In 1974, the landscape of kiruv and Jewish outreach changed forever. Rav Noach Weinberg zt”l founded Aish HaTorah, the renowned yeshivah and international organization dedicated to Jewish education for Jews of all stripes. Aish HaTorah strives to ignite a passion within Jews to discover their heritage and instill pride in their faith. The yeshivah is headquartered in the heart of the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, directly overlooking the Kosel HaMaaravi. Its rooftop view is the best in the city. It offers a spectacular view of the Temple Mount and Har HaZeisim (Mount of Olives) that is unparalleled by any other vantage point in the city. Many young men and women have gazed out from this scenic spot over the years and felt the stir of inspiration that eventually would lead them down the path to observant Judaism.

Rabbi Alexander (Sender) Linchner z”l, the Founder of Boys Town Jerusalem, was born and raised in the United States right after the turn of the 20th century. He was one of the few American bachurim to study at the great yeshivos of Eastern Europe before the Holocaust. During the course of his studies at the yeshivah at Radin, Poland, he came under the direct, personal influence of the holy Chofetz Chaim, Rav Yisroel Meir Kagan zt”l; and for the rest of his life, he always considered the Chofetz Chaim as his personal mentor. He returned to the United States before the outbreak of World War II, where he became principal at Yeshivah Torah Vodaath, in Brooklyn, New York, working under the guiding hand of his father-in-law, Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz zt”l, who was also the founder of Torah Umesorah, the National Society for Hebrew Day Schools. He and his son-in-law trained and inspired a generation of Jewish educators who founded Jewish day schools in many American Jewish communities, forming the backbone of Jewish education in this country.

The yeshivah system of Eastern Europe in the first half of the 20th century suffered great hardship during the economic crises in Europe and the Great Depression of the 1930s in the United States. As institutions with no independent source of income, the pre-war yeshivos were dependent on donations from Jews all over Europe, the United States, and from more distant communities within the Russian empire. Even this source of support diminished as a result of the political, economic, and social changes that took place after the First World War. A number of yeshivos opened offices in the US and established networks of m’shulachim (emissaries) there and in other countries, and these were able to bring in some additional financial support. Nonetheless, despite these various sources of income, the budgets of the yeshivos were always in deficit.

A shadar is a sh’lucha d’rabbanan – a rabbinic emissary, who is sent by the rabbanim of poor communities to raise much needed funds on their behalf. One of the most famous emissaries, as well as one of the greatest Sephardic sages of his time, was the holy Chida, Chacham Chaim Yosef David Azulai zt”l. He was born and raised in Jerusalem, but spent more than 50 years of his life traveling abroad on various missions. In 1753 (5413), at the age of 29, he traveled to Europe as an emissary of the communities of Eretz Yisrael, and again in 1772 on behalf of the city of Chevron. Each trip lasted in excess of five years. He completed his second trip in Livorno, Italy, where he remained for the rest of his life.

Many Israelis travel to India after they complete their military service. In the army, these young men and women have to undergo intense training and abide by strict codes of discipline. India provides a mellow antithesis to such a regimen, and beckons to travelers in many ways. Liora and her brother Ayal were two such tourists who took off for India. They traveled together from one tourist attraction to the next, then split up to follow separate trails. Ayal stumbled upon Arachim’s Bayit HaYehudi hostel in India where he enjoyed the hospitality and listened to some fascinating lectures. Drawn to the extensive library, he discovered new concepts that changed his life completely. He eventually opted for a life of Torah and mitzvos.

The story of Operation Brothers is about the rescue of thousands of Jews who were whisked out of enemy lands and brought to the Holy Land. It was one of the finest rescue operations in Israel’s history. It dates back to 1977 with the election of Prime Minister Menachem Begin. Reports came into Israel that Ethiopian Jews were fleeing the civil war and famine in their homeland, many heading to neighboring Sudan where they were being housed in refugee camps.