Video: Chanukah 5771 With Oorah


oorah-chanukah[Video below.] When December rolls in, people take extra time with family. It’s no different at Oorah-only the family is much BIGGER. “Our kiruv families don’t have the comfort of extended frum families,” explains Rabbi Moishe Lichtenstein, Oorah’s Kiruv Director. “So Oorah’s role increases during Jewish holidays.”

One highlight of winter outreach is an annual Chanukah concert. This year, nearly 1300 Yiddin attended the event on the 2nd night of Chanukah at the Millennium Theatre in Brighton Beach. The concert featured the talents of Yehuda Green, Shloime Dachs and Benny Amar with music by the Shloime Dachs Orchestra. Rabbi Elchanan Schwarz emceed the event, introducing Daniel Silverstein, a BoyZone camper who lit the menorah. Then HaRav Chaim Mintz, Oorah’s founder and spiritual leader, offered words of chizuk before the musicians took the stage. For many attendees, it was their first Chanukah party. Irene Goldfarb, who attended with her family, commented, “Wonderful is not the right word. It lifted my spirit – it was magical.”

A lot of round-the-clock work goes into an event like this. The free concert required the coordination of Oorah’s staff and many volunteers, but everyone felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment when it was over. “While the concert was entertaining, our team understood that this was a kiruv event,” explains Rabbi Lichtenstein. “We’re here to deepen our connection with these families. It’s all about making, maintaining and strengthening the connections-theirs and ours.”

Many of the concert’s attendees are regulars at TorahSpot, Oorah’s study center on Staten Island. Launched two years ago, TorahSpot sees people attend shiurim with Rabbi Mintz, as well as other programs including Little Star Daycare. Beloved by residents for his warmth and personal attention to local families, Rabbi Mintz has worked with countless members of the Staten Island community for over 35 years. With TorahSpot’s two-year anniversary falling on Chanukah, it was only appropriate to hold a huge party on the 7th night. Over 100 locals watched as a child lit the menorah and then Oorah’s staff created an impromptu band. Watching the event, it was clear that TorahSpot had become an important fixture in the lives of many previously unaffiliated Staten Islanders.

Oorah also reunited more than 500 people at TheZone camp in Jefferson, NY. For Shabbos Chanukah, campers from all over the country were joined by Oorah staff and volunteers. Boys enjoyed a variety of activities until the sun began to set and dancing gave way to the lighting of menorahs. But it was the motzei Shabbos programming that was most impressive. Separate Avos ubonim programs came together in one room for a learning session scheduled for 45 minutes. “But the learning lasted two hours,” said Rabbi Lichtenstein. “It was the highlight of Shabbos, seeing people who didn’t grow up observant now deeply in love with learning.”

Click below to watch:

{Noam Newscenter}


  1. This was such an inspiring video. You guys are doing excellent work. I just switched to Cucumber phone service and i am saving about $20 a month