This Sunday, Yeshiva Gedolah of the Five Towns will iy’H host its 12th Annual Breakfast, recognizing some of its dearest friends. After years of hospitality from the Young Israel of Woodmere, which had graciously hosted the breakfast for over a decade, the yeshiva takes additional pride in establishing its new home as the location for this event.
Arriving on the heels of the festivities surrounding the chanukas ha’bayis just a few months ago, the breakfast will provide a pause to consider what the yeshiva’s influence means to our community. The spiritual peaks attained on Shavuos night, learning b’chavrusa in the expansive beis medrash, or at Yomim Noraim tefillah, punctuated by the kol tefillah of the roshei yeshiva, can only be achieved due to the consistent support the community has invested in its yeshiva and the yeshivaleit have reciprocated to the community.
When Yeshiva Gedolah opened the doors of its humble beis medrash to less than 20 bachurim over 12 years ago, the objectives of the roshei yeshiva, Rav Yitzchak Knobel and Rav Moshe Zev Katzenstein, were grand: Plant an institution that can serve as an example of Torah, Yiras Shamayim, and middos tovos to take root in the heart of the Five Towns community. And as the community has flourished around it, the yeshiva has blossomed into a model for the entire olam haTorah to admire.
But the story is not complete. Indeed, the yeshiva continues to grow and expand its role in the lives of the bachurim, kollel yungermen, and ba’alei batim who choose to seek spiritual nourishment from it. This ongoing responsibility requires the continued time and investment from the community. It is in that spirit that the yeshiva requests your presence in recognizing its special honorees at this upcoming event.
Kesser Torah Award: David Aidelson. David Aidelson is a shining example of what it means to be a partner in Torah. Over the years, he has taken full advantage of the opportunities a local yeshiva affords by finding time in his busy professional and communal schedule to learn at nights with his chavrusa, Rabbi Shalom Yaakov Jakubowitz. He has served as a president of Congregation Aish Kodesh and sits on the boards of Yeshiva Ketana of Long Island and Madraigos and the advisory board of the Yeshiva Gedolah of the Five Towns.
David grew up in Woodmere and attended HAFTR High School. He received a B.A. in political science from Yeshiva University and a law degree from NYU. He started working at Davis Polk & Wardwell and has been an attorney with JPMorgan Chase since 1998, where he is the global head of the equities practice group.
His wife, Debbie, grew up in Queens and attended Stern College, where she received her bachelor’s in mathematics. She is currently working as an actuary at AIG. She has served as the president of the Aish Kodesh Sisterhood.
The tradition of Torah has been passed down for generations from both David’s and Debbie’s parents. David’s father, who was a survivor of the Holocaust, was a rabbi in North Woodmere for many years, and Debbie’s father was a rabbi on Long Island. They inspired them to continue in the derech of Torah and mitzvos.
They are blessed, b’li ayin ha’ra, with a beautiful family, and have a daughter who is married and lives in Beitar in Israel, with one grandchild.
Amud HaTorah Award: Meir Resnick. Meir Resnick and his wife Devorah are members of Congregation Bais Medrash of Cedarhurst (the Shtiebel), where Meir learns daily at Rabbi Dovid Speigel’s daf yomi shiur. When not serving as general manager of Auto Salvage Alliance, Meir is strongly committed to the Yeshiva Gedolah, where he learns with his chavrusa, Rabbi Shalom Yaakov Jakubowitz. There, he works diligently to bring the limud and ahavas haTorah found within the yeshiva home with him daily.
Blessed with a strong kesher with Rebbetzin Katzenstein, Devorah has become a force of chizuk and enthusiasm to kallahs and many other worthy causes. Together, Devorah and Meir are devoted to serving the community. Most importantly, the Resnicks are raising their children—Dina, Kayla, Simcha, Zevi, and Aharon—with strong Torah values and a kesher to the yeshiva family that they hold dear.
Yedid HaTorah Award: Dani Lilker. Dani Lilker is a native of Woodmere with family roots in the community for over 30 years. After learning in Eretz Yisrael, he received a bachelor’s in accounting from Yeshiva University and later a master’s in real-estate finance from NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate. Dani is a senior analyst for Jones Lang LaSalle, a global real-estate services company.
In his heart, however, Dani has never left the walls of the yeshiva. You will find him at various shiurim given throughout the week or learning in the beis medrash with his daily chavrusa. He is always ready to help the yeshiva, whether it is setting up the Kiddush on Shabbos or helping with the yeshiva’s move to the new building. Dani feels very fortunate to learn Torah in the environment filled with kedushah and ahavas haTorah that is to be found within the Yeshiva Gedolah.
Dani could not maintain such a demanding schedule without the support of his wife, Ahuva. She is personally involved in Jewish education and chesed in the community, serving as a speech pathologist for students at HAFTR. Of paramount importance is the Lilkers’ desire to raise their children in the Torah tradition that has been passed down from their parents and grandparents. Dani’s parents, specifically his father Bruce Lilker, have been instrumental over the years in the establishment of the yeshiva in the community. Most recently, Bruce’s engineering firm helped the yeshiva erect its beautiful new edifice.
The YGFT family hopes to greet you personally at the upcoming breakfast on June 22 at 9:15 a.m. so everyone can collectively show appreciation for the efforts of the yeshiva and the roshei yeshiva for implanting this makom Torah in our lives, as well as admiration for the accomplishments of this special slate of honorees. v