To celebrate the 15th of Shevat, when the Rebbe called to “conquer the world with Torah”, and which JLI considers their ‘birthday’, they will be rolling out multiple new initiatives and opportunities.
By Aharon Loschak
Jews have been learning Torah ever since, well, the day they received on Har Sinai. It is the very lifeblood of our existence, as famously articulated, our “nationhood is nothing other than the Torah.” But it wasn’t until a cold winter day in 1971 that things took on a whole new dimension. On Chamisha Asar B’Shvat of that year, the Rebbe announced that it has come time to “ein’nemen di velt mit limud Hatorah!”—to conquer the world the learning Torah.
To celebrate this day that serves as the very DNA of the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute and which they consider to be their “birthday,” they are celebrating by rolling out a host of new initiatives and opportunities.
Of course, Jews have always treasured the Torah, very much so. But here the Rebbe was tasking his chassidim with something far deeper: to go out in the world and teach copious amounts of Torah to an absurdly large number of people, and thereby make the sea change the world needs to finally bring Mashiach.
After all, the Torah is G-d’s word. When studying and applying ones’ self to it, they are transforming themselves and their immediate surroundings with the stuff of greatness. As this miracle of sublimation compounds so many times over, the world is gradually dragged out of its material slumber to the rousing spiritual revolution that will be the days of Mashiach.
Ever since that bold announcement fifty years ago, shluchim the world over have been working tirelessly to realize the Rebbe’s visions. Through classes, sermons, lectures, chavrusas, and so many other creative venues, the Rebbe’s foot soldiers have put in countless time and effort to bring Torah to as wide and diverse an audience possible.
And not just shluchim, of course. For so many years, chassidim of every stripe in every situation are known to take a sefer in hand, an idea in their head, or a word on their lips, and bring the word of G-d to any willing ear, heart, and mind.
But it’s not always easy to find the right topic, or to procure the right message and tone for so varied an audience. Nor is it easy to prepare a quality lesson, a powerful sermon, or a professional course. The challenge facing so many is one of time and erudition, every individual shliach not necessarily possessing the necessary wherewithal to properly produce so much material and at such levels of quality.
It is for this reason that the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute was founded in 1998. Heeding the Rebbe’s call to truly conquer the world with Torah learning, the 65 staff members of JLI, under the auspices of Merkos and the Chairman of JLI, Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky and the JLI Executive Vaad, the JLI team works every day to produce the most advanced and meaningful material in Torah study ever. As times continue to change and attitudes always shift, the JLI never falters, always seeking out the most professional and inspirational way to bring Torah to a crowd thirsty to drink from its waters—and even to those who don’t know they they’re thirsty yet.
Their efforts do not end with content along, as the JLI accompanies every offering with an entire suite of marketing materials, multimedia, and other important details such as accreditation for professional credits and resources for collaboration with other major organizations to name a few.
All of this tremendous amount of work is fueled by one thing: the Rebbe’s call fifty years back to conquer the world with learning Torah. The day the mission statement of JLI was born. To celebrating that birthday, JLI is ramping things up and in offering—or in the process of developing—a running list of new projects. One is an Advanced Learning Department, a proram designed to bring advanced shiur-style lessons to baalebatim.
Another exciting development is a Tailor-Made Adult Education Solution Chabad Houses, a program designed to personally work with any shliach and customize a full adult education program for the entire year.
To maximize the impact of adult education in a given city, JLI is also offering their new “JLI Seminars,” a multi-sensory, standalone offering that will deliver a complete educational event to the community, accompanied with a host of tools to transform it into an event for hundreds.
Other developments include a full course to properly teach people about Mashiach. In addition to everything else, JLI is opening the floodgates of resources they have, offering a wide array of learning programs for significantly reduced pricing, along with a full lesson that explains the value and importance of learning Torah.
As Rabbi Shmuly Karp, who directs the Flagship program of JLI, said, “Instead of simply talking about how important it is to learn Torah, we wanted to actually give people something of real value to be able to continue this mivtza.”