Yeshiva Darchei Torah has announced the appointment of Rabbi Joel Kaplan as executive director of the yeshiva. In this role, Rabbi Kaplan will be overseeing various aspects of the yeshiva’s administration, including the management of tuition.
“Reb Joel is uniquely suited for this important position,” said Rabbi Yaakov Bender, rosh hayeshiva of YDT. “He is a multi-talented individual who brings a broad range of relevant experience to this mission. Most importantly, he is a leader and a doer. I can think of no better choice.”
Rabbi Kaplan is the current chief executive officer of the On Our Way Learning Center in Far Rockaway, a preschool for developmentally challenged children. From 1994 to 2011, he served as executive director of the United Jewish Council of the East Side.
Rabbi Kaplan’s connection to Yeshiva Darchei Torah is a deep and longstanding one. He and his wife Leah are the parents of Darchei talmidim and alumni (their oldest son joined in 1986; their youngest is a current Mesivta Chaim Shlomo bochur) and the grandparents of several current talmidim. In addition, Joel served as executive vice-president of Yeshiva Darchei Torah in the early 1990s, an administrative position, and has been an active lay leader of the yeshiva throughout the last three decades, including a stint as president from 1988 to 1990.
“Yeshiva Darchei Torah is one of the finest yeshivos in the country,” said Rabbi Kaplan. “Among its many qualities are its sacred mission to reach every talmid, its excellence in limudei kodesh and limudei chol, its stellar faculty, and its physical facilities. Running such a yeshiva comes at great financial cost, and our parents are the primary bearers of that cost, through tuition. It is a tremendous challenge for all parents, of all income levels. I look forward to engaging with every parent in a sensitive and caring manner to work together for our yeshiva. Our parents are not only our partners in the chinuch of the children. They are our shareholders.”
Rabbi Kaplan succeeds the late Rabbi Yehuda Harbater z”l, who passed away suddenly in February, having served as executive director of Yeshiva Darchei Torah for over 32 years. “Rabbi Harbater was known for his unwavering commitment to the yeshiva’s wellbeing, and his equally strong determination to work with each parent in a fair and compassionate fashion,” said Rabbi Bender. “He left large shoes to fill. We are confident that, be’ezras Hashem, Reb Joel is amply qualified to succeed on both counts.”
A native of Borough Park, Rabbi Kaplan holds a J.D. from Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law and a B.A. from Touro College, and was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1981. He serves as the chazzan of Congregation Beth Sholom in Lawrence, New York, and lives with his family in Far Rockaway.