Wednesday, November 20, 2019

For over 22 years, Jews of little or no Torah background, and those who grew up in religious homes and attended yeshiva day schools, have found common ground sitting opposite one another at a table, or sitting, thousands of miles apart, at one end of a telephone.

Partners in Torah is an organization that has matched mentors with students and created opportunities for learning. Along the way, it has created just as many close, long-lasting friendships. (See our article on page 14.)

65,000 Jews of all stripes have connected with Judaism in a way he or she never thought possible. Partners in Torah has brought everything, from the sanctity of Shabbos to the words of our Sages, to thousands while reconnecting many Jews with the foundations of our very faith.

We watch in awe and admiration as Partners in Torah launches its Lev L’Lev, or Heart to Heart, program, which will offer partnership opportunities to those with special needs.

During times of divisiveness among people, Partners in Torah has continually brought us together around a shared experience in studying Torah. Rabbi Eli Gewirtz will be the first to tell you that it’s not about making a person more religious. It’s more about connecting with Judaism while understanding that spiritual growth is a personal decision, a process that takes time.

David Magerman, a philanthropist from Philadelphia, is so committed to Partners in Torah that he is offering a matching gift of $200,000 to the effort. “If you are a donor who cares about how his or her money is spent,” he told the Jewish Link, “Partners in Torah is a great organization to give to.”

Magerman was introduced to Partners in Torah some 15 years ago.

“Even though I grew up in a Jewish home, I had little to no knowledge of Torah or Jewish practice, but a sudden desire to learn more about my heritage. Partners in Torah made it so easy for me to start learning. They matched me up with a great learning partner, with whom I learned over the phone weekly, religiously, for seven years.”

We know how transformative it has been in the lives of many after 22 years. We look forward to the fruits of Rabbi Gewirtz’s effort, the hope that others will join in with David Magerman’s generosity, and we look forward to more stories of life-long learning and precious friendships that happen so many times when two people sit together at a table’s width, or even talk to one another across a continent. It’s so gratifying to see that people have truly become Partners in Torah.

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