By Rena Gray

The Atlanta Scholars Kollel honored millennials Jon Effron, Erica and Jordan Tritt, and Helen Zalik at its Tribute to Jewish Learning on Sunday night, March 6, at the Westin Buckhead Atlanta.

ASK Co-Presidents Eric Bern and Raanon Gal reviewed the history and growth of the kollel since its founding in 1987 and its role in their lives.

The crowd packs the Westin Buckhead ballroom.

The crowd packs the Westin Buckhead ballroom.

Rosh Kollel Rabbi Doniel Pransky said that with a team of 16 rabbis on staff, the kollel now can meet with close to 700 people.

The ceremony included the presentation of the second annual Bernie Marcus Scholarship Award to Gabrielle Bloch, who has shown Jewish initiative at Emory University by instituting its first Bayit residence for Jewish students. Bloch will study at the Midreshet Rachel seminary.

A short video about the millennial honorees described them as “the students and builders of ASK who are helping to create a stronger, knowledgeable and vibrant Jewish community.”

Jon Effron, introduced by his father, Ira Effron, shared the journey of his bar mitzvah tefillin. Displaying them in the original white paper bag in which they were given to him by his grandmother, the honoree described the finality of Jewish connection he had thought rested in the completion of his bar mitzvah party.

Little did he know that when he met his wife, they would both be ignited with a desire for connection when her family hosted a “bunch of rabbis” at home for learning sessions. With the support of the kollel rabbis, out came the tefillin years later, ready to be put to use again.

Jordan Tritt’s father, Dr. Ramie Tritt, introduced Jordan and Erica and expressed his appreciation for the kollel rabbis. The Tritts, having been introduced to the kollel in their college years, described their delight at being able to come full circle, involving themselves with programming for college students and hosting them for Shabbat meals.

Helen Zalik was introduced by her mother-in-law, Raya Zalik. Helen made an analogy between her positive kollel experience and her love for and often territorial relationship with cake. She described how just as her pre-kollel instincts about cake would have been to share only grudgingly with friends, her giving muscle was also waiting to be exercised.

After her encounter with the kollel, she said, she has noticed that she has become just as giving of herself as her cake.

“The kollel has taught me that giving is the ultimate pleasure,” she said.

Photos by Eli Gray