OẒAR HATORAH, society for the religious education of Jewish youth in the Middle East and North Africa. Oẓar Hatorah was founded in 1945 as a nonprofit organization by Isaac Shalom of New York City, Joseph Shamah of Jerusalem, and Ezra Teubal (d. 1976) of Buenos Aires. Its founders were concerned about a result of the secularization of Jewish national life: Jewish spiritual decline and intellectual impoverishment. They hoped to rectify this by establishing schools, teaching both religious and secular subjects, throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The society, following the receipt of funds from private individuals, local communities, and the *American Jewishk Joint Distribution Committee , began its work with an investigation of Jewish communities in Morocco, Algeria, Tripolitania, Cyrenaica, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Israel (then Palestine). With the aims of providing good teaching, facilities, food, and medical care, by 1970 Oẓar Hatorah was running 23 schools and a summer camp in Morocco, 41 schools and a summer camp in Iran, two elementary schools in Syria, and an elementary school in Lyons, France, and a total of 13,610 students had been enrolled in its schools.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.