OU’s West Coast Torah Convention Focuses on Israel, December 12-14

18 Nov 2008

The West Coast Convention, an extraordinary gathering of an entire community to engage in Torah learning and stimulating discussion of Jewish issues, is regularly attended by hundreds of men and women. Many of them come from locations beyond Los Angeles and California to hear an impressive array of scholars and well-known speakers offer stimulating lectures and lead in-depth discussions about the pressing issues of the time.

This year is no different – Convention “faculty members,” or speakers who will present on a variety of topical issues concerning the Jewish world, include the following:
• Rabbi Mordechai Becher, Director, Gateways Organization;
• Rabbi Kenneth Brodkin, Congregation Kesser Israel, Portland, OR;
• Rabbi Steve Burg, NCSY International Director, OU National Director, Program Development;
• Rabbi Yisroel Ciner, Beth Jacob Congregation, Irvine, CA;
• Rabbi Yitzchok Dovid Grossman, Founder and Dean, Migdal Ohr;
• Rabbi Ari Kahn, Vice President, Migdal Ohr Institutions, Israel;
• Dr. David Luchins, Chairman, Political Science Department, Touro College; OU National Vice President;
• Rabbi Bini Maryles, OU National Director, Pepa and Rabbi Joseph Karasick Department of Synagogue Services;
• Rabbi Jonathan Rosenberg, Shaarey Zedek Congregation, Valley Village, CA;
• Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, Yeshiva University, OU Halachic Decisor;
• Rabbi Dr. Moshe Sokol, Dean and Professor, Lander College for Men, Touro College;
• Rabbi Daniel Sperber, Professor, Talmudic Research, Bar-Ilan University; Rabbi, Congregation Menachem Zion, Old City, Israel;
• Nathan Diament, Director of the OU’s Institute of Public Affairs; and
• Howie Beigelman, OU Deputy Director of Public Policy.

Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, OU West Coast Director, declared, “We in Los Angeles feel a very special connection to the land of Israel and to its people, as evidenced by the connections that we have to institutions and organizations and the fact that nearly 100 percent of all our post-high school graduates spend at least one or two years learning in Eretz Yisrael. The Convention committee felt it would be appropriate, in the spirit of this year’s celebration of Israel’s 60th anniversary, to dedicate the Convention theme to that.”

Rabbi Kalinsky emphasized the Convention speakers who are coming from Israel, such as Rabbis Grossman, Sperber, and Kahn, as well as a delegation of OU leaders and staff members who will be coming to Los Angeles shortly after the OU Biennial Convention in Israel. They will be giving a full and in-depth report of all that took place at the National Convention in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Kalinsky continued, “This year promises to be a wonderful event. Our program includes speakers at OU Greater LA synagogues over Shabbat; a melave malkah for sponsors and for our Young Leadership; three critical sessions on Sunday morning that will touch upon the U.S.-Israel relationship; and a Legal Conference. We welcome the participation of Stephen J. Savitsky, the National President, and Rabbi Steven Weil, OU Executive Vice President-Designate, who will hold an OU Shul Presidents Summit in a special session on Sunday morning with OU synagogue presidents.”

Akiva and Rachel Greenfield, last year’s Young Leadership Chairs, will serve as this year’s Convention Chairs. Rabbinic Chairs are Rabbis Ari Leubitz, Uri Pilichowski, Jason Weiner, and Chaim Williams. Jennifer and Elliot Samson, OU West Coast staff members, will serve as Young Leadership Chairs.

To register for the Convention at $25 per person, send a check to Orthodox Union – West Coast Torah Convention, 9831 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035. Additional prices include Friday night dinner and tisch with Rabbi Grossman at $35 per adult and $18 per child up to 12 years; Saturday night melava malka and forum, $18 per person; and legal conference with MCLE credits, $50 per person. For more information about the Convention, contact westcoast@ou.org or 310-229-9000.