Oorah Scholarships Provide Lifeline to Help Students Move from Public Schools to Jewish Schools

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The financial meltdown of 2008 and the recession that followed was challenging for many parents who had been considering moving their children from public schools to Jewish day schools.  The financial uncertainty made families afraid to take on an added tuition burden.

Bob and Shelley Greenberg* were among those forced to confront those issues for their three children, who had been happily attending Jewish schools before the financial crisis. Unfortunately, Bob’s employer closed as a result of the recession, and the family had to relocate to a small city in the Midwest, where Bob found a new job.

“There was a real issue with the quality of the schools,” says Bob.  “We ended up sending our kids to public school.

The younger two were okay with public school, according to their father, although they didn’t love it.  But when Racheli, the oldest was ready for high school, the Greenbergs had to make some hard choices.

That was the line in the sand for us,” Bob recalls.  “We really couldn’t send her to a public school for high school.”  Bob and Shelly sent Racheli back East to live with family members, but it didn’t solve their problem.  “We just felt that a girl needs to be with her parents, so it was not a long term option, but Jewish education was that important to us.”

The couple engaged in extensive belt-tightening and prayed devoutly to find a solution for their family. And, as Racheli entered her sophomore year at a Jewish high school, they returned to the east coast, rejoined their oldest daughter and enrolled the two younger children in Jewish day schools.

“My kids are thrilled,” says Bob.  “They are going to schools with both great Jewish programs and great secular programs.  They have grown so much in their connection to Judaism.”

A key factor in finding this happy solution was the financial assistance provided by Oorah.

Oorah was our spiritual lifeline,” says Bob. “Without the scholarships Oorah provided, this would be a moot discussion. My kids would have had to attend public schools.”

Oorah provides Jewish day school scholarships and Jewish high school scholarships for families that want to move their children from public schools to Jewish day schools. Bob acknowledges that some people feel uncomfortable applying for financial assistance, but he says Oorah handled the application process with great sensitivity.

Racheli has graduated high school and has moved on to the next level —  a woman’s seminary in Israel.  “We are thrilled every day with the way she is growing in Yiddishkeit,” says her proud father.

Bob advises other Jewish parents in his position – wanting to move their kids out of public schools and into Jewish day schools and Jewish high schools but worry about the financial cost —  to contact Oorah and apply for tuition assistance.

“Oorah enabled my kids to go to summer camp in a proper environment. It enabled them to go to yeshiva.  I can’t imagine a better way for people in challenging situations than to turn to Oorah. I have a tremendous amount of gratitude,” Bob concludes.

*The names of the family members and certain details have been changed to protect the family’s privacy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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
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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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My Rosh Hashana Inspiration

Just a few days ago, we were all sitting in shul, experiencing a hopefully inspiring davening on Rosh Hashana. I was lucky enough to spend an amazing Yom Tov at TheZone. The days were spent davening in TheZone’s gorgeous shul, The Great Synagogue, as it’s called. It’s a beautiful room, with high ceilings and a stunning aron kodesh featuring animals of pirkei avos and stained glass windows.

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But more beautiful than the décor were the people who filled the shul. The room was crammed with people from all over, with diverse backgrounds, some more affiliated, and some less so. The tefillos were slow, a real authentic davening. The chazzan sang throughout, with enthusiastic humming and singing from the crowds.

I sat next to a woman, Mrs. W. This was her first time in TheZone, and she had never sat through the long Rosh Hashana davening. Until now, that is. Though she didn’t understand what the chazzan was saying, she diligently followed along, turning the pages as we progressed in the machzor, despite the fact that she didn’t yet learn how to read Hebrew. Even those who are familiar with the davening find the tefillos long on Rosh Hashana; it’s even more a challenge for those who have never experienced it before. That’s what made my experience even more inspiring. She sat through the entire tefilla through the tekiyos of mussaf!

More than what I gained from the tefillos I davened was what I learned from Oorah’s guests. There’s just one thing I wish Oorah would do differently- that the Rosh Hashana inspiration would continue with a Yom Kippur event at TheZone!