The Arachim seminar, first devised over 35 years ago, has brought about an unprecedented wave of teshuvah, first on the local Israeli scene, and today, worldwide. America, the Far East, South Africa, and Eastern and Western Europe all have benefited from the Arachim method. The seminar proved so successful that Arachim has been asked to train other organizations to use it as well.
After the initial commitment at the conclusion of a seminar, there is still a long road for the potential ba’al teshvuah to travel. A staff of some 300 dedicated, tireless follow-up workers stays in touch with each individual for at least a year to help smooth the bumps along the path to a new life of Torah and mitzvos. The formula of the seminar plus follow-up plus a whopping portion of siyatta d’Shmaya continues to produce results that amaze even the veterans at Arachim. In the past five years alone, about 120,000 people have attended seminars worldwide.
Rabbi Wallis, CEO of Arachim, a world-renowned organization that returns Jews to their heritage, arrived in Lakewood to meet with many rabbanim and askanim. The goal of the meeting was to describe the need for an organization such as Arachim and to share information regarding the teshuvah movement in Lakewood. Rabbi Wallis was also given a tour of several landmarks in Lakewood, including Beth Medrash Govoha, Lakewood’s airport, and others.
Rabbi Wallis first met with the heads of Torah Links, a branch of BMG that sends yeshivah yungeleit out of the tri-state area to build Jewish communities. These yungeleit who have spent years on their personal growth and learning use this amazing opportunity to further spread the light of Torah. Torah Links has used many Arachim speakers and now they have finally met. Both parties used this encounter to share ideas and techniques on how to continue to reach out to Jews around the world and how to bring them home.
Rabbi Chaim Abbadi is the founder of Minyan Shelanu, a minyan where everyone is invited and made to feel at home no matter how one davens. In addition, Rabbi Abbadi arranges many activities for Lakewood’s teenagers to keep them entertained, happy, and fulfilled. His accomplishments are great and many. Rabbi Wallis and Rabbi Abbadi discussed the best approach for dealing with today’s youth. With the experience both have acquired in this area, they were able to share and gain much insight.
When Rabbi Wallis arrived at BMG, he was welcomed warmly and shown around the large campus of BMG, filled with bnei Torah. Looking at such a large operation up close, and knowing what running such an organization entails, Rabbi Wallis was truly able to appreciate it.
The meeting was attended by the roshei yeshiva of BMG and Rabbi Wallis. Rabbi Wallis explained the purpose of Arachim, its goals, its results, and its far reaching affects. The result of Arachim’s work of the past 30 years is 400,000 Jewish children!
Rabbi Wallis extolled the virtues of the trip to Poland that Arachim arranges. The trip was arranged for teenage boys and girls, and the amount of those who return to Judaism is astounding. This brought home the idea that a strong connection to and feeling for our Jewish past awakens the inherent desire to be part of this great nation. The roshei yeshiva were amazed and were considering how they can implement something like this in the mainstream schools. The roshei yeshiva thanked Rabbi Wallis for the amazing work he does. They asked to be allowed to assist in any way possible.
Rabbi Wallis met with the mayor and the head of the police and discussed Arachim’s mission. He explained the benefit of children who have a connection in their lives to something that has meaning. The results are less drug use, less hanging out, and less crime. Rabbi Wallis explained that his upbringing, in the Bronx, affords him greater understanding of these problems.
The mayor and police commissioner were impressed and asked Rabbi Wallis to give them some pointers on how to handle the youth in Lakewood in the best possible manner. After that, they presented Rabbi Wallis with a beautiful plaque thanking him for the great work he does.
Despite his weakened condition, the mashgiach, Rabbi Matisyahu Salomon, welcomed Rabbi Wallis with great warmth and honor. He asked how he could help Arachim continue its noble work. The mashgiach said that he has felt for a long time now that the mainstream schools and yeshivas should implement the programs and techniques that Arachim uses.
Arachim hopes to be able to continue to influence Jews throughout the world. Its effects are far-reaching! ϖ