Among the most popular and effective aspects of an Agudah convention are the concurrent sessions that enable participants to come together in smaller, more informal settings where they can thoroughly examine critical issues of the day and share ideas regarding how best to address them.In many ways, observes Mr. Aron Tessler, who is serving as this year’s convention chairman, these sessions typify what a convention, and indeed the Agudah movement itself, is about.
“Baruch Hashem, as a klal we have much to be proud of, including the myriad tzedaka and chesed organizations that provide important and vital services to the community. What sets the Agudah apart, however, is that it is both an incubator and a facilitator of ideas.”
In fact, he points out, many tzedaka and chesed organizations were originally conceived at Agudath Israel of America conventions. Shuvu, the Vaad Li’hatzolas Nidchei Yisroel. Operation Open Curtain, Ichud Mosdos Hachinuch of Brooklyn, Project YES, the Emergency Parnassah Initiative… The list is a long and impressive one.
This year’s convention – the organization’s 87th – will take place Thursday through Sunday, November 26-29 at the East Brunswick Hilton in East Brunswick, New Jersey. The conventions theme is “Areivim Zeh Lozeh: Dealing Decisively – And Jewishly — with the Challenges We Face”
Among the issues that will be discussed at the Thursday afternoon concurrent sessions – which, like all the other weekday sessions, are open to the public, free of charge – are the persistent and ever-growing dangers posed by the internet and other electronic media (“Tangled Up in the Web: Real Problems, Real Solutions”); the search for new and innovative ways to help singles find their mates (“Thinking Outside the Shidduch Box: New Approaches to an Old Problem”); and the imperative to preserve the memories – and the lessons-of the Holocaust for our children (Seventy Years Later: The Need to Keep Churban Europe Before the Eyes of Our Young”).
On Friday morning, four concurrent roundtable discussions will deal with such topics as identifying and addressing “pre-risk” distress in our children (“Denying ‘At-Risk’ a Foothold: The Importance of Prevention and Early Intervention” ); finding ways to insulate ourselves from the moral darkness of the world while striving to be a light unto the nations (“Standing Up to the ‘New Normal’: Contemporary Culture’s Assault on Torah Values” ); maintaining a strong and enduring connection to Torah study growth – even after we leave the walls of the yeshiva (” Beyond the Beis Medrash: Ensuring That When the Yeshiva is Left, It’s Not Left Behind”); and exercising our communal responsibility to ease the physical and emotional pain of those still suffering from the economic downturn (“Arvus in Action: Our Communal Responsibility Victims of the Economic Collapse”).
Says Mr. Tessler: “When Yidden gather at a knessia l’shem Shomayim – and resolve not only to confront the problems we face but to take constructive steps to alleviate them, Hakodosh Boruch Hu provides the wherewithal for success.”