The Project Inspire Convention held this past weekend at the prestigious Armon Hotel & Conference in Stamford, Connecticut, was in true form inspiring. Project Inspire believes in creating a movement of unity and mutual inspiration by sharing the beauty and wisdom of our common heritage and the gift of the Torah with our fellow Jews by creating one friendship at a time.

At the 1997 Agudah convention, Rabbi Moshe Sherer announced the formation of Am Echad, with the intention to present Israeli leadership with a unified voice from American Orthodox Jewry and counter the propaganda of the Reform and Conservative movements. The rabbi soon led a mission with the theme of geirus. Rabbi Pesach Lerner, then executive vice president of the National Council of Young Israel, was the mission’s co-chairman. Rabbi Lerner has remained an active member and today is the Chairman of the Eretz HaKodesh party in the World Zionist Organization.

P’eylim Lev L’Achim has a longstanding relationship with the Queens community in their mission of bringing the families of Israel closer to Torah. As the largest kiruv organization in Eretz Yisrael, their work on saving the next generation of klal Yisrael is known worldwide. Their last Kew Gardens Hills fundraiser, at the home of Dr. Elie and Golda Fried, was held just as COVID was beginning to take shape in the last week of February 2020. At that event, Rav Aharon Walkin z”l took the podium for one of his final public appearances. The momentum from that evening held Queens strong during the past two years until we gathered again this past Wednesday evening, February 16, for an event that will long be remembered.

Torah took the mound at Citi Field in Flushing this past Sunday as the Orthodox Union (OU) fielded a team of 29 internationally renowned scholars who led classes on a wide array of 31 subjects for around 2,500 participants at its third annual Torah New York event. The classes ranged from more traditional approaches on how to spiritually prepare for the Jewish High Holidays to more modern issues like repentance in a time of social media and the effects artificial intelligence will have on Shabbos observance in the future. Moishe Bane, President of the OU, noted how encouraging it is to see the enormous numbers of the community eager to engage in Torah study in preparation for the Jewish New Year. “It is so exciting to observe the eagerness of our community to connect to Torah study and to a deeper understanding of their relationship to G-d,” he said. “In these days immediately before the High Holidays, I cannot imagine a more profound message to G-d of our eagerness to connect.”