Purpose, Mission and Aims of Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad
The original goal of Mesivta Beth Medrosh Elyon – West Coast Talmudical Seminary was (in the words of its official documentation): “To provide facilities for intensive Torah education as well as Orthodox rabbinical training on the West Coast” for which purpose it conducts a “graduate Talmudical division on a college level.” With the transformation into Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad, this goal remains intact.
In addition to molding students into conscientious Torah observing Jews and Torah scholars, the Yeshiva, in line with Chabad philosophy, also has the goal of concerning itself with serving the spiritual needs of world Jewry, supplying even the most remote communities with their needs for religious functionaries and communal workers, and bringing the entire Jewish world the warmth of Chassidism.
Integral to these general goals is that all graduates be well acquainted with the unique Chabad perspective on all aspects of life as pronounced by all seven Lubavitcher Rebbes. A major gauge of our success is whether our graduates adopt this perspective in their lives to the extent that they dedicate their lives and careers to pursue its goals.
In the opinion of faculty and administration, the emphasis placed upon Chabad Chassidic philosophy produces a more balanced student and scholar, competent in both the legal and analytical aspects of Torah and also in its philosophical and spiritual aspects.
Yeshiva students and graduates, as the scholarly elite of the community, are particularly well equipped and motivated to bring their superior knowledge, commitment, and enthusiasm to others less privileged. In line with the traditional Chabad stress on the duty even of Yeshiva students to devote a portion of their spare time to strengthening general Jewish commitment to learning and tradition, Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad aims to produce young scholars expert not only in Talmud, Halacha and Chabad Philosophy, but also deeply sensitive to Jewish tradition and to their responsibility to foster it among all branches of the Jewish community.
This latter element of our students’ education is especially urgent in an area like California where the masses of Jews are still far from the beautiful outlook and lifestyle of Torah Judaism. With over half a million Jews in Southern California, most of them in and around Los Angeles, it is vital to produce a class of young men with solid background in authentic Jewish scholarship, with an intensive commitment to Jewish observance, and with a firm, deep-rooted motivation to transmit their knowledge and commitment to the widest possible circles of Jews.
To foster this aim, both while students are still at Yeshiva and especially when they leave its walls to go out into the world, Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad students devote a portion of their spare time (outside of school hours) to various outreach programs.
Even with the passage of time since the merger with Chabad, Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon’s original statements of purpose, as contained within its founding charter, remains essentially unchanged. Despite the change in the school’s approach to community service in line with Chabad philosophy, the fundamental emphasis remains on Talmudic scholarship. What has occurred has simply deepened and enriched the original objective. Therefore, there is no need at the present time to amend the original charter, for it still accurately reflects the Yeshiva’s aims.