It was simple, small and intimate. Just eight guys. It was altruistic and idealistic- unrealistically so. I’m pretty sure that none of the original 8 who engaged Rabbi Moshe Schecter to join their dream of a place to learn serious Torah in an environment that was ideal for them would have dreamed of a Mikor as it is today- both physically and spiritually.
Eighteen years ago, the seed was planted. The doors of Mikor opened in the social hall of Beis Yitzchak Rabbi Schecter’s warmth and leadership as the “Rebbe” was exactly what was needed. Soon after, Rabbi Mordechai Raizman joined and was critical in laying the groundwork for years of stable growth, and the community continues to glean from Rabbi Raizman’s passion and commitment to the tzibbur in his exceptional work as the Executive Director of the ATT. Early on as well, Rabbi Ephraim Friedman- a Dayan at the Chicago Rabbinical Council and a Moreh Horaah for the city of Chicago- joined the mizrach of Mikor. His mastery of halacha and his exceeding humility was and remains awe-inspiring. Seven years ago, Mikor reached out to Rabbi Yaakov Robinson to bring him back to Chicago and to the rabbinic team at Mikor. As a lifelong Chicagoan, and with Mikor being at a crossroads of moving from a storefront Beis Medrash to our mikdash m’at on Chase Ave, Rabbi Robinson was a critical piece to the puzzle of bringing Mikor to its next phase.
Today as it was then, the centerpiece of Mikor and of our lives is Torah. The first learning seder, nestled between our two Shacharis minyanim, is the Zichron Avraham Gershon Kollel Boker, a learning seder dedicated in memory of Avi Karesh, z”l, a native Chicagoan who passed away in 2016 and was family and a friend to many in our Beis Medrash. Each morning, many join together to learn a masechta- as a chabura. No matter which Shacharis you attend, it is an ideal way to start your day. As well, Mikor provides the community with Daf Yomi given by Rabbi Friedman, night seder, shiurim each night for men, shiurim for women, shiurim for our children. These Torah learning opportunities are heart and the nucleus of Mikor. In addition to our daily learning, Mikor offers a beautiful Shabbos davening that is attended by so many people from all corners of the Chicago community. Yom Tov and Yomim Noraim tefillos are remarkable.
This is just a selection of what will he highlighted at Mikor’s Chai Anniversary Celebration on May 7th. At the dinner they will also recognize the contributions of two of its early and most influential families: Josh and Michal Rosen will be presented the Eitz Hachaim award and Doug and Rebecca Bassman will be presented the Nefesh Hachaim award.
We look forward to seeing the continued impact of Beis Medrash Mikor Hachaim on the Chicago Jewish community.