18 Nov 2009


The Orthodox Union Department of Community Services, in conjunction with Yeshiva University’s Center for the Jewish Future (CJF), will present a free communal symposium, “Making Our Tefillot More Meaningful and Personal,” December 6, from 9:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. at Davis Renov Stahler Yeshiva High School for Boys, 700 Ibsen Street in Woodmere. The theme of the symposium is “Tefillah Bli Kavanah Kmo Guf Bli Neshama – Prayer Without Concentration Is Like a Body Without a Soul.”

The program is part of a national collaborative “Tefillah Initiative,” to provide a greater appreciation of tefillot.

Rabbi Moshe Weinberger of Congregation Aish Kodesh, Woodmere; Rabbi Mayer Twersky, Rosh Yeshiva of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) at Yeshiva University; and Rabbi Eli Mansour of the Sephardic Synagogue Bet Yaakob in Brooklyn, will present on enhancing tefillah in a more meaningful and spiritual manner. Each speaker will explain a unique approach to prayer as an opportunity to communicate with God.

“This program is part of an ongoing national effort to help develop a deeper connection to our Creator, and a more meaningful experience in understanding our tefillot,” declared Frank Buchweitz, OU National Director of Community Services and Special Projects. “Tefillah is one of the basic elements in Judaism, an opportunity for the individual to draw closer to God. Too often, given the pressures life’s distractions, prayer sometimes becomes rote and loses its distinctive opportunity of communication. How to restore this concentration, connect with fervor, and solidify our relationship with our Creator is what the symposium is all about. Rabbis Weinberger, Twersky and Mansour, with great learning and oratorical skills, are outstanding and perfect role models for conveying this message,” he said.

The symposium builds upon previous successful initiatives Yeshiva University has undertaken in the Long Island community, including a YU Kollel at DRS High School and the formation of a school affordability task force. “Programs like these allow us to bring the wisdom and Torah of Yeshiva University from the classroom into the real world,” said Rabbi Kenneth Brander, the David Mitzner Dean of the CJF. “It is important that we continue to look for ways to convene our resources and energies with our natural partners, the OU, to better service the Jewish community.”

To learn more about OU and CJF events and programs in your community or to request speakers, contact Frank Buchweitz, 212 613 8188, frank@ou.org, or Rabbi Aaron Leibowitz at 212-960-5400 ext.6161, Aaron.Leibowitz@yu.edu .

Biographies of the presenters:

Rabbi Moshe Weinberger is the founder and Rabbi of Congregation Aish Kodesh in Woodmere. He is a nationally regarded teacher par excellance, author and posek, actively involved in Jewish outreach.

Rabbi Weinberger attended Yeshiva University, received a MA in Jewish Philosophy from the Bernard Revel Graduate School at YU and an MS in educational administration from Teachers College, Columbia University. Rabbi Weinberger was ordained by RIETS.

Rabbi Weinberger encourages spiritual growth and has served as scholar-in-residence in synagogues all over the United States. He is frequently an invited inspirational speaker for youth in Jewish high schools, and has developed a library of more than 1,900 MP3’s which are available online at www.aishkodeshaudio.com. He is a frequent contributor to such publications as RJJ’s Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society, and to the OU’s Jewish Action magazine.

Rabbi Mayer Twersky holds the Leib Merkin Distinguished Professional Chair in Talmud and Jewish Philosophy at Yeshiva University’s affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS). He is also a Rosh Yeshiva in the Mazer Yeshiva Program of Talmudic Studies of Yeshiva College. His popular shiurim emphasize a combination of penetrating conceptual analyses and deep ethical imperatives.

Rabbi Twersky attended the Maimonides School in Brookline, MA, which his grandfather, Rabbi Joseph B. Solovietchik, z”l, founded. He then attended Harvard University while studying Talmud privately with his grandfather. Following Harvard, he studied for rabbinic ordination at RIETS, became an instructor in the Yeshiva University High School for Boys, and later a lecturer at RIETS.

In addition to Hebrew articles in RIETS’ annual Torah journal, Rabbi Twersky has published three English articles in the journal Tradition and an English article in the Orthodox Union’s magazine Jewish Action. Two of these four articles relate to women in contemporary Orthodox Judaism.

Rabbi Eli J. Mansour attended Magen David Yeshivah, Shaare Torah High School, Yeshivat Mercaz HaTorah in Israel, Ateret Torah and the Bet Midrash Gavoha in Lakewood. He later joined the Keter Sion Kollel to learn under the guidance of Rabbi Max Maslaton and received semicha.

Rabbi Mansour currently serves as rabbi at Congregation Bet Yaakob, which is temporarily housed on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn, with plans for a permanent facility with Rabbi Mansour as Rosh Bet Kennesset. He gives daily classes in mishnah, gemara, halachah, Torah, neviim, and a variety of subjects relevant to the Orthodox community. He continues to advance his learning at the Keter Sion Kollel.

Rabbi Monsour has co-authored a Sephardic Haggada Shel Pesach with commentary that was published by ArtScroll. Coming soon, ArtScroll will publish a book of 1,000 Practical Halachot from lectures by Rabbi Mansour and posted on www.dailyhalacha.com.There are currently five web sites and a phone service, that feature Rabbi Mansour’s teachings:

www.dailyhalacha.com, www.dailygemara.com, www.learntorah.com, www.dailytehillim.com, www.mishnaberura.com and 347-LEARNTORAH.