OTS Newsletter - Fall 2006
Ohr Torah Stone Around the World
The ADOLPH AND ETHEL BEREN EDUCATORS INSTITUTE and
the JOSEPH STRAUS RABBINICAL SEMINARY train skilled teachers and
spiritual leaders to make a real difference in communities throughout the
world. Capable of engaging Jews of all backgrounds and levels of commitment,
these OTS graduates are inspiring and energizing communities around the
world with the message of openness, tolerance and unity.
One of the talented educators who completed the
Adolph and Ethel Beren Educators Institute branch of the Amiel
Program (Beren-Amiel) this year, Rabbi Aharon Carmel is en route to
another institution supported by the philanthropic Beren family: the
Robert E. Beren Academy, a Jewish day school in Houston, Texas with
more than 300 students. There, the Haifa native, who has held
positions as a teacher and principal in Israel, will teach Judaic
studies and Hebrew to students from elementary grades through high
school. Rabbi Carmel’s wife, Emunah, who also received special
training in the program, will teach in the school as well.
Pictured: Rabbi Carmel (second from left) and
Rabbi Eliyahu Birnbaum, director of the Beren-Amiel and Straus-Amiel
programs, with other students.
Opening a kindergarten for Jewish children is the
latest achievement of Rabbi Eliyahu Azaria, now entering his third year
as rabbi, teacher, shochet and chazzan for some 150 Jewish families in
the Manila – most of whom live there for business or military reasons.
“The synagogue is now building a room for the kindergarten,” says
the rabbi, adding that the synagogue engages older children with
appealing after-school and Sunday classes in Hebrew and Jewish studies.
The graduate of the Joseph Straus Rabbinical Seminary’s Amiel Program
(Straus-Amiel) also reports that he recently conducted the first Jewish
wedding in the Philippines in 15 years for an American serviceman
stationed in Japan and a Filipino woman who converted to Judaism in
Pictured: Rabbi Azaria officiates at a bar mitzvah for the son of an
Israeli family living in Manila.
preparing for rabbinic ordination as he studies for an M.A. in political
science and Jewish history, French-born Yeroham Simsovic, who moved to
Israel in 1982, will soon relocate to a very different academic setting:
Oxford University in England. “More than 500 students are signed up for
Jewish activities there,” says the graduate of the Straus Seminary’s
George Weinstein Semicha-University Program, who will oversee informal
learning programs, counsel students on religious issues, participate in
interfaith dialogues, organize outreach programs with Jewish and Israeli
content and – together with his wife, Hadas – host students for Shabbat
and holiday meals in their home.
The annual conference of OTS-trained teachers and
spiritual leaders in Jerusalem brought together 285 alumni of the Adolph
and Ethel Beren Educators Institute and the Joseph Straus Rabbinical
Seminary who are serving communities around the world. The July event,
sponsored for the third year in a row by Gloria and Harvey Kaylie, was
held under the banner of “On Our Own – and Together.” Featuring
three days of panel discussions, lectures, informal meetings, networking
and brainstorming, the conference opened with a ceremony marking the
graduation of educators and rabbis who are heading out to Diaspora
locations as diverse as Hong Kong and Houston, London and Lima, Boca
Raton and Buenos Aires, Sweden and San Diego.
Pictured: Israeli Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar addresses
Rabbi Shlomo Katz celebrated two milestones in July:
receiving his rabbinic ordination from the Joseph Straus Rabbinical
Seminary’s David Falk Kollel, and the release of his first solo album,
“Vehakohanim.” Katz, who fuses his enormous musical talent with a
deep love of his Jewish heritage, is world-renowned for engaging and
Pictured: Rabbi Shlomo Katz with his parents,
Avshalom and Sharon Katz, and Rabbi Shlomo Riskin.
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