Sunday, March 3, was a special evening. It was a joyous and most meaningful celebration for hundreds of parents, community members, and longtime friends who filled the White Shul’s synagogue in overflowing tribute to the Yeshiva of South Shore’s amazing efforts on behalf of education and community.
The powerful program, chaired by dinner chairman Avram Weissman, opened with an address by the rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky, who spoke of the ketores as an exotic medley of spices and substances that brought out the beautiful smell. If even one element is left out, the ketores is invalid and the preparer has committed a capital offense! Rabbi Kamenetzky spoke about the all-inclusive nature of the yeshiva founded by his father, shlita, in which so many elements blend to create a sweet scent to the Almighty.
Guests of Honor Rabbi Josh and Julie Joseph, who are both leaders in the field of education, spoke about the ruchniyus that inspired their young children to reach for a Tehillim in the midst of the recent hurricane and flooding and ask, “Which Tehillim shall we say?” Benji and Bashi Fish were presented with the Young Leadership Award for their leadership in so many areas of the yeshiva’s development. Rabbi Efrem and Dr. Tamar Schwalb, recipients of the Torah Leadership Award for their service as Rav and Rebbitzen of Kehillas Eitz Chaim in West Hempstead, epitomize the commitment to limud Torah and mentchlechkeit.
In a very unique presentation, a special video tribute was held in honor of Rabbi Chaim Krieger on the occasion of his aliyah to Eretz Yisrael. With scenes spanning decades including his interaction with the students and Gedolei Yisrael, amongst them Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky, zt’l, the crowd got a glimpse of his unique warmth and style that combines the ruach of yesteryear with the skills needed to become a true Torah scholar.
The evening also paid tribute to Mr. Benjamin M. Lawsky, New York State’s first superintendent of financial services. Introduced by longtime yeshiva friend New York State Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, Mr. Lawsky accepted the award and noted how he and his staff are working relentlessly to protect consumers and their financial rights especially during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
In a surprise appearance, United States Senator Charles Schumer announced a new program instituted by the Obama administration to compensate homeowners, to make them whole, over and beyond their coverage from FEMA.
The evening was capped off with a unique video presentation that left the crowd quite moved. They were buoyed by a delicious Viennese dessert and an amazing celebration of song and dance produced and directed by Rabbi Yitzy Bald and the YOSS fourth grade. v