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September 27, 2002 - Image 57

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-09-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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So, in addition to learning one-on-
one with people, Rabbi Meisels and
his wife, Chavie, regularly invite his
"students" to their home for Shabbat.
as his parents did. Becoming friends
adds a valuable, real-life component
to the Torah learning, he says.
Tax attorney Bess, who says he's
searched for meaning in Judaism for
decades, concurs: "Every time I spend
Shabbat with his family, I get to use
what I've learned."
Rabbi Meisels will study with any-
one who has the time and interest. In
line with the Torah prohibition
against men and women being alone
together, he learns one-on-one with
men and arranges study partners or.
classes for women.
After attending several of the
rabbi's classes, Julie Hauser, an Oak
Park mother of two, can't stop singing
his praises. "He knows as much about
Torah as he does about the human
psyche," she says, which makes the
learning "very practical."
Many rabbis who offer one-on-one
learning opportunities will request
payment for their services; some
accept it as tzedakah or a donation to
their organization. For example,
Rabbi Meisels allows students to pay
him via a tax-deductible contribution -
to Dirshu.
As a congregational leader, Young
Israel of Oak Park Rabbi Reuven
Spolter does not go to someone's
office for private learning. But he did
this in his previous rabbinical post, in
Hartford, Conn.
"There were individuals who had
become members of my shul, who
nevertheless weren't connected enough
to come often," Rabbi Spolter says. "I
made an effort to bring Torah to
them, but also to give them a sense of
connectivity to our community."
Most of the executive students are
lawyers and doctors. Their hectic
schedules allow them little or no time
to attend a regular lunch-and-learn
session, so Rabbi Meisels has learned
to be flexible. "As long as they give
me an hour's notice, I'll always
reschedule to a time that is [better]
for them," he says.
In the end, everyone wins. People
who want to gain Torah knowledge
do so, and the rabbis bring non-reli-
gious or unaffiliated Jews closer to an
observant life.
"There's no pressure, ever," says
Rabbi Meisels. "They set the sched-
ule, the curriculum. I'll guide them,
but no one's going to be forced to
do something they don't want to
do." ❑

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9/27

2002

57

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