A once-a-year congregant at South Caulfield Shul who usually only makes an appearance to say kaddish for his parent’s yahrzeit suddenly started attending services regularly.
His rabbi said, “It’s so nice to see you, do you mind if I ask, what’s changed for you?”
Turns out, the man, a top psychologist, had picked up a CD at a “Learn on the Go” stand in Glick’s Bakery in Sydney, popped it into the player in his car and something in the shiur had switched him on to Judaism.
In just 5 years of operation, Learn on the Go has distributed 40,000 CDs on hundreds of topics to stands in locations across South Africa and Australia, and stories like this one keep pouring in to founders Ari Arenstein and Simcha Solarsh.
“The project started when we wanted to share some inspirational talks by Rabbi Yossi Paltiel with Dr. Rodney Unterslak, z’l,” says Arenstein.
“After Rodney passed away, we decided to do something in his memory, but not just share one speaker with one person, we would share every amazing speaker, on every topic with the whole Jewish world!”
After 10,000 free CDs on strategically placed stands around the Johannesburg Jewish community, they had the stands re-engineered in China for a cost-effective choice to ship around the world, with Australia being the first foreign destination. The stands are easy to assemble and can be shipped anywhere in the world.
Explains Arenstein, “Rabbi Laibl Wolf was in South Africa on a speaking tour and loved the concept. He said we should bring it to Australia.” Tens of thousands of CDs followed, with topics continuously updated with the chagim, and speakers sourced from reputable and diverse organizations.
One of their donors who at first said “cds are dead”, realized that even his brand-new car still came with a CD player, and helped make the dream of disseminating Torah a reality.
The Learn on the Go team are now ready to go global and will be exhibiting at the Kinnus Hashluchim Resource Fair.
“We hope to make the stands available at Kosher Supermarkets, Chabad Centers and other Jewish communities allover the world,” says Arenstein.