Seasons of the Moon

For the week ending 18 January 2014 / 17 Shevat 5774

Strings of the Soul

by Daniel Keebler
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Shamir Khaitov

Hunter College
Major: Psychology
JLE alumnus

Between emigrating from Uzbekistan and attending public school, Shamir’s Jewish education was slim to none, leaving his Judaism hanging by a shoestring by the time he went to high school. G-d sent him a few more strings to hold onto once he joined a local yeshiva’s nightly outreach Torah learning program: Talmud, laws of Shabbat, and a pair of tzitzit from the rabbi.

When Shamir came home from his JLE trip with Ohr Somayach, he dug up the tzitzit that had been buried in his closet since high school and now wears them every day. He also regularly attends morning prayer services and even finds a nice place in the college library to pray mincha (afternoon prayers) between classes. Shamir says that since he came back from his JLE trip, he and his mother and two brothers (one was on JLE with him) are all keeping Shabbat together — a spiritual boost for the whole family.

In the short term Shamir hopes to return to Ohr Somayach on a summer program. In the long term he would like to “learn and earn” by running a business in New York while living in Israel and learning Torah every day.

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