By Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum
Torah Vodaath Dinner To Honor Rabbi Belsky
This year’s Yeshiva Torah Vodaath annual dinner is a tribute to the more than 50 years of harbotzas Torah and leadership of Rabbi Yisroel Belsky. Having miraculously survived major medical emergencies, Rabbi Yisroel Belsky was joyously welcomed at last year’s Yeshiva Torah Vodaath dinner, effectively then his first public appearance after returning from hospitalization and rehabilitation. He was welcomed back into YTV’s beis medrash with song, music, dance, and tears of joy. This year’s dinner is an appreciation of Rabbi Belsky by the entire yeshivish world and will take place at The Palace, 780 McDonald Avenue in Brooklyn, on Sunday April 21.
Revered as rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Belsky is also esteemed as the kashruth authority for the OU for more than 25 years, which serves all of America’s observant Jewry. He is globally regarded as the foremost poseik in America. Since 1967, Rabbi Belsky has served as rav of Camp Agudah and there delivers his popular daily daf yomi shiur. In addition to speaking at countless halachic seminars, complicated questions of halacha are directed to Rabbi Belsky from all over the world on a daily basis. He is the immensely respected author of Shulchan Halevi, Einei Yisroel, and Piskei Halachos.
History of YTV. Amongst the impressive number of growing citadels of Torah learning today in America, Yeshiva Torah Vodaath towers with its long distinguished history. YTV was established in September 1918 by a small group of dedicated immigrant parents in Brooklyn, led by Reb Binyamin Wilhelm, zt’l (1886–1974), who strongly yearned for true Torah education for their children in their new host country. The United States was a true haven to the industrious, pioneering immigrants, offering every liberty and opportunity except that of a Torah education. The parent group intensely desired that their sons have the same opportunity to mature in traditional Torah learning as their counterparts in their European hometowns and shtetls. Twenty students comprised the opening class. Rabbi Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz, joining in 1920, served as the yeshiva’s first menahel and to this very day his legacy serves as a guiding spirit.
As Jewish immigration continued, the yeshiva quickly outgrew its temporary home at a small shul on Keap Street in Williamsburg. Other short-term housing, too, was quickly outgrown until a new building was erected at 206 Wilson Street. Today the yeshiva occupies a campus on East 9th Street in Kensington, a beis medrash in Monsey, an elementary school division in Marine Park, and two summer camps, serving a student body, from nursery to post-graduate kollel, of over 2,000.
Since its inception, YTV has had a profound effect on America’s observant Jewry. Its alumni are to be found in every facet of observant religious life, as spiritual leaders of congregations, teachers, and officers of religious organizations. Dr. Bernard Fryshman, professor of physics at Pratt Institute, the first university professor to wear a yarmulke during his lectures, in a now famous letter to Rav Pam, zt’l, reported that YTV alumni are found in the leadership of almost every observant Jewish organization in America. Other YTV alumni are pious businessmen and professionals. Some have also served as political statesman, enhancing the standing of all yeshivas and Jews.
The legendary rosh yeshivas. The succession of roshei yeshiva that have contributed to YTV’s Torah glory, literally an ongoing golden chain of tradition, were, in order of their first association with YTV: 1920, Rabbi Uri Meir Kahanow, zt’l (1885–1960); 1920, Rabbi Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz, zt’l (1886–1948); 1922, Rabbi Nesanel Quinn, zt’l (1910–2007); 1926, Rabbi Dovid Lebowitz, zt’l (1889–1941), first rosh yeshiva; 1933, Rabbi Yaakov Kantrowitz, zt’l (d. 1945), second rosh yeshiva; 1930, Rabbi Moshe Dov Ber Rivkin, zt’l (1895–1976); 1931, Rabbi Nosson Eliyahu Gertzulin, zt’l (1919–2005); 1931, Rabbi Gedalia Schorr, zt’l (1910–1979); 1935, Rabbi Shlomo Heiman, zt’l (1892–1945); 1938, Rabbi Mordechai Wulliger, zt’l (1895–1995); 1939, Rabbi Moshe Steinmetz (1912–2009), zt’l; 1939, Rabbi Avrohom Pam, zt’l (1913–2001); 1939, Rabbi Elazar Kahanow, zt’l (1917–2002); 1941, Rabbi Aaron Yeshaya Shapiro, zt’l (1910–1981); 1941, Rabbi Simcha Sheps, zt’l (1908–1999); 1944, Rabbi Reuven Grozovsky, zt’l (1896–1956); 1945, Rabbi Elya Chazan, zt’l (1908–1982); 1945, Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky, zt’l (1891–1986); 1946, Rabbi Shmuel Yaakov Yoel Traube, zt’l (1918–2008); 1949, Rabbi Asher Katzman, zt’l (1916–2004); Rabbi Moshe Rosen, zt’l (d. 1957); Rabbi Shmuel Kushelevitz, zt’l (d. 1963); Rabbi Elya Moshe Shisgal, zt’l (d. 1973); 1982, Rabbi Reuven Fain, zt’l (1924–1993); and Rabbi Moshe Tzvi Waintraub, zt’l.
They were the predecessors to and colleagues of Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, Rabbi Elya Katz, Rabbi Yisroel Reisman, Rabbi Yosef Savitsky, Rabbi Yitzchok Sekula, and Rabbi Moshe Wolfson, princely names of today’s roshei yeshiva.
Chag Hasmichah. In giving honor to Rabbi Belsky, a major highlight of the dinner will be the acknowledgment of those tamidim that earned semichah from him. They are, in alphabetic order: Dovid Abramowitz, Chanoch Admoni, Pinchas Ashen, Avner Bitton, Ephraim Eli Bohm, Mordechai Bresler, Moshe Brody, Shlomi Davis, Asher Zelig Diamond, Yoily Edelstein, Shloimie Ettinger, Shlomie Felendler, Moshe Fried, Avi Friede, Shabse Fuchs, Aryeh Gelbard, Yitzchok Dov Greenberg, Yitzchok Haas, Moshe Herbstman, Bentzion Hoffman, Ben Kaniel, Pinchas Kanner, Dovid Kelman, Shlome Klein, Dovid Chaim Kolodny, Mordy Kriger, Moishe Dovid Lebovits, Avrohom Dovid Leiser, Yanky Lerner, Akiva Methal, Dovid Minzer, Dovie Minzer, Yitzchak Moeller, Simcha M. Moses, Yossi Moskovits, Shlomie Mounitz, Avrohom Neuhaus, Shimon Newmark, Shloime Nissan, Yakov Nissan, Eliyahu Pollack, Eli Reisman, Binyomin Rimmer, Shimshon Samet, Avraham Yeshaya Steinfeld, Moshe Steinmetz, Yitzchok Dov Tannenbaum (my son!), Nachum Tepper, Aaron Twersky, Tuvia Volkowitz, Zev Nusen Weinberger, Nochum Wiseman, Avrohom Yakubov, and Tzvi Zylberberg,
Mr. and Mrs. Avrohom Krull of Pasaic and Mr. and Mrs. Micky Krull of Monsey will be conferred with the Yedidei Rosh Hayeshiva Award; Mr. and Mrs. Moty Kraus will be honored as Parents of the Year; Rabbi Moshe Brody of Bayswater, Dr. Asher Zelig Diamond of Lawrence, Rabbi Ben Kaniel of Great Neck, and Dovie Minzer will be representing the musmachim of the rosh yeshiva; Rabbi Dovid Pam and Yonah Blumenfrucht will represent the 50th anniversary of the graduating class of 1963; and Mr. and Mrs. Shrage Friedman and Rabbi and Mrs. Yaakov Lach will represent the 25th anniversary of the graduating class of 1988. Gedaliah Weinberger will serve as the dinner chairman, and Rabbi Yoel Ehrenreich as dinner coordinator.
Satmar’s Boro Park Celebration
Satmar Chassidim will converge on Boro Park for Shabbos Bamidbar, May 10–11, to rejoice in the inauguration of their new beis medrash complex on 52nd Street, off 14th Avenue. The event will have the participation of Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, Satmar Rebbe. This will the first Shabbos the Rebbe will conduct in Boro Park in six years. At that time, followers of Rabbi Zalman Leib suddenly found themselves without a roof over their heads. Renting temporary quarters, they purchased the lot and immediately began building. In anticipation of the upcoming celebratory Shabbos, the tempo of work inside the facility has accelerated. Workmen are rushing to complete the heating, air conditioning, and painting in order to have everything ready. Committees have been mobilized to arrange lodging and meals for the thousands of chassidim that are expected.
More than 40 years ago, the Dinover Beis Medrash was established on Albert Court in Monsey, under the direction of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Rubin, Dinover Rebbe. The shul has since been expanded and additions have been built. For Shabbos Shemini, April 5–6, the Rebbe invited his sons and sons-in-law.
During kriyas HaTorah, when the sixth aliyah was about to be called up, the Rebbe announced that shishi belonged to the Rav and that his son, Rabbi Asher Yeshaya, should be called up. After Minchah, the Rebbe announced that his son, the Rav, Rabbi Asher Yeshaya, will lead the Pirkei Avos shiur. Thus, the torch of Dinover leadership in Monsey was passed to the next generation. v
Rabbi Gershon Tannenbaum is the Rav of B’nai Israel of Linden Heights in Boro Park and Director of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. Rabbi Tannenbaum can be contacted at email@example.com.