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For the week ending 12 April 2014 / 12 Nisan 5774

From Planet to Planet

The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Joshua Barrett

Age 27
Albuquerque, NM
Texas Tech — Bachelor’s Degree in Business

Shoresh and Center Programs Alumnus

Coming from New Mexico and attending university in Lubbock, Texas, Josh worked as an Emergency Medical Technician after college. After New Mexico and Western Texas he understandably had little in the way of Jewish education, but he always had a strong Jewish identity. Josh sent an email to Ohr Somayach asking for information and received a very encouraging response from Rabbi Lubow, which convinced him to give Ohr Somayach a try.

When he got to Ohr Somayach he initially felt that he had landed on another planet. Because he projected such a fierce desire to learn, he was not placed in the introductory gemara class but rather in Rabbi Salenger’s shiur in the Shoresh program. He had no idea what gemara was and was utterly clueless as to why those two “characters” Rava and Abaye were blasting away at each other with hair-splitting broadsides about decidedly unspiritual mundane concerns. Being somewhat shy he didn’t pipe up about his cluelessness for almost a full week. Eventually, however, he was moved to a more appropriate group, thus beginning a 7-month experience in the Shoresh program. A year and a half later he returned to the Center program for another two years. As Josh expresses it, “Only because of the great support of the staff and students of the Ohr Somayach programs am I still (a year and a half after having left the Yeshiva and having married) able to learn full time in kollel here in Toronto.”

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