May 29, 2024
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May 29, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The Secret of How a Half Shekel Coin Can Inspire an Entire Nation

More than 500 Jews, most strangers to one another, hailing from every imaginable background possible and from every corner of the globe: Chassidishe couples, Reform women, the daughter of a terrorist victim, a born again Hollywood director, a few frum therapists, the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, some standard FFBs and BTs, a mentalist and The Maccabeats enjoyed a Shabbat together, filled to the brim with inspiring lectures, incredible entertainment and non-stop gourmet food, in exotic Stamford, Connecticut at the recent Partners in Torah Weekend Retreat.

Partners in Torah collects dossiers on anyone who would like to participate–to date they have made over 60,000 successful ‘matches’–and then, based on each person’s individual preferences, matches them up with their perfect learning partner. You like to yak on the phone in your pjs at 2:00 AM? No problem. Always wanted to know what’s up with the six inch high mink hats? Got it covered. Ever wondered what ‘their type’ is really like and why they all dress in black? (It’s because they’re scared of color). Wish you could feel that amazing inspiration again that you had in Sem? Whether you’re a foodie, techie, stay at home mom, regular balebusta or eclectic listener (whatever that is) Partners in Torah has a match for you. They have been successfully making matches–some of them even famously so, such as the dynamic friendship which developed between Hollywood actress Mayim Bialik and her partner in Torah, Jew in the City’s, Allison Joseph’s, for over 10 years now. As Harry Rothenberg (of Harry’s Blog fame) so aptly put it: “Whether you are the mentor or the student, the amazing thing is that you end up gaining more than you give.”

Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau spoke about the importance of recognizing that each Jew, no matter how important he is, is merely a half person. The proof for this is the fact that every single Jew, no matter how wealthy or destitute, was commanded each year to bring a half shekel contribution to the Temple for the national census. To quote the Alshich in the name of Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz: “Why a half Shekel? To instill within us the importance of achdus. Only when we connect with fellow Yidden are we one; relatively speaking, we are all only a half.

By Orli Katz

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