There was a sense of excitement throughout the crowded halls of The Sands, where the Yeshiva Gedolah of the Five Towns held its 14th anniversary dinner on Tuesday evening, February 21. There was also a sense of pride in the accomplishments of the Guests of Honor, Rabbi and Mrs. Jeremy Fine, and an appreciation of the contributions of Rabbi and Mrs. Meir Yehuda Kotowitz, who were the recipients of the Harbotzas Torah Award, and of Mr. and Mrs. Yehuda Klinkowitz, who received the Young Leadership Award. Those who came to show support to the yeshiva, as well as those who came to acknowledge the honorees, were imbued with a sense of the important role the yeshiva represents as a link in the transmission of Torah.
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. It also 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, whether it relates to the talmidim of the yeshiva or the ba’alei batim who associate with the yeshiva. Each individual brings to the yeshiva 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 clearly exemplify this diversity and unity. Rabbi and Mrs. Jeremy Fine are both outstanding mechanchim in their own right. They are supporters of Torah, and of the yeshiva, and are our cherished neighbors as well. Mr. and Mrs. Yehuda Klinkowitz represent the backbone of the yeshiva in as much as they are dedicated and willing to help in any conceivable way. Rabbi and Mrs. Kotowitz, with their talents, warmth, clarity, and great dedication to learning, have made their mark in the yeshiva as well as setting an example of what a Torah home should look like. Each of the honorees is an integral and important part of the yeshiva, its past successes, and its future growth.
The crowd was privileged to hear the words of Rabbi Knobel, shlita, the yeshiva’s rosh kollel. Rabbi Knobel first expressed his gratitude to Hashem, in giving him and his Rebbetzin the z’chus 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. This gives them the ability to impart our rich mesorah to the future generations.
Rav Knobel then introduced the video presentation about Rabbi and Mrs. Kotowitz. The video brought out R’ Meir Yehuda’s strength in learning and his value as a maggid shiur and a resource for all parties within the yeshiva. In the presentations, his students spoke of his clarity in presentation and exuberance for teaching Torah.
The evening’s emcee, Mr. Chaim Schreck, introduced the video presentation about the Klinkowitz family, which highlighted their selfless dedication to the yeshiva and other causes. In the video, Yehuda and family related why they chose to call the yeshiva home and why it continues to be a place of meaning for their entire family. Everyone who spoke on the video echoed the same message—that the selfless dedication of the Klinkowitzes is what makes them so deserving of the recognition they received.
Lastly, Mr. Schreck introduced the video segment about Rabbi and Mrs. Jeremy Fine. Mr. Schreck spoke firsthand, as a personal friend of the Fines, as to the hard work and dedication that they have shown in raising a family based on Torah and teaching Torah to others. Jeremy, in his video segment, spoke about the growth of the yeshiva since he first moved in, and the close family connection the Fines have had over many years with the yeshiva, as well as the rebbeim. Jeremy’s father, Steve, who could not attend, added how much the yeshiva has helped shaped all of their lives and he continues to see it evolve in a myriad of ways. Jeremy, with an impromptu speech after the video, in his classic, passionate way cited specific examples of how the yeshiva has influenced his life.
Rabbi Moshe Zev Katzenstein, shlita, the rosh yeshiva, then spoke about how the completion of any aspect of our lives is the presence of HaKadosh Baruch Hu. This is accomplished through our deference to his Torah which was the prerequisite of kabbalas haTorah at Har Sinai. The rosh yeshiva acknowledged the growth of the yeshiva through the generosity of our tzibbur that is a testimony to the devotion of our kehillah to Torah and to the Giver of the Torah. The 14th anniversary dinner was a great success, with approximately 400 people in attendance. The evening provided an opportunity to take pride in all that has been accomplished. The warm feelings in the room were evident of the appreciation of the yeshiva for the crowd and, in turn, their appreciation for the yeshiva. At the same time, those who attended were given a vision of the yeshiva’s future plans and goals, including the recent acquisition of a new dorm. YGFT 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.