OU Visits South Florida for Community Weekend, 2/3-2/5

19 Jan 2012


As the American Orthodox community faces a multiplicity of challenges – ranging from the affordability of day school tuition to its concern for Israel’s precarious position – the Orthodox Union is taking a leadership role in addressing these issues. The OU will be giving chizuk – strength – to South Florida’s communities struggling with these concerns by bringing today’s leaders in Jewish education, outreach, kashrut and more to their synagogues.

From Friday, February 3-Sunday, February 5 the OU will present Community Weekend in South Florida. The visit coincides with Parshat Beshalach/Shabbat Shirah.

Nine scholars-in-residence will make the trip, each assigned to a separate synagogue. A tenth shul will be the site of a Thursday, February 2 program that will open the weekend.

Each scholar will speak on Shabbat at the host shul (sometimes several times) and meet the community. In addition, the extended weekend will include a presentation by the esteemed Talmudist, Rav Hershel Schachter; a special “Ask the OU Rabbis,” program, presented by OU Kosher; an OU Job Fair; all preceded by the Thursday opening program.

These community weekends have been presented all over the United States in past years; the annual visit to South Florida is the first trip scheduled for 2012, according to Rabbi Judah Isaacs, Director of the OU Department of Community Engagement, which arranged the program. “The Torah portion Beshalach with the Song at the Sea is an emotional highlight of the Torah cycle,” Rabbi Isaacs said. “What better time to build on this atmosphere with a weekend of Torah learning, courtesy of the Orthodox Union.”

The program is coordinated by Penny Pazornick, Associate Director of Community Engagement, who also arranged its predecessors in 2010 and 2011.

The participating synagogues on Shabbat, and the speakers are as follows:

• Anshei Chesed Congregation, Boynton Beach – Rabbi Jonathan Gross, Chief Rabbi of Beth Israel Synagogue, Omaha

• Beth Israel Congregation, Miami Beach – Rav Hershel Schachter, Halachic consultant OU Kosher and Rosh Yeshiva and Rosh Kollel, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, Yeshiva University

• Boca Raton Synagogue, Charles Harary, OU National Vice President

• Boca Jewish Center –Shaaray Tefila, Rabbi Steven Weil, Executive Vice President, Orthodox Union

• Palm Beach Synagogue, Rabbi Steven Burg, Managing Director, Orthodox Union

• Sky Lake Synagogue, North Miami Beach, Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin, Associate Director of Education, Orthodox Union

• Temple Moses, Miami Beach, Rabbi Avi Berman, Director General, OU Israel

• Young Israel of Hollywood, Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Executive Vice President, Emeritus, Orthodox Union

• Young Israel of Kendall, Rabbi David Felsenthal, Director of Alumni, NCSY (the OU’s international youth program)

Rabbi Berman will open the program on Thursday evening at 8:00 p.m. at Congregation Torah Ohr in Boca Raton, when drawing on his experience as the head of OU Israel he will speak on “Will the Jewish State Stay Jewish?” Rabbi Berman is American born, and made aliyah with his family as a boy. He spent several years in Vancouver, Canada, as Director of the NCSY Pacific Northwest Region, based there.

On Sunday, Rav Schachter will speak at the Boca Raton Synagogue at 9:30 a.m. on “Segulahs, Superstitions and Ayin Harahs.”

That same day, from 9:45 a.m. to noon at the Young Israel of Hollywood, Rabbis Yosef Grossman, Chaim Loike and Dovid Jenkins will participate in a panel Q&A session, “Ask the OU Rabbis,” following a presentation by Rabbi Loike on “The Mesorah of Kosher Birds” and by Rabbi Jenkins on “How Tootsie Roll, Gatorade and Corporate America have Affected Kashrut.”

The visit will actually conclude after the weekend is over on Tuesday, February 7, when the OU Job Board | Employment and Resumé Opportunities, which has held Job Fairs around the northeast and in Israel, comes to South Florida for the first time, with a Fair to be held from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Young Israel of Hollywood. Employers and candidates are now signing up to participate. The OU Job Fairs have always resulted in a situation in which a number of candidates are hired on the spot, and a considerable number of others are invited back for second interviews. Registration for both employers and candidates, at www.oujobs.org is required.

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