On Sunday morning, May 19, Yeshiva Zichron Aryeh (“YZA”) held a groundbreaking at the site of their planned new campus in Bayswater. The yeshiva has been displaced since Hurricane Sandy flooded the yeshiva’s home in the Agudah of Bayswater and an adjacent building which housed the dining room and kitchen facilities. The rebbeim and talmidim persevered and continued learning and growing, but a solution was needed. The yeshiva implemented plans to build a modular building, designed to be completed quickly in order to serve the needs of the yeshiva.
Early on Sunday morning, a light drizzle began to fall, continuing throughout the day. The yeshiva’s administration decided to hold the event despite the weather. The rain may have refused to subside, but nearly 200 people attended from the local community, the Five Towns, and as far away as Cleveland, Ohio. Several members of the local Rockaway Citizens Safety Patrol were in attendance to ensure the security of the event. Families came out in the rain and the children were treated to toy shovels and hard hats, along with cotton candy. Delicious refreshments were provided by Cravingz of Cedarhurst and music was playing, creating a mood that was incredibly light and uplifting for a gray Sunday morning. It was a tremendous success, especially in light of the circumstances.
Hillel Adelman, a local community leader and former president of the Young Israel of Bayswater, served as the emcee for the event. He began by recounting his own experiences in Zichron Aryeh and the positive impact the yeshiva has had on his life and the Bayswater community. Mr. Adelman emphasized the importance of having a yeshiva in any neighborhood, as well as the benefits the yeshiva has enjoyed from establishing its roots in the community.
Rabbi Shaya Cohen, the rosh hayeshiva of YZA, then spoke about the growth of the yeshiva and reiterated the yeshiva’s principles of focusing on the individual talmid, helping each one grow to his full potential. Rabbi Cohen conveyed the yeshiva’s thanks to all those who braved the bad weather to be a part of the groundbreaking, and to the supporters that have stood by the yeshiva over the years. The yeshiva owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to the various institutions that have hosted it over the years and especially in the last few months, including the Young Israel of Bayswater, Khal Chesed V’Emes (Bay 24th Street Shul), the Agudah of Bayswater, and the Jewish Heritage Center in Flushing, Queens.
Congressman Gregory W. Meeks of the 5th Congressional District, which encompasses the Bayswater community, spoke next. Standing under his umbrella, he noted how the falling rain was an auspicious harbinger of growth for the yeshiva and the community, explaining that just as water is needed for growth in nature, our community educational institutions are essential to the growth of another generation of leaders and educators. Congressman Meeks referenced the yeshiva’s mission of educating future teachers and stressed how important this facet of education is in the development of a community and in maintaining educational quality.
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder followed up on the Congressman’s words, emphasizing the challenges our community has endured since Hurricane Sandy and the strength of the community’s response in rising to those challenges. His steadfast support for all of his constituents and for all of the community’s Torah institutions is well known and was highlighted in his introduction by the emcee. Assemblyman Goldfeder has been a strong supporter of Yeshiva Zichron Aryeh and has helped the yeshiva and the entire community recover from the challenges of the past six months. He wished the yeshiva hatzlachah moving forward and hoped to see the final building soon.
Rabbi Aryeh Zev Ginzberg, rav of the Chofetz Chaim Torah Center in Cedarhurst, spoke about the yeshiva’s bitachon in facing destruction and rebounding to build further, turning destruction into an opportunity for growth for the yeshiva. This bitachon is a foundational part of the yeshiva’s chinuch and is a hallmark of Rabbi Shaya Cohen.
Rabbi Yaakov Bender, rosh hayeshiva of Yeshiva Darchei Torah, was the final speaker. He spoke of his relationship with Rabbi Cohen over many years and how deserving the yeshiva is of a new campus. He wished the yeshiva well in its growth and urged the community to help the yeshiva by donating generously to help with the completion of the building.
The new building is slated for delivery and installation this summer. The 7,200 sq. ft. facility will house Yeshiva Zichron Aryeh’s Beis Medrash and Kollel Ner Yehoshua and provide a forum for teacher training courses offered in the yeshiva and via webcast around the country. The facility will include a beis medrash, dining room, kitchen, offices, shiur rooms, library, and exercise room along with an outdoor basketball court and recreation area.
For dedication opportunities or to find out more about Yeshiva Zichron Aryeh, visit www.zacampus.com or call Avraham Burger at 516-295-5700, ext. 17. v