“Do you want to go to China?” That is what my colleague at OU Kosher asked me two months before an important ingredients show in which the Orthodox Union participates annually. China, well how could I say no! Having traveled there last summer for vacation, I knew from experience just how long and tiring a trip it was, but I was on an organized tour then and everything was taken care of for us as a group. This would be different. I would be traveling by myself and meeting my colleagues who handle the Southeast Asia region for OU Kosher in Shanghai.
A major new Orthodox Union initiative, OU Press, will make the teachings and commentaries of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik z”l, the Rav, available in beautifully bound and printed editions of Judaism’s classic books. The general editor of the series is Rabbi Menachem Genack, a talmid (student and disciple) of the Rav at Yeshiva University. Rabbi Genack, CEO of the OU Kashrut Division, is co-editor with Rabbi Hershel Schachter of YU of Mesorah, a journal based on the teachings of Rabbi Soloveitchik, and Shiurei HaRav, volumes based on the Rav’s lectures at YU as interpreted through the notes taken by his students.
Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb will be scholar-in-residence as Congregation Kneseth Israel, the White Shul in Far Rockaway, observes Yom Ha’Atzmaut Shabbos, Parshat Emor, May 9-10, corresponding to the Fifth of Iyar, in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the State of Israel.
Lag B’Omer is traditionally a time for bonfires, but this year, the Young Leadership Cabinet (YLC) of the Orthodox Union is making water the theme of the day. YLC is sponsoring a cruise benefitting Yachad, OU’s program for people with disabilities, Thursday, May 22, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., sailing from Skyport Marina, 23rd Street and East River.
To heighten the emotion and meaning of the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel, the Orthodox Union has sent an impressive variety of materials to its member synagogues across North America for use on the OU’s National Israel @ 60 Shabbat, May 9-10, the Fifth of Iyar, on which the Torah portion Emor is read. Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, is celebrated this year on the Third of Iyar, Wednesday evening and Thursday, May 7-8.
When critical illness strikes within the Jewish community, who can best advise on the course of action families should take? Is it the physician, rabbi, or family members themselves? To address this issue, the OU’s Department of Community Services, in conjunction with the Bikur Cholim of Raritan Valley, will present a communal symposium, free of charge, on the topic When Serious Illness Strikes and Decisions Have to be Made: Who Decides – the Patient, the Physician, the Rabbi, the Family? A Practical Guide for Orthodox Families. The event will be held Sunday, May 18, 8:00-10:00 p.m., at Ohr Torah Congregation, 48 Edgemont Road, Edison.
In recognition of the importance to Jewish travelers of knowing where they can obtain access to a mikveh (“ritual bath”) across North America, the Orthodox Union’s Pepa and Rabbi Joseph Karasick Department of Synagogue Services has just published a revised and expanded edition for 5678/2008 of the Orthodox Union’s Mikveh Directory. The guide is available free of charge.
At the time of year when elite colleges are informing applicants whether they have been accepted for admission in the fall, OU Kosher is beginning the application process for its own elite education program, Harry H. Beren ASKOU9, to be held when the incoming freshmen will be setting out for their new campuses.
The Orthodox Union, which is dedicated to strengthening Jewish families, will present its third annual Marriage Enrichment Retreat, to help couples build a life together within the context of Torah and halacha (Jewish law). It will be held at the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa, Kerhonkson, NY, Friday to Sunday, July 11-13.
In recognition that the eight students tragically slain at the Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav were immersed in the religious Zionist philosophies of the yeshiva’s founder, Rav Abraham Isaac HaKohen Kook zt”l, and to provide an ongoing memorial tribute to them, OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb is providing a weekly lesson from the writings of Rav Kook on www.ou.org and www.ouradio.org.