diament and Rabbi Weil from the OU; as well as Miriam Prum Hess of Los Angeles BJE; Yossi Prager of the Avi Chai Foundation; Rob Toren of the Samis Foundation; and Dr. Scott Goldberg of Yeshiva University.

The scholars-in-residence at the various synagogues include Lee Rosenberg, President of AIPAC, at Beth Jacob; Rav Schachter at Adas Torah; Rabbi Weil at Bnai David-Judea; Nathan Diament, at Young Israel of North Beverly Hills; Rabbi Burg at Young Israel of Century City; Dr. Luchins at Shaarey Tzedek-Valley Village; and Dr. Scott Goldberg at Beth Jacob of Irvine.

A Shabbat Lunch and Learn at Beth Jacob at 12:30 p.m. will present Rabbi Weil and Lee Rosenberg discussing: “Communal Israel Advocacy: What Is Our Role?”

In his Century City Shabbat Afternoon Shiur at 4:20, Rav Schachter will discuss “The Rav’s Approach to Tefilla,” referring to Rabbi Yosef Soloveitchik.

Two special events are planned for Sunday. At 9:30 a.m., the Women’s Torah Network, led by Mrs. Geri Weiner, presents the Beth Samuels a”h” Memorial Lecture at the Young Israel of Century City; and an OU community kashrut event in conjunction with the Rabbinical Council of California, will be open to the community at 7:30 p.m. at the Young Israel of Hancock Park.

The OU Kosher program will feature Rav Schachter; Rabbi Yaakov Vann, and Rabbi Nachum Sauer of the Rabbinical Council of California; and Rabbi Chaim Goldberg, who will be certain to give an enjoyable presentation on “The Kashrut of Fish.”

For further information, contact Rabbi Posy at 310-229-9000, ext. 205 or posya@ou.org.

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