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Next Mission: July 2-7, 2024

Toronto to Miami

Toronto to Miami

A Tale of Two Cities

What do frigid Toronto and sun-drenched Miami have in common? The Ohr Somayach Mentors Mission! This winter, college students gathered for two separate weekends of Torah study and camaraderie, coordinated by Ohr Somayach’s indefatigable Rabbi Bentzy Shechter. Regardless of the weather, both events were filled with light and warmth.

(Continued from SPARKS newsletter)

When forty-six local college students gathered for Ohr Somayach’s Toronto Mentors Mission, they were there for one thing only: the opportunity to experience a real Shabbos. There was no trip to a warmer clime, no exciting attractions. Just the spirit of Torah beckoned – but beckon it did.

The students are recruits of Rabbi Yonasan Jaffit, the only Ohr Somayach campus rabbi outside of Israel.
He attracts Toronto college students to Ohr Somayach by hosting on-campus events, and networking with Jewish students and alumni.

The Toronto Mentors Mission brought Ohr Somayach – literally – to Canada. Rabbi Yitzchok Greenblatt, world-renowned lecturer at Ohr Somayach, flew in from Israel to teach and inspire the participants, and to give them a taste of the scintillating lectures in the yeshiva.

In true Ohr Somayach fashion, the highlight of the mission was Torah study. At several sessions throughout the weekend, members of the Toronto Jewish community studied one-on-one with the college students. For some of the students, it was a first leap into the sea of Talmud. For others, it was an opportunity to reconnect, and move further in their journey towards a greater understanding of Torah and Judaism.

In true Jewish learning style, the Mentors Mission encouraged questions. At an afternoon Q&A session, the students aired their questions about Judaism – and got solid answers from Rabbi Greenblatt and Rabbi Jaffit.

“Rabbi Greenblatt gave me a feel for what it must be like to study in Ohr Somayach in Jerusalem,” said one college student.
“I was so inspired. I’m definitely considering it.”

The Ohr Somayach mission was hosted by our very own super mentors, the Kaplan and Vogel families.
From beautiful tefillos to magnificent Shabbos meals, to a fantastic musical Havdalah, every moment was special.


Ohr Somayach partnered with Yehudi, the premier outreach center in Florida, for a Mentors Mission weekend of Torah, inspiration, and great times. Tens of college students joined in what was an incredible, all-immersive Ohr Somayach experience, complete with in-depth Torah study and opportunities to experience Jewish life.

Ohr Somayach’s legendary Rabbi Yitzchok Greenblatt flew in from Israel for the weekend, and imbued the entire mission with his trademark enthusiasm, love of Torah, and ability to touch hearts.
Rabbi Yakov Kaplan, co-founder of the Mentors Mission, traveled in from Toronto.

The mission was hosted in the Yehudi hub, in the vibrant Jewish community of Miami beach. No detail was omitted.

The event kicked off with a pre-Shabbos l’chaim and sushi spread with Rabbi Shmuel Kott, and continued with a melodious kabbalas Shabbos, and a magnificent Friday night meal on Yehudi’s outdoor patio.

Apparently, the Ohr Somayach connection is hereditary. Rabbi Zecharya Fruchthandler is a veteran Ohr Somayach mentor, and the driving force behind the Miami Mentors Mission. So it’s no surprise that his daughter and son-in-law, the Rabhans, absorbed his passion. They hosted a special Friday night Oneg, where mentors and mentees delighted in the warmth and camaraderie.

Highlights throughout the weekend included a beginner’s prayer workshop that introduced college students to the beauty of tefillah, a marvelous kiddush, and of course, in true Ohr Somayach fashion, intense Torah study with members of the community – always the most powerful, enduring feature of any Mentors Mission.


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