Tuesday, Sep 19, 2023

Oorah Nachas Files- A Tale of Two Cities

Few people have as broad a view of the scope of Oorah's work as Rabbi Avraham Krawiec, camp director of Oorah's TheZone camps. This powerhouse of a man oversees two thriving summer camps, including their respective teen divisions and Discover U, TheZone's summer program for post-high school young men and women. He runs several year-round programs and events each year, including Learn n' ChillZone and Yomim Tovim at TheZone. And yet…

Rabbi Krawiec and his family recently took a trip to Eretz Yisrael to celebrate his son’s bar mitzvah. It was a family trip and a family celebration, and Rabbi Krawiec was careful not to let it turn into a business trip. Hard as it may have been to resist (and it was certainly a first for him since joining Oorah!), he scheduled no Oorah-related meetings and made no special effort to find the Oorah students learning in Eretz Yisroel. And yet…


Everywhere Rabbi Krawiec went, he bumped into someone with a connection to Oorah: Oorah volunteers, TheZone and Discover U alumni, and boys and girls Oorah sent to learn in Eretz Yisroel. As Rabbi Krawiec put it, “Sometimes we have to take off our Oorah hats to see the sheer numbers of people we influence.”


On Motzoei Shabbos, Rabbi Krawiec took his son to learn at the boys Learn n’ ChillZone at a yeshiva in Yerushalayim. “When you walk into the building,” Rabbi Krawiec described, “you’re greeted by a strong kol Torah. I sat and learned with my son hopefully as geshmak as the Discover U staff and boys who come week after week.”


Walking on Ben Yehuda after leaving the yeshiva, Rabbi Krawiec was struck by the contrast. Coming from the sacred atmosphere of fiery give-and-take in Torah, Ben Yehuda was the polar opposite: a frenzied atmosphere of empty activity, trying desperately to fill the void of meaning.


“It dawned on me that none of our kids are there,” he said. “It was odd, as I saw our kids all over the place this week. It then hit me: While most yeshiva kids like ours who attend TheZone as campers are spending their time on Ben Yehuda, our kids aren’t there. They are at Learn n’ ChillZone.”


Because that’s what an Oorah guy does on a Motzoei Shabbos. Just one difference that Oorah makes in their lives.



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