By Benzion Kaplan
Some people attend organizational dinners out of a sense of obligation; they don’t necessarily enjoy it. Judging from the crowd that attended Yeshiva Darchei Torah’s 41st Anniversary dinner on Sunday and the torrent of accolades that poured into the yeshiva afterward, it appears that the guests at this dinner thoroughly enjoyed being there and came away inspired.
For the second year in a row, the yeshiva hosted the dinner on its campus in Far Rockaway, with the catering directed by its own kitchen and administrative staff. Tasteful decoration transformed an already beautiful facility into one appropriate for holding an event of this nature.
The evening began with a beautiful buffet dinner, continued with a program, and ended with a dessert reception.
At the program, emceed by Elisha Brecher, a cochairman of the yeshiva’s board of directors, addresses were delivered by Rav Shlomo Avigdor Altusky, rosh yeshiva of Darchei Torah’s Beis Medrash Heichal Dovid; Ronald Lowinger, president of the yeshiva; and Rav Yaakov Bender, rosh hayeshiva. Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, an alumnus, delivered brief remarks.
The first of the awards was presented to the Pioneer Class of Mesivta Chaim Shlomo, whose members will this year be marking 15 years since graduation. The Pioneers, most of whom have gone on to build families and careers in Torah education and various professions, laid the foundation for what has become one of the greatest mesivtos in America.
The Excellence in Chinuch Award was presented to Rabbi and Mrs. Avrohom Nusbaum. Rabbi Nusbaum is a dynamic rebbi and menahel in Mesivta Chaim Shlomo and his wife is a veteran educator as well. Rabbi Nusbaum described himself as a “shliach tzibur” who was representing the entire YDT family in his public expression of gratitude to the yeshiva’s leadership.
The Harbotzas Torah Award was presented to Rabbi and Mrs. Eytan Feiner, the rav and rebbetzin who have revitalized Far Rockaway’s Congregation Kneseth Israel, the White Shul. Rebbetzin Feiner is also the founder of the Machon Basya Rochel Seminary in Lawrence, and the Feiners are proud YDT parents as well. In accepting his award, an emotional Rabbi Feiner was initially at a loss for words but proceeded to offer a heartfelt and deeply moving response.
Mr. and Mrs. Menachem Marx were the evening’s guests of honor. The Marxes, parents of four talmidim and alumni, are known for their steadfast commitment to Torah study and chesed. Mr. Marx is an active member of the yeshiva’s board and played an early and critical role in ensuring that the recent construction project of the yeshiva’s complex would succeed. Mr. Marx’s response was at once deeply moving, humorous, and inspiring.
In a first, the Yeshiva Darchei Torah fifth-grade choir prerecorded two stunning musical performances on video. These videos, as well as riveting presentations about the honorees and the theme of the dinner, “Preparing a Child for Life” were screened throughout the program.
In one of the choir videos, the boys sang a beautiful rendition of pesukim that include the following words (translated): “[The Torah] is a tree of life to those who grasp it, and its supporters are praiseworthy.” Taking in the sweep of the estimated 1,400 guests who happily graced the dinner and are were still raving about it days later, it is apparent that Yeshiva Darchei Torah indeed possesses such praiseworthy supporters, be they parents, grandparents, alumni, or members of the greater Jewish community that appreciates the illustrious bastion of chinuch and chesed in its midst.
To receive selected recordings of the dinner program, contact the yeshiva office at 718-868-2300 or firstname.lastname@example.org. v