The National Convention of Agudath Israel of America, which
each year attracts thousands of Jews from across the Orthodox
spectrum and around the world, will open Thursday 21 Teves,
December 26 at the Stamford Westin Hotel in Stamford,
Connecticut. This year's convention will focus on the theme
"Umimenoh Yivoshei'ah: From Adversity, Strength."
"The difficult matsav in which Klal Yisroel currently
finds itself is unquestionably a source of great anguish,"
says Agudath Israel of America executive vice president Rabbi
Shmuel Bloom. "Along with the pain, though, there must be an
awareness that Hakodosh Boruch Hu sometimes presents
us with adversity in order to give us an opportunity to make
the kinds of changes that will ultimately bring about our
salvation. This year's convention will provide a well-timed
venue for exploring the many positive, productive directions
in which our pain can be channeled."
The convention commences Thursday night with opening remarks
by Rabbi Simcha Schustal, rosh hayeshiva, Yeshiva Gedolah of
Stamford, followed by a plenary session entitled, "What in
the World is Going On? -- Searching for Meaning in the
Maelstrom." The session will feature addresses by Rabbi Chaim
Dov Keller, rosh hayeshiva, Telshe Yeshiva, Chicago; Rabbi
Shmuel Dishon, menahel, Yad Yisroel; and Rabbi Zev Leff, rav,
Moshav Matisyahu, Israel. Rabbi Yosef Viener, rav, Agudath
Israel of Flatbush, will chair the session.
Participants in the upcoming national convention will have a
truly special opportunity to be in the presence, and benefit
from the guidance of, all the members of the Moetzes Gedolei
HaTorah. Present at this year's convention, be"H, will
be Rabbi Simcha Bunim Ehrenfeld, Mattesdorfer Rov; Rabbi
Yitzchok Feigelstock, rosh hayeshiva, Yeshiva of Long Beach;
Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, rosh hayeshiva, Yeshiva of
Philadelphia; Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Levin, rosh hayeshiva,
Telshe-Chicago; Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, Novominsker Rebbe and
Rosh Agudath Israel of America; and Rabbi Aharon Schechter,
rosh hayeshiva, Yeshivas Chaim Berlin.
Several of the Moetzes members will be formally addressing
the gathering as well. On Friday night, the Novominsker Rebbe
will deliver a Kabolas Shabbos address and at Sholosh seudos
Rabbi Ehrenfeld and Rabbi Levin will deliver concurrent
Yiddish and English addresses. Rabbi Kamenetsky will deliver
greetings at the motzei Shabbos Melave Malka.
According to convention co-chairman Mr. Elly Kleinman, a
record crowd is expected at this year's gathering. "Always,
but especially in times like these, observant Jews turn to
gedolei Yisroel for guidance and direction. And that,
at the end of the day, is really what an Agudah convention is
all about -- the chance to come together with our Torah
sages, hear their understanding of current events and receive
Along with its change of date and location, this year's
Agudath Israel of America National Convention will also
feature a change in the traditional Motzei Shabbos program,
replacing the regular public Keynote Session with a Melave
Malka for convention guests.
The date of this year's convention was changed due to the
overlapping of Shabbos Chanukah with the last weekend in
November, when the convention is normally held. Agudath
Israel organized a massive Leil His'orerus with Gedolei
Yisroel at the Brooklyn Marriott hotel on Thursday, November
28, when the convention was traditionally held.
The Melave Malka will commence with greetings by Rabbi Shmuel
Kamenetsky, rosh hayeshiva, Yeshiva of Philadelphia, followed
by a message from Agudath Israel executive vice president
Rabbi Shmuel Bloom. Addresses will be delivered by Rabbi
Ephraim Wachsman, rosh hayeshiva, Mesivta Maor Yitzchok; and
Rabbi Uren Reich, rosh hayeshiva, Yeshiva of Perth Amboy. The
session will be chaired by Rabbi Shlomo Gertzulin, Agudath
Israel's vice president for finance and administration.
The evening will conclude with a "Midnight Session with the
Maggid: Coping with the Maggid" featuring Rabbi Paysach
Krohn, noted lecturer and author of The Maggid Series.
Sunday morning at the Convention will discuss our reaction to
reported violence. Has the very regularity of the violence,
Rachmono litzlan, inured us, to some degree at least,
to the anguish of our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel?
Our hearts tell us that their pain is our pain, but the way
we continue to conduct our lives may be saying something
This heart-wrenching topic will be the focus of a Sunday
morning symposium. Entitled, "Making the Pain of Klal Yisroel
in Eretz Yisroel Our Own," the session will feature addresses
by Rabbi Moshe Tuvia Lieff, rav of Congregation Beis Yisroel
in Minneapolis; Rabbi Yaakov Salomon, noted lecturer and
author; and a special guest from Eretz Yisroel.
A second Sunday symposium, "Antisemitism Today -- Old
Vinegar, New Casks," will explore the alarming rise of
antisemitism around the world. The session, the first of the
morning, will feature addresses by Reb Yosef Friedenson,
Editor, Dos Yiddishe Vort; Professor Moishe Tzvi
Reicher, Agudath Israel World Organization's Director of
International Affairs and United Nations Representative; and
Rabbi Nosson Scherman, General Editor, Mesorah