There was a sense of excitement throughout the crowded halls of the Sands, where the Yeshiva Gedolah of the Five Towns held its 11th anniversary dinner Tuesday evening, February 4. There was also a sense of pride in the accomplishments of the Guest of Honor, Mr. Shlomo Mayer, appreciation for the contributions of Mr. and Mrs. Baruch Moskowitz, who received the Avodas Hakodesh Award, and recognition of the work spreading Torah in the community done by Rabbi and Mrs. Baruch Aryeh Tzvi (Adam) Schachar, recipients of the Harbotzas Torah Award. Additional excitement was in the crowd’s realization how the community had played an integral role in the continued growth of the Yeshiva Gedolah as a preeminent makom Torah as well as in its soon-to-be-completed new building. With the new building in mind, additional tribute was paid to Mr. Yaakov Mermelstein, of Ray Builders, who has immeasurably helped the yeshiva in creating the appropriate edifice for its efforts and aspirations.
The Yeshiva Gedolah is a place of higher Torah learning for bachurim returning from Eretz Yisrael, as well as for young married men who wish to learn in kollel. At the same time, it serves as a community institution where ba’alei batim enjoy many shiurim and minyanim. It is a makom Torah where individual needs, strengths, and personalities are respected and nurtured. This is true in relation to the talmidim of the yeshiva and the ba’alei batim who associate with the yeshiva. Each individual brings his own strengths and perspectives, and, at the same time, all are united in their dedication to talmud Torah, yiras Shamayim, and chesed.
This year’s honorees exemplify that diversity and unity. Mr. Shlomo Mayer, with the support of his wife, has served as a paradigm of the latent potential in every ba’al habayis. Mr. and Mrs. Baruch Moskowitz represent the growth of the yeshiva and the dedication required to build a makom Torah. Rabbi and Mrs. Schachar, with their talents, warmth, hospitality, and great dedication to learning, make the yeshiva home in every conceivable way, and set an example of what a Torah home should be. Mr. Yaakov Mermelstein’s sensitivity and care for the new building truly were catalysts in getting to this point.
The audience was privileged to hear the words of Rabbi Knobel, the rosh kollel. Rabbi Knobel first expressed his gratitude to Hashem for all of His kindness, in giving him and his rebbetzin the zechus to be connected to Torah, specifically in this community. He spoke of how privileged they have been to learn from and be guided by their parents and grandparents, as well as many gedolim, bearers, and guardians of the mesorah. Rabbi Knobel spoke of the total immersion in learning and Torah that the yeshiva represents. Its influence is renowned throughout the community, and beyond. Rav Knobel then introduced the video presentation about the Guest of Honor, Mr. Mayer, whom Rabbi Knobel has been learning with b’chavrusa for the past eight years. In the video, Rav Knobel spoke of Shlomo’s growth in learning, his desire and dedication for learning, and the impact that his learning had on his entire family. One of his sons attested to this influence, noting how the sincerity of it was so clear to all those around him, especially within the family. Shlomo himself spoke of how it changed his life and the effect that the learning and the rosh kollel have had on him and his family.
Rabbi Moshe Zev Katzenstein, the rosh yeshiva, spoke about the clarity that Torah brings us in a confusing world. He explained that the Aron and the Mishkan are commanded in plural, which indicates the need for everyone to have a part in the building of Torah. The yeshiva was the beneficiary of the generosity of so many in the community and beyond, and the rosh yeshiva implored everyone to help complete the project.
In the video presentation about the Schachar family, with whom he has such a close connection to since Baruch Aryeh came to the yeshiva, the rosh yeshiva praised the seriousness with which Baruch Aryeh takes his learning, as well as how the entire family makes the yeshiva their home. The Schachars have a home renowned in the yeshiva and the greater community for chesed and warmth. In the video, Rav Baruch Aryeh spoke about his passion for the yeshiva, and how quickly he knew it was a place he was going to stay for the long term, before ultimately settling in Woodmere.
Mr. Yehuda Biber, the dinner’s emcee and co-chair, introduced the video segment about Baruch Moskowitz and his wife, Tamar. Mr. Biber spoke firsthand, as an active board member, to the hard work and dedication that they have shown. Baruch, in his video segment, spoke about the growth of the yeshiva since he first took over as executive director some seven-plus years ago. He spoke about how the building project became such a part of him and that watching each stage being completed was like seeing a child grow up. Even more special to him was that the project coincided with his marriage to Tamar and subsequent birth of their first child, Shira Leah. To him, this was and will be the culmination of years of work, but it is more special to share it with his own family.
An important part of the evening was the tribute paid to Mr. Yaakov Mermelstein and Ray Builders. Rabbi Katzenstein spoke about how, despite what is a relatively small project to his company, Yanky took every detail to heart, to ensure that Torah in our community would be housed in just the right environment.
The 11th anniversary dinner was a great success, with more than 440 people in attendance. The evening provided an opportunity to take pride in all that has been accomplished. At the same time, those who attended were given a vision of the yeshiva’s plans and goals, including the completion of the yeshiva’s beautiful new home, with the announcement that the yeshiva has tentatively scheduled a celebration of its completion for March 30, iy’H. The yeshiva looks forward to realizing these goals and to furthering the growth of the Yeshiva Gedolah of the Five Towns as a makom Torah in the midst of our community.
For dedication or donation opportunities and for more information regarding the Yeshiva Gedolah of the Five Towns, please visit www.ygft.org or call the yeshiva office at 516-295-8900, ext. 5. v