Just In: Floor Caves in at Chavrei Hakollel in Middle of Hachnosas Sefer Torah


hachnosas-sefer-torah-chavrei[Update and donate link below.] [Photos below.] Just In: Moments ago, the floor of the bais medrash of Chavrei Hakollel Zichron Binyamin Yosef in Lakewood, NJ, caved in during dancing at a Hachnosas Sefer Torah. Immediately, the building was evacuated and cordoned off, while the dancing and celebration continued outside the building, in the Chavrei Hakollel parking lot.

The Sefer Torah was dedicated by R’ Kalman and Penina Fishman l’illui nishmas R’ Chaim Reuven ben R’ Shmuel Fishman z”l. The kesivas ha’osiyos, led by noted sofer Rav Heshy Pincus, were held at the home of R’ Raphael Zucker in Village Park, with the participation of local officials, including State Senator Bob Singer and Committeeman Meir Lichtenstein, and local rabbonim and friends.

Dancing in the bais medrash as the floor gave way.
Dancing in the bais medrash as the floor gave way.

At about 3 p.m., the new Sefer Torah was danced down Cabinfield Circle and out of Village Park to the nearby Chavrei Hakollel building at 911 Somerset Avenue. Just minutes after the crowd entered the bais medrash and began dancing with gusto, the beams beneath the floor gave way. The men immediately scrambled toward the exit of the bais medrash and, boruch Hashem, there were no injuries of any sort, as the floor did not completely fall through.

Rav Shlomo Holland, following the dancing outside, told the large crowd, “One thing to learn from this is that floors don’t hold up Torah, Torah holds up floors!” 

The new Chavrei Hakollel building on Somerset Avenue opened just two months ago for the Yomim Noraim. Three years in the making, the building has served the kollel‘s multi-pronged approach to chinuch with its alternative bais medrash program. The primary goal of the yeshiva is to provide a bais medrash bochur who is serious about his learning and focusing on alternative studies with a premier chinuch education in a real yeshiva setting, utilizing his unique abilities and strengths.

The yeshiva is headed by Rav Chaim Karp and Rav Binyamin Greenspoon. Rav Shlomo Holland serves as mashgiach ruchni. Afternoon courses in business and computers are offered along with courses in carpentry and culinary cuisine.

The building is also home to the recently established Learning and Networking Kollel, founded by R’ Duvi Honig.

The first floor of the building consists of the bais medrash, an ezras noshim and library, shiur rooms, and meeting rooms. The second floor houses the kollel‘s educational wing.

It is not yet clear if there is any structural damage to the other parts of the building.

Update: Chavrei Hakollel has released the following statement to Matzav.com readers:

To everyone who expressed concern over today’s events: Thank you very much for everything. Despite what happened, we will not suspend any programs and have arranged for all our programs to continue at various places around town. Even so, the costs to repair the damage, and to fix the problem will be immense. Any help that you can give will be greatly appreciated. The emergency donation site is: https://www.jewishboxoffice.com/ch/chavreihakollel

See below for photos immediately following the evacuation:

[slideshow id=273]

See below for photos of the writing of the final osiyos and the Hachnosas Sefer Torah:

[slideshow id=274]

{Matzav.com Newscenter/Photos courtesy of Yated Ne’eman}


  1. As someone who was there, I wish to chime in with my own brilliance and give the credit to the one and only Mosey Kaplan, who has a heart the size of Texas and who cares about every bochur and anyone he has ever met. We need more people like Mosey.

  2. I once had a long conversation with noted architect baruch framovitz from bf design and he explained to me that although the code requires a certain amount of beams for a shul he would do his own cheshbonos and add more support because of the nature of the use of a shul, seems like he is right. seems like the “goieshe” architect and builder dont seem to really understand the needs of our community

  3. This incident is very disturbing, because who would design a building of millions of dollars that could fall through just like that? Is that gross incompetence? How do we know that the rest of our yeshiva and shul buildings and our own houses are all up to par?

    I am very serious about this. This should be a wake up call.

  4. Chavrei Hakollel was established in response to the growing need for a program geared to the unique challenges facing Klal Yisroel today. Our multifaceted community center offers a wide range of services for the individual, spiritual,4 and communal needs of its members. Since our inception in 2002, hundreds of students from across the nation have reaped the benefits of our innovative programs.

    Our students come not only to daven and study, but also to find friendship and a helping hand, and indeed, they find it here. The warm and caring staff of Chavrei Hakollel take a whole-life approach to the education and development of these talented young men, concerning itself with the ruchnius and gashmius, both before and after marriage. We are there with daily study sessions and classes as well as with social events and trips. We provide our members with a community where they feel truly at home.

    Chavrei Hakollel includes a full-time post-graduate kollel, Kollel Zichron Binyamin Yosef, where serious scholars devote hours each day to the in-depth study of Talmud, Halacha, and Jewish ethics. The kollel members are friends and mentors to the younger students, and their presence provides a living example of the beauty of a Torah devoted life.

  5. Everyone should join the kollel!!

    Shachris 8:15 AM
    Shachris – Sunday 9:00 AM
    Mincha 1:30, 7:00 PM
    Maariv 10:00 PM
    Maariv – Thursday 10:15 PM

    911 Somerset

  6. I was dancing there when it happened. It sunk in and I almost twisted my ankle. It was like a hammock. then we just went out. i was actuualy crazy. they kept the building open for like ten minutes after it happened.

  7. Many wedding halls are made with boucable floors. Seems like this floor was not made with any give at all, but in a very rigid manner, which might be fine for an office building but now for a shul. Usuaully an architecht takes into acount exactly what sorts of activities will take place to detetrmeine exactly how much weight and give the floor must have.

  8. I was told by one of the heads of Chavrei Hakollel that it will costs tens of thousands – maybe more – to fix the damage. It is a serious, serious thing that happened today, and the whole building will have to be inspected.

  9. Everyone in the building should bench gomel! Can you EVEN imagine what wouldve happened if the fall fell throuhg??!! People could have died!! This is NO JOKE!!

  10. I love what the article says from Rabbi Holland!! “One thing to learn from this is that floors don’t hold up Torah, Torah holds up floors!”
    I luv it!!!

  11. Business and Computers are taught by R’ Meir Pfeffer of Chai Lifeline, he give his heart and soul to the program and to the Bachruim

  12. It says above that Mincha at this place is at 7 PM, but shkiach is over an hour earlier, so that must be a mistake. Maybe that is during the summer, but not now during the winter, so someone should correct that and give readers the correct zeman. thanks.

  13. The shaychus to the bochur from Rav Tzvi’s yeshiva is that we have to say Tehillim and we have to learn Torah as a zechus for this bochur, and Chavrei is a place of Torah learning, so if we learn we won’t have a yeridah, and today’s collapse was a yeridah (a fall) to teach us to keep on shteiging no matter what. Like chavrei will keep learning and doing its programs in other places even though they can’t use the building now because learning is the power we have and we cant give it up because without torah we have nothing and we have to utilize our torah power to fight rah in this world and by learning, all the cholim will have a refuah, all the at risks will see light, all the singles will get shidduchim nd iyh Hashem wills end Moshiach bekarov.

  14. I agree 100% with #10 Yossi. This should be a call to all mosdos to have an inspector inspect their building structures now. Don’t put us or our kids in danger. Let’s make this a project for all comunities across the country.

  15. this will be front page news on the APP
    they’ll probbaly blame the Yidden for who knows what and miss the whole story. take my word.

  16. To the previous commenter about Rt. 88:

    Chavrei Hakollel used to be on Rt 88 and then moved after the summer to Somerset Ave where the accident happened today.

  17. The Torah and Kiddush HaShem protected everyone and therefore no one was hurt! There were 35 postings before mine! Didn’t anyone think like that? C’mon! Think!
    It’s taakeh a wonder how it held up on Simchas Torah and not today!
    G-t feert der velt!

  18. hey, #21 I remember the hall in Israel people died and many injured R”L, but the situation for the record was different those people were involved in an aveira-mixed dancing not a mitzva

  19. People are being very silly here, a floor could cave in regardless of the stregnth invested in the beams it’s not shyich to secure a floor one hundred percent any architect will tell you that, many reasons could be in place to why the floor caved in, but a investigation is definitely necessary but the point whig unfortunately everyone is missing is that im hashem lo yishmoir ir, shov shukad shoimer, this is a heavenly sign telling us and showing us that supporting such moisdis is worthwhile because hashem gives extra protection to a place of torah and values dearly the nidivei torah this should be the lesson from this story

  20. Oh the blindness. This past year three institutions for educating Tinokos Shel Bais Rabban closed their doors, displacing hundreds of student (upon whose learning the world continues to exist), and yet at the same time MILLIONS of dollars have been spent for the benefit of kollel yungleit on beautiful new buildings.

    So…is Hashem, perhaps, sending a message about misguided priorities? Nah…no one thinks of THAT possibility! It’s just too darned controversial a thought to suggest…so let’s just ignore it.

  21. I love what the article says from Rabbi Holland!! “One thing to learn from this is that floors don’t hold up Torah, Torah holds up floors!”

    Which begs the question…… why didnt torah hold up the floors here?

  22. 68. Comment from Shua Cohen

    FYI – The Kollel is not focused on ‘Kollel Yungerleit’. Its mainly for single boys. Its an alternative yeshiva, that works wonders!