One of the biggest problems with modern Jewish education is how
compartmentalized it is. Across different subjects, kids go from Gemara to
Chumash to Navi, viewing each class as disparate material, not perceiving
any greater unifying theme or moral. Across an individual class, kids take a
test after they finish each unit, then package away the material in a box to be
shipped off to the post office of memory that pretty much dies at the same
rate as the actual USPS. Information is coming at students from all different
angles, and without any overarching principle, Judaism becomes a jumble of irrelevant data
points, more like a Quentin Tarantino movie than a cohesive religion.
Orayta does not adopt this model. In fact, it pretty obviously noticed the problem, and handpicked
a staff that could fix it. We have rabbis from all across the spectrum--talmudists, rationalists,
Kabbalists, Zionists, just about every 'ist' Orthodox Judaism has to offer. But every shir is not an
isolated lecture whose lessons are to be abandoned to their respective classrooms; the
information all builds on itself in the vertical sense, and connects with information from other
shiurim in the horizontal sense. Just this past week I had open a Chumash, Ramban's
commentary, Rabbi Desler's Michtav Me'Eliyahu, and Rabbi Soloveitchik's Halakhic Man all at
once--each recommended to me by a different Orayta rabbi--and found myself rapidly glancing
from one to the other as I noticed striking similarities in the ideologies of each.
Orayta has constructed a model of Judaism that is cohesive, applicable, and real--an image of a
religion whose principles are consistent and true, whose shape is clearly defined and allencompassing.
This notion of Judaism has pervaded my everyday thinking and comforted me with
the awareness of a grander, more principled lifestyle.
Gavi hails from Skokie, Illinois, attended Ida Crown Jewish Academy, and plans on attending