Toldos Yeshurun -- Lev Lashovim(c) Copyright 2004 Yated Neeman.Bnei Brak Used with permission.
There are many organizations for all different groups in the Torah world. This organization's holy work, however, is not yet a common sight. It is the first program in the world for new immigrants from the C.I.S in which secular immigrants learn the first perek in maseches Kiddushin with respected Russian avreichim.
A number of avreichim who are close to Rav Yitzchok Zilber (about whom we plan a more extensive article soon) thought of the idea when he seemed almost on his deathbed about a half a year ago. They took it upon themselves to open a mokom Torah for beginners who have no concept of Yiddishkeit where they are mekarev them to mitzvos with the Torah itself. The avreichim relate with astonishment that as soon as they decided to found this organization, Rav Zilber's medical situation rapidly improved and he left the hospital in full health and vigor. Hashem should continue to grant him health and strength.
The organization's founders and activists, Rav Ben Tzion Zilber, rosh kollel Be'er Yitzchok, Reb Avraham Cohen and Reb Yehuda Leib Avreich, relate: We bring only Jewish immigrants (who are carefully screened) straight from ulpan, at the beginning of their life in Israel before they are ruined by the secular, political atmosphere in the country.
There is a tremendous thirst; masses want to experience spirituality, to understand their nation's roots. There is a deep desire to learn and know everything about Yiddishkeit. We are trying to grasp the opportunity by having beginners learn Torah in our yeshiva with serious, established avreichim from the most important kollelim in the country.
The idea took root and grew. A number of branches were recently opened, additional centers to open the hearts of our brothers who have been captive in the tumah of the nations. In these places, Russian avreichim learn with secular Jews and baalei teshuva Russians thereby bringing them closer to their Father in heaven. These unique institutions, where shiurim in Torah, Yiddishkeit and halocho are given, are located or in the process of being established in Neve Yaakov, Modi'in, Beit Shemesh, Arad and Mitzpe Ramon.
Our goal is not to build pyramids nor establish one umbrella organization for all the branches. Just the opposite, we want to open more places in the same manner that new yeshivos and kollelim are established. Each place must act according to its needs and residents. The main thing is to glorify Torah and strengthen it.
The avreichim of the kollel occasionally invite the baalei teshuva to their houses for Shabbos. There are many bochurim wandering around without a suitable framework, even those who are already frum. As long as they are not learning in yeshiva on a regular basis or have not gotten married, they are in danger of being blown away by the stormy winds. Nisyonos abound even nowadays, and every supervised framework is only beneficial.
The thirst is tremendous. The women request Torah shiurim as well. It often happens that baalei teshuva get married when they at the beginning of their journey and need constant guidance on all aspects of Torah life. They usually establish homes in their thirties. Besides the Reform and the missionaries, who offer emptiness instead of ruchniyus and even dispense money to the immigrants in ulpan, there is no one who deals with this age level.
This organization, therefore, is extremely necessary. Under the guidance of gedolei haTorah and the auspices of Rav Yitzchok Zilber, who is moser nefesh for its success, it has toiled to produce soldiers for Torah. The avreichim who are affiliated with the organization encourage and help both spiritually and financially as much as they can. We must mention that the first condition for many chareidi organizations that establish homes is to learn afterwards in an established institution.
28 Shevat 5761 - Febuary 21, 2001