The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 3 February 2007 / 15 Shevat 5767

A Blessing by an Actor

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library
Shehakol niheya bidvaro.”

A resounding "Amen" came from the audience as Ira from Toronto completed that blessing over a glass of water as his opening gesture.He then went on to inform his listeners that only two weeks ago he wasn’t even aware that such a blessing existed.

Ira was one of the seventy young men from North America and England who recently spent two and a half weeks in Israel learning and touring as part of the Jewish Learning Experience (JLE) Program of Yeshivat Ohr Somayach.The JLE brings hundreds of such Jewish youngsters each year during the summer and winter college breaks.Those who participated in the last two programs were given that special treat of studying with businessmen and professionals from North America who came on a Mentors’ Mission to teach and interact with these newcomers to Torah life.

What seemed like a dramatic trick by Ira at the reception given by the JLE and the Ohr Somayach staff for these mentors came naturally to this professional man of theater who incidentally bumped into a fellow Torontonian who was a famous juvenile actor and is now a family man studying in Ohr Somayach.

Ira brought along his photographic equipment and asked permission from the Rosh Hayeshiva to film one of the classes he gave.He later explained to one of the JLE staff members that, while he greatly enjoyed the content of the class, he was most interested in recording for himself the almost theatrical methodology of the rabbi in organizing and delivering his lecture.Watching Ira with his glass of water, his blessing and his ensuing story of how he found his way to Ohr Somayach in Jerusalem made the Rosh Hayeshiva feel that he too had learned something about how to reach people.

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