Oorahthon’s Inspiring Moments

Oorah’s auction is always one of the most anticipated Oorah events of the year, with thousands of people taking part from all over the world. The Oorahthon, which takes place the night of the auction, is the highlight of the entire auction, as not only are the winners announced, but there is fun, entertaining and exciting programming, all lasting until the early hours of the morning. This programming gives a special peek into Oorah, as viewers are able to meet the dedicated staff, volunteers, and hear inspiring stories of those a part of the Oorah family. What viewers would not hear, are the fascinating stories of the some of the auction winners, which we only learn about after the auction is over. Here, we have detailed a few of the stories, so you can become just as inspired as we were!

  • The winner of the $4000 discover card had actually bought the ticket for someone else. While anyone who wins such a prize would be ecstatic, this winner was over the moon, and not because she would be using the money herself, but because she would be giving it away to her friend! Her friend, who has four children and is expecting her fifth, is having a very difficult time caring for her family. Unfortunately, her husband has been wrongly accused of a crime and is sitting in jail, unable to be there and provide for his family. The winner of the prize entered the auction, having in mind that if she won, she would give the life changing prize to her friend. And now, thanks to Hashem’s intervention, she is able to!
  • The “Go for The Gold” winner, has won an ounce of gold per family member. With 14 children, this lucky family has won 16 ounces of gold! Not only that, but the winner informed us that the family has recently took upon themselves to bench with sincere kavanah. She is convinced that they won this amazing prize in that zechus!
  • The “Mega Bucks” winner has won 100 times his donation. With every ticket being $5, this means that just by buying one ticket, he could have won $500! Wanting to donate generously regardless if he won or not, he gave $1000, knowing he was giving money to a great cause. Unbelievable, this lucky man won the prize, and now is the proud winner of $50,000!! You never know where your tzedakah will lead you!
  • During the Oorahthon, our lines momentarily went down due an electrical current zapping our equipment. With thousands of viewers and callers depending on us, we knew we had to get the equipment up and running right away. Needing a specific piece of phone equipment to bring our studio guests back on air, everyone was frantically in search of the part needed. Unbelievably, one person who “happened” to be at Oorah, watching the Oorahthon, had the replacement part in the car! He told us that he had the part available only because a friend had requested to borrow it a few days later. Because he didn’t want to forget to give it to his friend, he had placed it in his car days early. Thanks to his quick thinking and Hashem’s plans, we were able to get the Oorahton hotline up and running in no time!

Shaimos Alert: Shem Hashem in Oorah Purim Book

Please be aware that shaimos was mistakenly included in the Oorah Auction Purim book. You may have received the book already or will be receiving it shortly.
The sefer torah picture on page 6 included pesukim and the shem Hashem. PLEASE DO NOT THROW IT OUT!

You can tear out the page or just the picture in the corner and put it in your sheimos box. You can also drop mail it to:
Oorah

1805 Swarthmore Ave
Lakewood NJ, 08701

We’d appreciate your publicizing this information to others it may be relevant to. We apologize for the mistake and for any inconvenience.

Rabbi Chaim Reichman
Director of TorahMates

The Power of a 7th Grade Class

If you’re an avid reader of this blog, you’ll know about Yeshiva Mevakshei Hashem’s write-a-thon. The seventh grade class campaigned to raise money for Oorah through writing and fundraising to their friends and relatives.

We’ve recently received an email following up on the campaign. This group of seventh graders raised an outstanding amount of…. $2,290.10! The students will be dedicating an item  for one of Oorah’s programs.

They’ve also created an exhibit to feature the various Oorah programs. We love TheZone 🙂

Quite an impressive feat!

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Rebuilding the Bais Hamikdash

In honor of asara b’teves, here’s a letter from Yeshiva Darchei Chaim. While we can’t say we restored more than the model version, anyone who is working on growing closer to Hashem will have a part in rebuilding the Bais Hamikdash, may it come speedily in our days. 

Dear friends,

Our Bais HaMikdash was destroyed. Through the chesed of Oorah, the premiere organization of kiruv, our Bais HaMikdash was restored.

In 5K, this is literal. Our Bais hamikdash model was an important part of our study of mishnayos Yuma and the avodas hamikdash. The boys are getting a hands-on familiarity of bayis sheini, mostly from the model we were working with, as we follow the cohein gadol and his performance of avodas yom kippur.

Unfortunately, our model became damaged and unusable. After contacting my dear friend, R’ Eliyohu Mintz, Oorah’s indefatigable CEO, ‎it didn’t take too long till Oorah came through with a beautiful, new bais hamikdash. The new bayis was greeted by the kinderlach with much excitement and fanfare. We look forward to resuming our work and continuing to develop a meaningful  kesher with our bayis, bez”h.

‎In a very real sense, Oorah is truly rebuilding the bais hamikdash, by returning and guiding entire families, here and abroad, to torah and mitzvos. Thousands of children attend jewish schools and regularly participate in exciting programs, led by dedicated volunteers – all thanks to Oorah’s tireless efforts.

Thank you Rabbi Mintz and thank you Oorah, for restoring our Bais HaMikdash.

Rabbi Yisroel Kleinman
Class 5K, Yeshiva Darchei Torah
yeshiva darchei torah

Oorah’s Boys ShabbaZone Brings Warmth to a Chilly Shabbos Chanukah

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By Tamar Farajian

Almost two hundred boys from across the U.S. gathered at Oorah’s camp, TheZone, for a heartwarming and inspirational Shabbos Chanukah. Despite the near freezing weather and blankets of snow covering the grounds, the boys, who were returning campers as well as those who have never attended TheZone, were greeted by the warmth of friendly staff and inviting accommodations. “Shabbazone is the once a year opportunity during the winter months to give returning and potential campers a taste of TheZone and the experience of an entire Shabbos,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Weinstein, director of kiruv development. “Dozens of bochrim [who are mentors to the boys] gave up their off Shabbos, which could have been spent with their families, in order to give inspiration to the boys.”

The ruach of excitement, love, and achdus, as personified by the bochrim, was felt throughout the entire Shabbos. Starting off with a Chanukah candle lighting ceremony with hundreds of menorahs lighting up the vast dining room, each mentor helped the boys recite the bracha and light their own menorah, this being the first time performing the inspiring mitzvah for many. This same ruach was exemplified by Rabbi Chaim Mintz, founder of Oorah, as he greeted each child, wishing them a good Shabbos. Special guest, Lakewood mayor Menashe Miller gave divrei chizuk to the boys throughout Shabbos, helping them gain confidence in their continued spiritual growth.

One of the highlights of the entire weekend, besides for the dreidel tournament, snowboarding, laser tag, and hover-boarding, was the Friday night TorahMates learning session. With the walls of the fully packed bais medrash reverberating with the sweet sounds of Torah study, every boy was excited to be able to learn with their TorahMates and mentors, continuing their growth from the summer months. Rabbi Chaim Reichman, camp learning director, understood the importance of the shabbaton to the campers: “TheZone is not just a camp; it is all about keeping up throughout the year with TorahMates and ChillZone. This Shabbos was an opportunity for our staff and campers to reunite in a geshmake, torahdik, fun, and ruach filled way, which keeps those connections strong and fresh.”

The boys had another opportunity to reconnect with their ChillZone groups after Shabbos, with each city’s ChillZone learning together in the shul. Program director, Dovid Miller, explained the beauty of hundreds of boys learning together. “One of the most beautiful sites you’ll ever see is a national ChillZone which can rival and beat any avos ubanim. A packed bais medrash with hundreds of campers learning, yeshiva bochrim with kids who can’t read aleph bais, kids who have wild hairdos with yeshiva guys with flying payos…it is a true Kiddush Hashem.”

Indeed, the Kiddush Hashem was felt by every one of the staff, as they were enthused by each kiruv boy’s sincerity and love of learning. Dovid Miller shared one such moment of inspiration. “Some may think that to connect and reach a teen could be very hard because they are older and more involved in the world. Let me tell you, behind all the fluff and “macho”-ness even the toughest kid with the craziest haircut is craving a real relationship…someone who really cares…a little warmth…a true interest…a good TorahMate.

I saw a kid who came in with a really negative attitude and wouldn’t even talk to me. After Shabbos when everyone was dancing together in the ballroom, I asked him if he had a good time. He just gave me a smile and a nod. That to me was worth more than 1000 words. I knew we had reached him.”

The effects ChillZone, TorahMates, TheZone, and this special ShabbaZone has on each child is not always easy to see, but is certainly felt by each staff member. As the mentors know, a single word of kindness or show of friendship goes a long way toward helping the boys continue their spiritual growth, as demonstrated by Oorah’s Chanukah ShabbaZone.

From Our Archives

Oorah regularly receives countless letters from grateful parents and children regarding any one of our various programs such as TorahMates, holiday events, TheZone, and ChillZone. We recently have been sifting through our archives and came across one such letter, that is more than a few years old, whose essence still holds true to this day. The sweet letter made us not only smile, but truly happy to be able to have such a sincere effect on a child. For this letter, all we do is worth it. 

Here is a short excerpt:

Dear ChillZone head,

I am living in Atlanta and there is no ChillZone here. I really miss going to ChillZone. I miss the learning, dancing, the prizes, and all the smiling faces and the happiness in the air. It feels like you are soaring through the air. Whenever someone brings up a topic that can connect to ChillZone in any way it brings my neshama to tears to remember the happiness and joy before we moved to Atlanta.

ChillZone is a place where you can laugh, sing, play, see smiles on everyone’s faces, see old friends, rejoice, and much more. It would mean a lot to me and my neshama for you to make a ChillZone in Atlanta!

This precious message from a young girl who missed the ChillZone atmosphere after moving to Atlanta, has had such a deeply moving effect on everyone in the Oorah office. Thankfully, we have opened up a ChillZone in her new hometown since then, and this girl has been able to continue her love and growth in Torah together with all of her friends. 

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From Our Mailbox

From Fiveish fan mail to event feedback, Oorah often receives interesting letters in the mail.  But we’ve never received a manilla envelope like the one we did last week.

The envelope was stuffed with handwritten notes composed by the seventh grade students of Yeshivas Mevakshai Hashem. These students are in the midst of a Write-a-thon, a project where students choose an organization and fund-raise for them. The seventh grade class choose Oorah as their favorite organization!

Here are just a few of the beautiful letters we received:

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