Friday, July 22, 2011

A Word from the Director: 7/22/2011

We had some very important visitors this week at Aish Tamid. Rabbi Ben Shushan from Yeshivat Ruach Hayim in Yerushalayim came to see our program and interview some boys. We are always happy to facilitate such meetings as we not only send the boys to learn in yeshiva, but we then stay connected and check on their progress while they are there. We then offer opportunities for them to maintain and continue their growth when they return. Even at this “late hour,” there are still many boys deciding to go to learn in Eretz Yisrael for a year.

Thursday night we were honored to have the Roshei Yeshiva of the Mesivta of Long Beach, New York visit the Drop-In Center and offer divrei bracha and chizuk to our staff. After taking care to ensure that their attire wasn’t too intimidating, they then came upstairs to meet some of the boys. The Roshei Yeshiva were impressed by what they saw and encouraged us to continue in our Avodas Hakodesh.

Last night we were also very grateful to have our dear friend R’ Yaakov Rosenblatt come learn with a group of boys and be mechazek them. He has a special way of connecting with the boys and speaking to them in a very practical way. We look forward to having his visits become a regular part of our night program.

In last week’s newsletter we mentioned our pride in building a sense of community between the Aish Tamid boys themselves. There were further examples of this recently that I think bear mentioning. In one case, a boy who had experienced and overcome a certain challenge encouraged his friend to enter a program and actually facilitated the boy’s acceptance into that program. The feeling of “areivus” - responsibility to care for a peer - was impressive to witness and heartwarming for all involved. There is no greater nachas than seeing a kid that has succeeded, now in “helping mode” and giving back to younger boy in a similar situation.

In a second incident, a crisis arose involving a teenager who was rushed to the emergency room. A former Aish Tamid boy who was present at the scene felt secure enough to call me in the middle of the night to come down to the hospital and help navigate a very difficult situation. As I spent the night with them I realized that the relationship that had been built over years, and the trust that ensued, was the critical factor in these kids having someone to turn to in a time of need. This is one of our main goals at Aish Tamid - to build solid relationships with teenagers and young adults so that they know that we are the address for help, if and when crisis hits, no matter what time of day or night it happens to be.

Have a good Shabbos,

Rabbi Gavriel Hershoff

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