Monday, August 17, 2009

The Pendulum of Teshuvah: Thoughts on Ledavid Hashem Ori

By Rabbi Reuven Spolter
Director of Recruiting and Special Projects

As Rosh Chodesh Elul rolls around, we add two things to the daily tefillah: the blasts of the Shofar and the recitation of Ledovid Hashem Ori - the twenty-seventh chapter of Tehillim. It's easy to understand why we blow the Shofar. It serves as a warning call that Rosh Hashanah quickly approaches.
But Ledovid Hashem always left me wondering: what does it have to do with Teshuvah? Why do we recite this specific chapter around the time of repentance?
Yet, when we take a careful look at David's powerful words, we find that it speaks not only about Teshuvah, but about the human condition. If we read his words with care and sensitivity, they can help us prepare ourselves for the coming Days of Awe.

Click here to download the shiur.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Bat Zion Graduate in Time Magazine

As the "territories" in Yehudah v'Shomron garner ever-increasing attention due to U.S. President Obama's insistence that all building come to a halt (God forbid), the residents who live in these areas have become increasingly visible in the American media.
Mimi (Geller) Katz, a Bat Zion student (who later attended the teachers college and even worked as an Eim Bayit at Orot) who currently resides in Beit El, appeared in a spread in Time Magazine that featured some of the residents living in different areas of the "occupied" territories.
First and foremost, we are proud of Mimi and her connection to Eretz Yisrael and Am Yisrael. But we must also highlight stories like those of the Katz family, who wish nothing more than to live quiet and peaceful lives in the Land granted to us by Hashem.
As any Orot student knows, the Orot Israel College in Elkana was built on the "wrong" side of the green line, and intentionally so. Orot emphasizes the powerful connection of Am Yisrael to her Land, and the simple act of coming to school and studying in Elkana reinforces that connection each and every day.
So send this story to your friends. Let them know about Mimi, her extended family and normal lives they lead - regardless of what the media promotes. However you do it, each and every one of us must support the thousands of Jews whose lives articulate the dream of inhabiting, settling and building Eretz Yisrael.

Rav Chwat Sings Al Hamichyah

Several years ago, Rav Ari Chwat composed a wonderful version of Al Hamichyah to help children learn the words of the brachah and make it easier for them to remember. You may remember Rav Chwat singing this and many other songs during his chug shira at Orot.

For the catchy tune you can click here to see it on YouTube, or click below to listen to the song.