Videos, Photos: 15,000 Gather for 50th Yahrtzeit Azkarah for Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l


bmg-50th-yahrtzeit-azkarah[Videos and photos below.] Lakewood, NJ – A crowd of some 15,000 people gathered yesterday in Lakewood for the culmination of a weekend of events that were part of a 50th Yahrtzeit Commemoration arranged by Beth Medrash Govoha to mark a half-century of Torah growth since the petirah of Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l, founding rosh yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha.

The azkarah began on Thursday with a yahrtzeit program and continued over Shabbos, Parshas Toldos, with a Shabbos of Chizuk. On Motzoei Shabbos, a Siyum Hashas and melava malka were held at the yeshiva.

Yesterday, the main yahrtzeit program was held at Seventh Street and Private Way, at the former site of Bais Eliyahu.

First, a private brunch was held for major supporters of the yeshiva in the Israel Henry Beren Hall dining room. A new board of governors was installed, and guests heard from Rav Malkiel Kotler, Rav Yisroel Neuman, Rabbi Aaron Kotler, Mr. Shimmy Glick, Mr. Elli Kleinman and Mr. Howard Tzvi Friedman.

Minchah, led by R’ Eddie Betesh, began at 12:45 p.m., after which opening remarks were delivered by Rav Menachem Juni, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Keser Torah of Mexico.

Divrei zikaron were then shared by Rav Malkiel Kotler, rosh yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoah; Rav Matisyahu Salomon, mashgiach of Beth Medrash Govoha; Rav Uren Reich, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Gedola of Woodlake Village; and Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Gedola Zichron Moshe of South Fallsburg.

Tehillim was recited for Yidden in Eretz Yisroel and a special video about Rav Aharon Kotler’s life and legacy was shown.

The three-tiered dais overlooked some 5,000 chairs that were set up for the event. The dais itself sat dozens of rabbonim, roshei yeshiva and admorim, many of whom traveled from a distance to take part in the event.

The dedication and groundbreaking of two new buildings to be constructed at Beth Medrash Govoah were then held. Mr. Ralph Herzka, who will be dedicating Binyan Herzka in memory of his parents, Rav Yaakov Yitzchok and Esther Herzka, spoke, as did Mr. Meir Levine of Los Angeles, who is dedicating the new Bais Yitzchok bais medrash on the site.

At that point in the program, a Sefer Torah dedicated by noted philanthropist Mr. Ira Rennert – who arrived in Lakewood via helicopter for the event – was completed, with Mr. Shimmy Glick speaking about the charity and philanthropy of the Rennert family and their efforts to help others.

The Sefer Torah was then danced to the Beren Building of the yeshiva, where it was brought o the Bendheim Bais Medrash and placed in the aron kodesh amidst lively singing.

Zemiros throughout the four-hour program were provided by Chilu Posen, Shimmy Engel and the incomparable Mezamrim Choir.

Following the completion of the hachnosas Sefer Torah, all attendees were invited to the yeshiva dining room for a festive seudah in honor of the multiple simchos of the day and the yahrtzeit of the rosh yeshiva zt”l. At the seudah, remarks were delivered by the Novominsker Rebbe, Rav Yaakov Perlow, and Rav Yaakov Eliezer Schwartzman, rosh yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoah-Lakewood East in Yerushalayim.

See below for over 500 photos of the event:

Click below for videos (additional videos to be loaded shortly):


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{ Newscenter/Photos by Flash 87, JDN/All videos property of Inc.}


  1. mi k’amcha yisroel, what other nation in the world would come together to commemorate an old man who passed away 50 years ago!!

  2. Klall Yisroel world wide are asked to please recite Tehillim and learn Torah as Zechus for the famous Magid of the generation Harav Shlomo Brevda Shlita, The name for Davening is:“Shlomo Leib ben Miriam” who is in urgent need of a Refuah Sheleimah. Once again he has been hospitalized under stressful conditions currently being in the ICU.

    The situation is so that only Tehillim & T’efilos can still help save his life.

    Before being hospitalized: Rav Brevda requested that we increase the intensity of our Tefillos during Dovening and say Tehillim (day and/or night) whenever the opportunity arises. He feels in very dire straights. Please request that a Misheberech to be said for the Rav during Kryias HaTorah.
    Thank you.
    In his zechus, please read the following:on the 50th Yahrtzeit of Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l
    In one of Rav Shlomo Brevda Shlita Droshes that he pointed out, that as much as we admire the men who learn Torah (we surely all do), we should admire their spouses and any spouse taking care of the home even more.
    The men feel the tremendous pleasure of Toiling in Torah. Working on a difficult piece an eventually seeing even a drop of light can be a tremendous feeling of ecstasy.
    However, what satisfaction do the women feel? She works hard day and night and then the kids get hurt and she* has to calm them, clean them, make supper, clean the house, laundry, Pesach clean too…….
    A woman who encourages their spouses to go and learn Torah while they take care of the home will get the fullest reward of learning Torah on the highest level in the world to come!
    Rav Brevda concluded this point by assuring that he has a very good source for this. He recalled that he heard it from Rav Aharon Kotler, z.t.l. 63 years ago (1949) the Rosh Hayeshivah and founder of the Lakewood Yeshiva the following.
    Rav Aharon said that men get a Sippuk-sense of fulfillment from learning Torah. What do the women get? We sometimes “Batul”-waste our time in middle of learning-but women are constantly busy, non stop, they don’t have Bain Hazmanim to wake up late like some men do etc.
    Rav Aharon stressed that the women will share in the reward for our learning Torah but they won’t share in any part of our Bitul Torah.
    Rav Brevda recalls that some of the “Yunger-Leit”-members of the Kolel in Lakewood where surprised and ask Rav Aharon for clarification, “Are you saying that my wife will get more out of my own Torah learning than I will?

    Rav Aharon answered emphatically, “Yah”!! Gleib mir vos ich zog!!-Yes!!! Believe me what I say!! Women are sacrificing more than men, especially in our generation. They are fully assured that they will be rewarded in full. We can never be sure if we have fully fulfilled our Tachlis in this world.

    The name for Tehillim is: “Shlomo Leib ben Miriam”