If you ask people, “What does Oorah do?” they will most likely answer that Oorah does kiruv. But Oorah likes to say that they don’t do kiruv, they facilitate kiruv. Oorah’s volunteers do kiruv.
Working in the field of kiruv day in and day out, it is easy to become immune to the beauty of the kiruv that is being accomplished. It isn’t only in the major steps of growth that one is often witness to: a family’s commitment to keeping Shabbos, a boy’s bar mitzvah or a siyum. The beauty can be discerned in the small marks of progress too: a changed attitude towards Orthodoxy or an awareness of halachos, even if they can’t yet be kept.
Sometimes we fail to appreciate the beauty inherent in the simple act of exposing unaffiliated Jews to frum ones, opening their eyes to the world of authentic Torah Yiddishkeit. I recently came across an old voicemail message that I’d heard before but which struck me this time with a new and deeper appreciation.
Last winter, a staff member of TheZone Boys Division hosted a Shabbaton for a group of campers in Lakewood. It was a fun reunion and an uplifting Shabbos. On Motzoei Shabbos, the counselors took the guys to Bais Medrash Govoah, the world-renowned center of Torah learning for thousands of bochurim and yungeleit, for a tour of the yeshiva.
Standing in the cavernous dining room, one boy looked around at the huge, very impressive room. The counselors overheard him saying to himself, “One day, I’ll be here.” He wasn’t the type of kid you would have expected to hear that from. But if he does end up in BMG in a few years, he won’t be the first Oorah boy to have made it there.”