By Leah Goldman
From the day it opened its doors over 45 years ago, Sh’or Yoshuv has been a beacon of light at the forefront of Jewish education ensuring the continuity of our illustrious heritage. For the young men from all walks of life who come to Sh’or Yoshuv, the yeshiva is the oasis where they gather to study and grow. In addition, Sh’or Yoshuv’s community learning center encompasses more than 140 classes and lectures per week for the community, running the entire gamut of Torah study—from the beginner to the layman to the proficient scholar.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, when our devastated communities were left to pick up the pieces, Sh’or Yoshuv also became the physical epicenter and crisis center of the organization Achiezer. Builing upon the ideals of dedication to Torah learning and community involvement of the founding rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Shlomo Freifeld, zt’l, Sh’or Yoshuv opened its doors to the community. A sampling of the incredible chesed and relief efforts conducted in Sh’or Yoshuv include:
The hosting of Shabbos meals for hundreds of families, provided by Achiezer and three local grocery stores.
A starting point for hundreds of volunteers, armed with garbage bags, gloves, and facemasks, who were then dispatched to all corners of Far Rockaway, Bayswater, the Five Towns, Belle Harbor, and Long Beach to pump water and clean up homes.
A base where laundry was picked up each day and the previous day’s clean laundry dropped off.
A place where families could come for a nourishing warm meal, to simply make use of the electricity powered by the yeshiva’s generator, or to share their pain and receive emotional support from sympathetic volunteers.
Sh’or Yoshuv’s gym was transformed into a full “department store,” staffed by volunteers, under the leadership of the Genack family, offering free clothing. At all hours of the day and night, trucks delivered clothing, diapers, and other baby needs as well as food and other supplies. In addition, the parking lot housed a large tractor-trailer to collect the community’s sheimos.
Throughout this difficult period, the kol Torah continued to emanate from the beis midrash and the daily minyanim never ceased.
For almost five decades, Sh’or Yoshuv has been a springboard to living a more fulfilling life for thousands of Jews. Continuing the legacy of Reb Shlomo, zt’l, and his uncanny ability to recognize the potential in every single Jew, Sh’or Yoshuv is a bright, warm, and positive place where dedicated educators lovingly and skillfully polish gems, allowing their full radiance to shine and illuminate themselves, their families, and the world.
Under the watchful and involved direction of the rosh hayeshiva, Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, and the menahel, Rabbi Avrohom Halpern, the talented and skillful rebbeim cultivate lifelong relationships with their students. Today, Sh’or Yoshuv is a Torah center to over 300 students, 70 kollel members, 250 chavrusa partners, and hundreds of community members.
The beis midrash program provides post graduate studies for advanced Torah learning on many different levels. Students receive close personal attention from the rosh hayeshiva and from their rebbeim in a warm and supportive environment conducive to growth in skills and personal growth.
Under the direction of Rabbi Donnie Drandoff, the Tal Techiya program has experienced tremendous growth. Modeled upon the many other successful Sh’or Yoshuv programs, the Tal Techiya program is tailored to young men enrolled in full-time university programs, those working full time, or those seeking a small personal beis midrash atmosphere. The atmosphere is extremely welcoming, inviting, warm, and joyous—built on the formation of a personal rebbi-talmid relationship. Many new rebbeim from the kollel who are enrolled in social work degrees are now working with the students in this program.
The introductory program at Sh’or Yoshuv is geared for mature university students and young professionals seeking a first-time experience of studying in a yeshiva environment. Under the direction of Rabbi Eli Kutner, the program has doubled in size over the last year, and some of last year’s participants have graduated into the beis midrash programs.
Sh’or Yoshuv hosts 15-20 shabbatonim for college kids throughout the year. A number of the participants join the yeshiva program or go on to Israel to further their studies. Recently, the Jewish Fellowships International hosted its seventh annual winter-break fellowship for university students from University of Central Florida and Florida International University. Led by Rabbi Elisha Finman, the participants spent the week studying in Sh’or Yoshuv where they learned about the fundamentals of Judaism and were hosted by families in the community for Shabbos. It was a truly uplifting experience. Four participants committed to coming back to study in yeshiva, one committed to return for two months in the summer, and an additional three have already enrolled.
Encouraged to share their knowledge and reach out to fellow Jews, the kollel members and students are heavily involved in kiruv projects and new initiatives in Great Neck, Manhattan, and with other kiruv organizations throughout the world. In a tremendous show of support, Rabbi Halpern went to the Ukraine along with some of the rebbeim and students to attend the wedding of a Russian student. During their trip, they visited orphanages, kevarim, and concentration camps.
A second group of kollel members received semichah from Rabbi Schneider. Some of these graduates are teaching in local schools, others are pursuing degrees in education or social work, and one is now serving as a pulpit rabbi in Los Angeles.
The community learning center of Sh’or Yoshuv offers 150 classes throughout the week and on Shabbos for members of the community. In the predawn hours, the sounds of Torah learning resonate loud and strong throughout the beis midrash as the members of the kollel boker come to Sh’or Yoshuv to infuse their day with Torah. Every Motzaei Shabbos, fathers and sons come to Sh’or Yoshuv for the father and son Motzaei Shabbos learning program accompanied by snacks, pizza, shiurim for the boys, a shiur by the rosh hayeshiva, Rabbi Naftali Jaeger, for the fathers, and gym time for the boys.
Throughout the year, Sh’or Yoshuv stands as a Torah center and beacon of inspiration to the surrounding Five Towns/Far Rockaway community. On February 18, Sh’or Yoshuv will be holding it 46th annual dinner at the Sands of Atlantic Beach. This year, Sh’or Yoshuv is paying tribute to three couples who exemplify the values of commitment to Torah learning and community involvement that Sh’or Yoshuv strives to inculcate within its students. Nosson and Chana Basha Gold will be the guests of honor. Charlie and Dena Harary will receive the communal leadership award. Rabbi Yehoshua and Deborah Marchuck will receive the kesser shem tov award.
The encouragement and support of the community allows the yeshiva to continue its work on behalf of the Far Rockaway and Five Towns community. Just as the yeshiva nourishes the community all year long, this time of year is the opportunity for the community to ensure the future of the yeshiva. The deadline for ads is February 7. For more information, please call Sh’or Yoshuv at 516-239-9002. Responses can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 516-239-9003. v