Nehora: Lighting Up Tel Aviv

Rabbi Amichai Ayal went from teaching Torah in a pub to teaching in the heart of secular Israel. And the crowd is thirsty for Torah...

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Judy Simon,

Rabbi Amichai Ayal
Rabbi Amichai Ayal
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Rabbi Amichai Ayal grew up in the northern city of Haifa, a place of great diversity. He tells, "I was born in a city where everybody, religious, secular, traditional, rabbis, and someone who doesn't know Torah, everyone respects each other." Rabbi Amichai adds, "In the building we lived in, there was every kind of Jew, and we all loved each other."

Rabbi Amichai took this lesson into every aspect of his adult life as well.

For ten years, while working as a teacher in a yeshiva high school, Rabbi Amichai kept a secret from almost everybody. Once a week, he frequented a kosher pub in Jerusalem. What did he do there? He taught and learned Torah. While some patrons kept their distance, others were magnetized.

After a decade of secretly teaching Torah to a secular public, Rabbi Amichai joined a team of rabbis who taught Torah in Ramat Gan (near Tel Aviv) to Jews who were becoming closer to Jewish observance. The comprehensive project is called Nehora, meaning "light."

"You can't fight darkness with sticks," he explains. "The only way to get rid of darkness is by adding light."

Nehora includes a men's yeshiva, a women's seminary, a collegiate center, and a soldier's lounge, among other things.

"I believe that when you begin to learn Torah, you have to bring with you everything you already are, and the values and talents that you already have," Rabbi Amichai stresses. "In Nehora, everybody is accepted the way they are. You don't have to change; you take your talents with you. And the Torah you learn shines on those talents, making everything about you more genuine, more real."

Now the CEO of the Nehora organization, Rabbi Amichai has drawn in students from all walks of life, including a rather famous Israeli musician, Eviatar Banai. "He is so humble.He's a really nice person," the rabbi says of the star.

Rabbi Amichai asks that anyone who wants to be a part of this great process of Jews returning to their heritage, of G-d's process, as he calls it, to pray for its success. You can also go onto the Nehora website (http://www.nehora.org.il/) if you are interested in donating to any of the projects.

"It is already happening," he says. "I believe this process is getting stronger and stronger. It is time to become a part of it!"

Tune in to meet a man who is helping shape the future of the Jewish people, by loving and accepting each person as he is, and thereby bringing the Jewish People closer to becoming who we were meant to be.








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