Photos by G lenn Triest
Larry Garon and Gary Schiffman enter the yeshiva.
most comfortable level of commitment
Working with some of the wealthiest
Jewish businessmen in suburban Detroit
will possibly help the yeshiva's ongoing
fund-raising efforts. But the commitment
the rabbis and their students have far
transcends any financial obligations, accor-
ding to Rabbi Krohner.
Rabbi Krohner tells of phone calls
sometimes three a day in which he and his
students discuss everything and anything
on their minds.
In a year and a half, the learning pro-
grams for the businessmen have increased
from just two people to the over 50 the
yeshiva now works with. The numbers in-
creased largely through referrals and word
"We've tailored our program to fill a
need," Rabbi Krohner said. "We speak at
a challenging level to convey our ideas.
We're not teaching these men, who are all
successful in their own lives, a history bas-
ed on geophysics. The Torah is a teaching
of moral values. What we found was that
the more we taught to these sharp, suc-
cessful men, the more they wanted to know,
and then more kept coming back."
Rabbi Krohner said it is interesting for
everyone concerned at the yeshiva to watch
the businessmen's adjustment. For many of
them, it was like a step back in time. The
businessmen, who were used to arguing
and making deals via FAX machines, car
phones, power lunches and secretaries, saw
young men learning one on one, arguing
points of Talmud in a study hall filled
with sacred texts. The
students did this all day,
not just once a week.
Rabbi Krohner said that
many of these business-
men never stopped to look
beyond the covers of the ho-
ly books they saw through
their lives. Also, many of
the images they had about
the Torah were largely
through stories learned as
Rabbi Avraham Jacobo-
vitz, whose Machon
L'Torah also does outreach
to the non-religious corn-
munity, said that "organizations work to of-
fer just enough of a taste of Judaism to
motivate the adult to want to learn more.
"I strongly believe that after the initial
exposure to the information, if done proper-
ly, the people will want to take the next
step themselves," he said.
Mr. Garon said he was always proud of be-
ing Jewish. He said he would defend the
faith to the death. But with all that pride,
he never paid enough attention to the
Torah and never considered it the moral
guide he does now
"When I started coming to the yeshiva,
it was almost like that Ford commercial
with the light bulb going off over my head:'
he said. "I became fascinated by it all,
possessed by it. I feel for the past 34 years,
I've been denied. I wish I could go through
Hebrew school again and not waste the
time I've wasted. Yeshiva Gedolah is fill-
ing this deep void in a lot of us. I don't con-
sider myself a religious person, but I will
admit that this has taken a hold of me."
Mr. Garon said he has drastically
changed his way of looking at religion. At
one point in his life, he said he couldn't
make sense of any belief in God. He felt
God was created by man to answer his most
perplexing questions. Bible stories, he said,
were no more than fairy tales.
"There's something in me that's driving
me to my heritage," he said.
The yeshiva classes have also made life
different for Mr. Garon in relation to his
other Jpwish friends, many of whom, he
Neil Satovsky and Gary Schiffman go over a point of discussion
with Rabbi Greenfield.
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS