From Russia to Bava Kama! – An Amazing Oorah story
Twenty year-old Moshe Mentchikov just celebrated a siyum in Maseches Bava Kama. He’s not your average bochur: he grew up behind the Iron Curtain in a family who knew little about Yiddishkeit. But Hashem intervened on behalf of this precious soul—by way of the kiruv organization Oorah—and rescued him from religious oblivion.
The story begins with a bochur from New York, Ephraim Eidensohn, who flew out to the Ukraine to serve as a counselor at a summer camp called Yad Yisroel where Moshe’s older brother Yaakov was a camper. Ephraim took an interest in Yaakov and corresponded with the boy once the summer was over.
Five years later, the Mentchikov family left Russia, immigrating to a town near Atlanta, Georgia. Ephraim Eidensohn was instrumental in convincing the Mentchikov family to send their children to a Jewish Day school. The Menchikov children also attended Oorah’s Jewish Summer Camp for 5 years!
Moshe ultimately ended up living with the Eidensohn’s in Lakewood, NJ and attending Darchai Torah in Far Rockaway. After graduating, Oorah stepped in again, sending Moshe to Eretz Yisroel to study in Yeshiva. But the big news in this story is Moshe’s siyum. Boys and men only dream of such a siyum for a tractate of some 100 blatt to cover. Moshe’s siyum was held in the cafeteria at Oorah in Lakewood, while Moshe was home for Pesach.
Moshe’s rebbe from high school, Rabbi Leibush Langer, came all the way from New York to Lakewood to be there as did Moshe’s rebbe from Eretz Yisroel, Rabbi Yisroel Appelbaum, who flew to Lakewood for the siyum. Also in attendance was 50 Oorah volunteers, both married and single, who came to give Moshe chizuk.
Says Rabbi Akiva Goldberger of Oorah Israel, “I was at his last siyum in Eretz Yisroel a year ago, and then I said I would see big things from him. Now he’s coming for a third year which is just incredible”. Oorah is a family for Moshe as it is for all the families with whom we get involved,” says Rabbi Goldberger. “Oorah is a full package.”
Written by Varda Epstein, writer for kars for kids
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About the Author: Menachem was previously a feature article writer for the Milwaukee Journal. He currently runs a small publishing business in Michigan focusing on books and magazines for the tourist industry. He is looking forward to writing for Jewocity and connecting with its readers. More about Menachem