“See the Success. Envision the Futue.” Missouri Torah Institute Gears Up for a New Kind of Virtual Experience

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Streaming Live- Sunday June 7th 8:00PM Central/ 9:00 PM Eastern

Click here to participate in the dinner LIVE at www.missouritorah.org/live

By Aliza Agress

When the yeshiva in Saint Louis cancelled the hotel they had booked for their annual dinner, they transformed their disappointment into an opportunity. For a yeshiva with talmidim from around the country, “a virtual dinner would allow supporters, alumni, parents, and grandparents to be able to participate, even though in past years they weren’t able to,” says Rabbi Dovid Fromowitz, Rosh Yeshiva.

At a virtual dinner, the “dinner” part is usually one of the first things to go—but not this one. Dedicated staff and committee members are working tirelessly with a number of caterers outside of Saint Louis to deliver a selection of sushi, meats, and wines directly to sponsors’ and donors’ homes for them to enjoy while participating in the program. In this way, the yeshiva can demonstrate its hakaras hatov to those who are supporting them, especially during this difficult time. “We thought this would be a unique way of engaging the audience on a national level and enabling them to participate in the yeshiva’s success,” says Rabbi Josh Bregman, Director of Development. “Logistically, it’s definitely complicated, but well worth the effort to be able to include as many people as possible, wherever they are.”

Rabbi Shmuel Wasser, Rosh Yeshiva, felt that expanding the potential invitation list could help showcase the yeshiva to a broader audience. “The dinner is a place where you can really feel what the yeshiva’s about—the warmth, the unity, the excitement about learning—and for us to be able to share that beyond those who are able to be physically present at a dinner is something that’s a great opportunity, almost like a ‘live newsletter.’”

Since the yeshiva’s dinner is the basis for the support that keeps the yeshiva running year-round, the dinner team has invested great effort to ensure a successful and exciting virtual event. Dinner attendees will enjoy an hour of engaging and interactive programming. The evening will feature a number of special video presentations, a siyum, and a live trivia game. It will pay tribute to honorees Michael and Carol Staenberg. The Staenbergs are pillars of generosity and vision in the St. Louis community and beyond. They have been at the forefront of supporting Jewish causes with their own giving and by inspiring others to give as well. Staunch supporters of Jewish education, they were involved with the yeshiva’s move to its new campus in 2015, and recently dedicated the Staenberg Family Gym.

Streaming Live- Sunday June 7th 8:00PM Central/ 9:00 PM Eastern

Click here to participate in the dinner LIVE at www.missouritorah.org/live

“The rebbeim and teachers are actually working harder than before, and our students are really committed to learning and keeping the yeshiva going, albeit from afar,” says Rabbi Fromowitz. From their homes, the boys maintain a jam-packed schedule of learning over Zoom, plus extracurricular activities. Many of the boys are even using their free time to participate in one of the yeshiva’s newly launched programs called “Runnergize,”’ in which they keep themselves healthy and active by training for a mini-marathon.

This year’s dinner’s tagline, “See the Success, Envision the Future,” has a double meaning: not only do talmidim and hanhala look forward to a time when the situation will improve and our lives will return to normal, but they see success during the current unprecedented challenges. The muscles that the talmidim are building as they strive to learn during these difficult times will enable them to succeed when they can finally return to yeshiva, fortified with new discipline, perseverance, and a renewed appreciation for being back at their beloved MTI.

This unique dinner will take place on Sunday evening, June 7th at 8:00 PM Central/ 9:00 PM Eastern

 

Click here to participate in the dinner LIVE at www.missouritorah.org/live