Saturday, Jul 20, 2024

Oorah Nachas Files-Oorah’s Chanukah Concert

There is something powerful about seeing 2,000 people excited about the same thing, and when that same thing is Yiddishkeit, it's even more moving. At the Oorah concert on the first night of Chanukah, Rabbi Chaim Mintz, founder of the Oorah kiruv organization, asked the audience to rise, place their hands over their eyes, and say Shema Yisroel. When everybody did that, I thought back to Rav Eliezer Silver. After the Holocaust, he searched convents for hidden Jewish children and discovered them by their reaction to his recitation of Shema. Rabbi Mintz, an unapologetic proud-to-be-a-Torah-Jew who truly loves all Yidden, I realized, is continuing Rav Silver's mission - bringing lost souls back to Torah. The concert to me was an expression of his love and why Oorah is successful. It's a rare melding of uncompromised Yiddishkeit combined with reaching down to bring up those not yet observant to see the beauty of our lifestyle.

It’s hard not to get caught up in an event where most of the audience is clapping and singing along and when energized bochurim are shlepping kids out to dance on stage or in the aisles. But at least part of the exuberance was due to the main attractions of the evening: Avraham Fried and Yitzy Bald’s New York Boys Choir. Avraham Fried has this way of transporting even the most cynical listener to a higher spiritual plane and the upbeat, contemporary tunes of the NYBC was an exquisite balance, accompanied by the Shloimy Dachs Orchestra.

 

Singing 1-877 Kars for Kidsbeyachad” was, shall I say, inspirational? No? Well, at least it was fun! Not to mention the appearance of Fiveish. I never stand up and follow orders from anybody on stage, but that Wednesday night, I found myself with my kids doing “The Fiveish.” Personally, I think Fiveish even rivals Rabbi Mintz in his kiruvrechakim” efforts.

 

At the end of the evening, I asked my children, ages 7 to 14, what they enjoyed most. One said, “The speech by Mrs. Adar [program director of TheZone Girls Division].” Another said, “Avraham Fried.” A third said, “The NYBC,” and another, “When the little preschoolers from the Little Star Preschool in Staten Island came on stage to perform.”

And I say, if there’s an event that can please a second grader through a tenth grader, it must be extraordinary!

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