April 14, 2024
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Shaalvim/OU ‘UveLechtecha BaDerech’ Summer Kollel Travels the East Coast

On July 25, 16 students embarked on a travelling kollel trip for three weeks. The program, called UveLechtecha BaDerech, was co-sponsored by Shaalvim and the Orthodox Union and partnered with Camp Kaylie. The group, which mostly consisted of Shaalvim alumni, traveled from Southern Florida to New Jersey and New York, and periodically stopped at various locations to deliver shiurim, daven, learn and do chesed. Stops have included Jacksonville, Florida, Charleston, South Carolina, Richmond, Virginia, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Teaneck, Bergenfield and the Five Towns.

The students, whose ages range from 19 to 22, have been travelling to various states and have participated in many learning and chesed oriented activities. Many of their stops have included chavruta time in which the students learned with members from each community. Most of the days in the trip were marked with a distinct topic of study in order to diversify the learning experience. Examples of topics ranged from analyses of the text of the Akeidah to evaluations as to the extent of divine providence. Rabbi Aryeh Leibowitz of Shaalvim supervised the program and has delivered countless shirium and led a wide array of chesed opportunities.

“We had an incredible tish until almost midnight with the community and besides the very spirited singing, there were also divrei torah,” Rabbi Leibowitz said of their Shabbat in Jacksonville, Florida. He also described that on Sunday, they had visited an assisted living facility, just one example of the places where the students have performed chesed. Further, their itinerary is filled with plans to visit other locations such as old age homes, yeshivas and congregations.

The trip has been a catalyst for both Jewish bonding and personal intellectual growth, yet Rabbi Leibowitz has made sure to facilitate recreation as well. Interspersed within the plethora of academic opportunities, the students have had opportunities to have fun as well. Programs included basketball and softball games, long hikes, scenic drives, sightseeing, barbecuing, swimming and siyumim.

It may seem puzzling that a trip such as this has taken place during some of the saddest days on the Jewish calendar. While Jews have commonly mourned and expressed sadness over the destruction of the temples, it should be known that those weeks simultaneously symbolize the notion of renewed growth. Therefore, as clearly exemplified by the trip, it is customary to increase learning and chesed during these days. After all, Tisha B’av is also the birthday of Messiah.

“The program is designed to meet other Jews, see other communities, learn together, teach, give strength and be inspired,” said Rabbi Leibowitz, who added that the program’s name, UveLechtecha BaDerech, is derived from Kriyat Shema and encapsulates the trip’s mission to learn Torah and engage in chesed on the road. It is that mission, coupled with the recreational accommodations, which constitute the significance of the program. According to Rabbi Leibowitz, these students have made a real kiddush Hashem, and have finished their yeshiva experience with an “opportunity to give back to Klal Yisrael.”

By Josh Gindi

Josh Gindi is a rising senior at Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston and is interning at The Jewish Link this summer.

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