“Ohr at the Shore”

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As the needs of the Sephardic community on the Jersey Shore have grown, the Ohr Halacha institute has expanded its range of services, devotedly fulfilling its mission statement: “To learn, to teach; to observe, and to practice.”  

The institute began around eight years ago as a semichah (rabbinical training) program under the guidance of Rabbi Eliezer Harari, shelita, and other senior rabbis. The goal was to prepare promising young Sephardic scholars for a career in rabbinic leadership, through intensive study and an assortment of instructional methods. The ambitious curriculum covers large portions of Shulhan Aruch, with the students learning each topic in the original Talmudic sources, through the commentaries, to the practical application of the halachah as codified in the Shulhan Aruch and discussed by later scholars. The students are given challenging tests, and receive training in homiletics and public speaking with Rabbi Yaakov Franco. Ohr Halacha graduates have been giving classes in Deal, Lakewood, Brooklyn, and elsewhere. The successful semichah program continues to be the nucleus of, and driving force behind, all of Ohr Halacha’s services.  

Besides preparing the next generation of rabbinic leaders, Ohr Torah set out to directly serve the community by meeting a wide variety of needs through a vast network of programs operating under the name “Ohr at the Shore.”  

Sofer Center  

Staff:   

Rabbi Mordechai Nahem, shelita – founding sofer 

Rabbi Hayim Asher Arking 

Rabbi Victor Kohen 

Rabbi Shlomo Teherani 

Rabbi Shaul Laniado 

The Sofer Center, located in Deal, was founded over thirty years ago by Rabbi Mordechai Nahem, shelita, to grant community members access to top-quality tefillin and mezuzot at affordable subsidized rates.  Under the tutelage of Rabbi Nahem, and then Ohr Halacha, the center has trained a team of talented, expert sofrim who are available to serve the community in all matters relevant to tefillin, mezuzot and Sifreh Torah. Boys preparing for their bar-mitzvah are invited to the center to watch their tefillin as it is put together, an experience which leaves them inspired and makes a deep impression that remains with them throughout their lives. The center is currently training additional sofrim in order to expand its services further. 

Shaatnez Center 

Staff: 

Rabbi Moses Hidary  

Rabbi Hayim Asher Arking 

Rabbi Victor Kohen 

Rabbi Menashe Kuinov 

The Shaatnez Center, also located in Deal, consists of a team of shaatnez examiners who have mastered a 60-hour course in which they studied all the intricacies of fabrics, and the methods for identifying possible shaatnez (forbidden combination of wool and linen in garments). The center runs not as a business, but rather as a community service to enable all to easily observe this mitzvah. Recently, a community member called to schedule a time to bring items to be checked, and the shaatnez examiner asked him to specify what kind of garments they were. He was then able to determine that these items do not require checking, as they can be presumed shaatnez-free. The caller thus did not need to pay a fee. Ohr Halacha rabbis are also available to teach individuals or schools about the prohibition of shaatnez and its practical implications.  

Ask the Rabbi  

Staff: 

Rabbi Yaakov Meir Baruchov 

Rabbi Binyamin Seruya 

Rabbi Yaniv Azoelos 

Ohr Halacha’s “Ask the Rabbi” team fields a broad range of halachic questions from community members, helping them to live a proper observant lifestyle in accordance with our ancient traditions. Many of these questions require extensive knowledge and thorough halachic training, which Ohr Halacha’s students have received from the Kollel’s intensive academic program.  

Berit Mila and Pidyon Haben  

Ohr Halacha’s Rabbi Hayim Arking has been servicing the Deal community as a mohel for ten years. Additionally, the institute has produced clearly-written English booklets explaining berit milah – including the Zohar (the special reading on the night before a berit) – and pidyon haben, enabling participants of all backgrounds to understand, appreciate and follow along with the ceremonies.  

JSOR and Home Kosher  

Jersey Shore Orthodox Rabbinate is the prominent kashrut organization serving the Deal area and beyond. Ohr Halacha trains its students in the field of practical kashrut, preparing them for the roles of kashrut administrators and mashgihim (supervisors), and to answer intricate kashrut-related questions. The institute sees kashrut as representing the interface between the modern world and the ancient wisdom of halachah, and it is committed to rising to this challenge and ensuring that strict halachic standards are maintained in our industrialized society. 

Torah Learning Classes and Havrutot 

It is essential for every individual to have a havruta (learning partner) with whom to study Torah, and Torah classes to attend that are suitable for his level and background, so that he continues to grow and develop. Ohr Halacha has therefore arranged a large network of classes and learning programs serving the community. Anyone who would like a havruta or a class any time of the day or evening, weekdays or weekends, is invited to reach out to Ohr Halacha (contact information provided below). 

Publications  

FAQ Editorial Board 

Rabbi Binyamin Seruya 

Rabbi Yaakov Meir Baruchov 

Rabbi Ezra Ghodsi 

Rabbi Moshe Yagen 

 

Ohr Halacha has produced numerous publications, including FAQ booklets on a variety of topics, such as the holidays; Zohar and Hanukat Habayit books with explanation; Ketuba in Halacha; Musarei HaTorah; and a book on prayer. The institute invites anyone who is interested in obtaining these valuable texts to reach out for more information.   

To learn more about Ohr of the Shore’s wide range of services, please call 732-359-3080. A menu will be presented to lead you to the specific service you are looking for.

 L’ilui nishmat Linda Bat Estrella Arking, a”h