Reports from the field, 6/03/2010

The Yeshiva Hakedosha

A Shabbos with Guest

This Shabbos we hosted a group of boys from Cholon, who came to experience the atmosphere and get a glimpse of the yeshiva from up close. The bachurim in the yeshiva greeted them very nicely, and it seems that the impression they got made a strong positive impact on them.

 

A Day of Fun

On Thursday, as a reward for the tremendous shteigging of the boys on Shavuos night, we took them out for a day of entertainment; a trip to the swimming pool, pizza and more.

 

Beyond serving as a learning prize, it also allowed them to cool off and let loose a bit, to show them that “˜also the religious people know how to have fun’, and that it’s possible and permissible to enjoy this world, all within the appropriate yeshiva framework.

 

Guest from Kfar Yona

In addition to our Cholon guests, we also were fortunate in having four boys from Kfar Yona, who also came to see what a yeshiva is all about.

The Yeshiva L’Zeirim

Shavuos!

As mentioned, the bachurim “˜forced’ us to keep the yeshiva open for Shavuos, something which we did not plan. It would be superfluous to try and describe the learning experience that came from the initiative of the boys themselves. The shteigging all night was uplifting, the atmosphere was excellent, and the good memories of Shavuos will accompany us and the boys for a long time.

Attention in the yeshivos

Remaining in the Yeshiva Hakedosha

This week we have successfully saved a boy who was thinking of leaving the yeshiva.

A boy named Orel Yechiel, who previously learned in a school in Kfar Saba, who thanks to the tremendous efforts of the local activist of “˜Project Toronto’, was persuaded to attend the yeshiva hakedosha “˜Or Gaon’.

After the initial adjustment period, while all his peers were adapting to their new lifestyles, we noticed that Orel Yechiel who grew up in a traditional home, was not adapting to yeshiva life, unlike his friends who came from similar backgrounds. They were adjusting well and were happy, except for Orel Yechiel who was lacking the motivation to put in the effort.

We conducted a short follow-up on him, which revealed to us that he planned on switching to Bnei Akiva at the end of the year. We did not panic and immediately sat down to discuss his motives which led him to this decision. From his words we understood that he gave up on the yeshiva, primarily because of the learning burden. As the conversation continued we found out that there is another reason for his decision to leave the yeshiva: he is not cut out for the “˜double life’ as he put it, referring to the extreme contrast between the rigorous lifestyle of learning, verses the permissive lifestyle he was used to from the traditional home he is coming from.

Finally we reached the inner truth: he does not want to give up on the bagrut. If he were to remain in the yeshiva, and suddenly in the middle of next year he would decide to leave, he wouldn’t be able to complete the bagrut, however if he were to leave this year, he can still pass the tests.

After many lengthy talks, we were b’h able to talk him out of it. His concern about leading a “˜double life’ which he has to juggle, we rebuffed by saying that on the contrary; that his conduct in the yeshiva would positively affect his behavior at home as well, and who knows how he would act at home on vacation and such if he were not learning with us. Additionally, we said, reality shows that sooner or later the behavior of a child ultimately affects the home, the parents and the entire family.

His concern about the learning burden, was also put down, when we explained to him that the bagrut tests are also rigorous and difficult if not even more so, and we promised to ease his studies in the yeshiva. In regards to the bagrut which he did not want to give up on if and when he decides to leave the yeshiva, we assured him that we would help him with get the bagrut even if he were to decide to leave the following year”¦ something which cannot be done. The boy agreed to let go of his Bnei Akiva plan, and to continue on in the yeshiva, and we are now following him closely and supporting him to help him fit in and succeed.

It is important to note that although we usually put special emphasis not to make empty promises to the boys, out of fear that it will be uncovered and we’ll lose the boys trust thereby losing all which we’ve gained, in this case we allowed ourselves to promise that we’ll “˜arrange a bagrut for him’ if and when he decides the following year to leave the yeshiva, only because no harm can come out of this deception. Because if the boy decides to continue learning in the yeshiva, then what could be better, and he’s not ever likely to find out that we “˜deceived him’, and even if he does decide to leave the following year to complete his bagrut, we will tell him the truth “” that it cannot be done, and then one of two things can happen: either he’ll have no other option but to continue learning in the yeshiva, or at worst he’ll decide to leave the yeshiva, not because of the bagrut, but at least we had him spend this year learning in the yeshiva.

Battei Chizuk

The soldier wants to convert”¦

After a period in which a boy from Kiryat Gat, who was serving in the army was with us, we were surprised to find out one day that his mother was not Jewish”¦ We explained to him that he is exempt of all mitzvos and there is no point in his continuing to come, but the soldier insisted that he wanted to be a Jew and to convert”¦ Of course, we brought the matter to the Gedolim to decide how to handle the situation

 

New in Kiryat Malachi

As part of the expansion of our program, last week we spread out to Kiryat Malachi, where we opened a bait chizuk for the local youth, and b’h we’ve seen siyata dishmaya, boys are coming for chizuk, and some of them even decided to cancel their recruitment in order to attend yeshiva.

Meanwhile, in the bait chizuk in Kiryat Gat we added to the current morning and afternoon learning, a dailyTefillas Shacharis including Fridays.

The Barbershop brings people to be chozer b’teshuva”¦

The means of returning are vast and amazing, and one can never know who will bring out the desire in a Jew to return. This week we discovered a novel means, a barber, a religious boy who is I’h getting married this week, speaks to the hearts of his customers, influencing and urging them to attend yeshiva.

. .

Project Toronto

Activities  for Girls

Part of the vast activities of Project Toronto, focuses on eighth grade girls in schools, to have them continue on to good high schools.

Last week we held a special moving gathering, with thirty-five girls from seven schools, whose common denominator was that they were all difficult students who require tremendous persuasion to continue their learning for the coming year.

The amazing gathering which was accompanied by a well known singer, was held in the Breslav hall decorated with colorful balloons, and a personal gift with her name on it distributed to each girl individually.

The girls enjoyed a night full of entertainment, during which awards and prizes were presented to them for proper behavior from now until next year; in derech eretz, manners, politeness and modesty.

Our hopes are that the impressions of the evening and the many activities of the night, will prove to the girls that also they can integrate into ninth grade like all their friends.

Strengthening Youth

From two months of computer games “” to the yeshiva

Last week we received a call from a secular home, on the line was the mother of a fifteen year old boy which she claimed was sitting at home for over two months doing nothing besides for surfing on line, and she was asking of us to take him into the yeshiva”¦

 

The procedure in such cases is as follows; first we make a home visit to see what’s going on and if they have serious intentions, and only then can things move forward.

 

Although normally we conduct a home visit when the boy himself is the one who wants to go to yeshiva, and the parents are the ones refusing, at the pleadings of the mother’s cry, we could not refuse and set up a home visit.

 

As expected, the mother greeted us in the living room while the child was in his room on the computer, and he did not heed his mother’s request to join us or at least to come say hello. I began to explain to the mother that the desire has to come from the boy himself and if does not want, then there is nothing for us to do. But the mother thought of an idea, and asked us to disguise ourselves as Rabbis who came to check the mezuzah, which will bring us to the boy’s room where we’ll check the mezuzah and we could then start up a conversation with him. We took to the idea.

 

It worked a little. The boy said a brief hello and nothing more, but one question I asked him managed to catch his attention and draw him into conversation, forming a chemistry between us. Despite this however, when I left the house, I didn’t feel like I accomplished anything and told the mother, “When the boy will want, I am ready.”

 

Sunday morning to my surprise I get a phone call from the boy himself, telling me that he is interested in coming to yeshiva for half a day”¦

 

In short, I learned from this story, something which we constantly see in our field, time and time again, that we cannot give up under any circumstance, even when it seems like we don’t stand a chance, we have no idea what can suddenly happen, from the most unexpected places. We can only hope and pray, and merit to see yeshuos.