Mesivta of Eatontown distinguishes itself among the landscape of Lakewood mosdos by successfully filling a specific niche. Built on the premise of warmth and unconditional love, the yeshiva gives struggling high school boys a place where they can learn and grow in an atmosphere of acceptance.
Last Sunday evening, Mesivta of Eatontown celebrated its eleventh anniversary dinner at Bais Yaakov Hall in Lakewood, NJ. The crowd of more than 300 attendees, comprised of devoted supporters, MOE alumni and grateful parents, enjoyed an uplifting evening of appreciation and inspiration as they paid tribute to some of the yeshiva’s most staunch supporters and recognized the everlasting impact of the yeshiva’s noble work.
The evening’s program opened with greetings from Rav Shmuel Bloom, noted speaker and mechanech.
Rav Bloom’s dynamic address centered on the brachos that Yaakov Avinu bestowed upon Shimon and Levi. As a consequence for slaughtering the city of sh’chem, the two brothers were spread out among klal yisroel. The members of shevet Shimon were appointed as the teachers of the tinokos shel beis rabban, while shevet Levi was blessed to become the kohanim and leviim who served in the Beis Hamikdash.
“These are two heilige tasks,” Rav Bloom intoned. “Why were they being given to these two brothers if Shimon and Levi did something wrong by killing out the city of sh’chem?”
Rav Bloom went on to explain, in the name of Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky zt”l, that when Dinah was kidnapped, all the other shevatim went to sleep. They ignored what was happening and didn’t bother taking any action.
“Shimon and Levi cared! They couldn’t just go to sleep as if nothing had happened,” Rav Bloom declared. “And that’s why they deserved such a gevaldig brocha.”
Rav Bloom went on to praise the brave work that MOE is taking in order to change the tide of today’s drifting youth. Like Shimon and Levi, the Rosh Yeshiva and rebbeim can’t sleep when boys are being lost to yiddishkeit.
“When most people see kids at risk,” Rav Bloom said, “they turn away. They say that it doesn’t effect them or that they’re not cut out for this kind of work. But Rabbi Kaszirer and his group of rebbeim care about what is happening to klal yisroel! When they see boys being lost, they can’t sleep! They are taking action and making a huge difference in the lives of hundreds of bachurim.”
Rav Bloom concluded his resounding speech by thanking MOE for the amazing work they did for his einekil, the Founding Talmid awardee, Mr. Yaakov Rubinovich.
“Today, Yaakov is frum, ehrlich, and a source of nachas to his family,” he said proudly. “He is happily married and has a child of his own, and together with his eishes chayil, Mrs. Rachel Rubinovich, he is building a Torah home. And it’s all thanks to the Mesivta of Eatontown.
Mr. Yaakov Rubnovich, the recipient of the Founding Talmid award, is one of MOE’s very first talmidim; he’d come from Eretz Yisroel to learn in the yeshiva when it had been situated in Yardley, Pennsylvania. Yaakov immediately felt at home in MOE, and grew tremendously during his years in the yeshiva. After graduation, Yaakov maintained his kesher with the yeshiva and helped create the MOE Alumni Association, which assembles frequently for Shabbatons, get-togethers and shiurim. Yaakov and Rachel’s vision and dedication help inspire hundreds of alumni, as they hold on to their connection to MOE and everything the yeshiva stands for.
Next, Mr. Chezky Kauftheil, noted askan who is personally involved in myriad tzarchei klal, from shidduchim to kiruv rechokim, took the podium. When Mr. Kauftheil announced that he would be dedicating an outdoor expansion at the yeshiva, the crowd broke into loud, appreciative applause. The promise of fresh open air and an expanded sports area will help the yeshiva strengthen its work, facilitate more healing, and touch more lives.
Rabbi and Mrs. Shloime and Esther Rubinfeld, a young couple who devote all their kochos to the klal, were honored with the Young Leadership award.
Rabbi Rubinfeld is a ba’al kishron who enjoys a close relationship with the Novominsker Rebbe, shlit”a. Though his days are full, Rabbi Rubinfeld finds the time to squeeze in a night seder with the MOE bachurim. His wife, Esther, is a leader in her own right, inspiring hundreds of young ladies at the Bnos Chaim Seminary in Lakewood and as the indefatigable organizer of the Peninim shiurim center. Together, the couple is on a mission to disseminate Torah hashkafos and guide the next generation. Their home is open to many MOE bachurim who bask in their warmth and glean inspiration from their simchas hachaim and derech of ongoing aliyah in ruchniyus.
Next, the Guests of Honor award was fittingly bestowed upon Mr. and Mrs. Meir and Shoshana Grunhut, a couple who embody chessed in their every action. The Grunhuts are renown for being the successful proprietors of the Astor Chocolate company, but their genuine greatness is their strict adherence to da’as torah, their open home, and their generosity of spirit as they help support dozens of Lakewood mosdos
The Grunhut home is a warm and welcoming place where orchim of every stripe find a place to rest and catch a bite. Many MOE bachurim have been fortunate to call the Grunhut house their second home and the yeshiva is grateful that this family is part of the MOE mishpacha.
Towards the evening’s close, the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Sender Kaszirer, addressed the crowd.
The Rosh Yeshiva expounded upon the theme of the evening, Mayim rabbim lo yachlu l’chabos es ha’ahava.
“Whoever steps into the doors of Mesivta of Eatontown,” proclaimed Rabbi Kaszirer, “be it a talmid, rebbi, parent, gadol b’yisroel or just a curious onlooker, knows the feeling. The ahava is palpable in the air!”
The Rosh Yeshiva continued in this vein, explaining that the ahava between a MOE bachur and the yeshiva’s rebbeim, continue long after graduation, creating a powerful, eternal link that a bachur draws strength from for years to come.
The Rosh Yeshiva’s words electrified the dinner attendees as they acknowledged that it is truly this nekudah that allows the staff of MOE to transform the lives of the hundreds of struggling boys who walk through the doors of their yeshiva.
The evening ended on a high note, as the crowd was treated to a moving music video depicting the story of a lost young boy who has fallen through the cracks in the yeshiva system. The captivated audience watched as the boy struggled to find a place to learn, a place where he would be welcomed and accepted. Finally, the boy’s search leads him to MOE, where he is greeted with open arms and an outpouring of love. Through the warmth and acceptance of the hand-picked rebbeim and the yeshiva’s atmosphere, the bachur finally finds his way home, back to a life of yiddishkeit, and growth, all because of MOE.
The music video tells the story of the hundreds of bachurim whose lives were enriched, and who were returned to a path of growth through the extraordinary mosad that is doing incredible work each and every day: the Mesivta of Eatontown.