This Shabbos: Chanukas Habayis Celebration for the Chofetz Chaim Torah Center of Cedarhurst


rav_aryeh_zev_ginzbergThe Chofetz Chaim Torah Center of Cedarhurst, under the leadership of Rav Aryeh Z. Ginzberg, will be holding a special Shabbos of Torah and shirah to celebrate the chanukas habayis of the mikdash me’atcompleted a few months ago. This Shabbos, Parshas Shemini-Parah, the entire Cedarhurst/Woodmere community will participate in a Shabbos that will feature two very special guests who will surely inspire everyone with Torah and shirah throughout the Shabbos.

The shul was actually completed several months ago, but with the difficult winter this year, and with the idea that it would be fitting to have the chanukas habayis Shabbos take place close to Chodesh Nissan when Klal Yisroel celebrated the completion of the Mishkan, this Shabbos was selected for this special celebration.

The guest scholar and speaker for this Shabbos will be the renowned author, maggid shiur, rov and talmid chochom, Rav Noach Isaac Oelbaum, rov of Khal Nachals Yitzchok in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens. Though Rav Oelbaum usually does not leave his kehillah for Shabbos due to the many shiurim that he delivers, his close friendship with Rav Ginzberg prompted him to agree to participate in this special Shabbos.

In addition to the special guest speaker, it was important to the kehillah to have someone who can inspire everyone with davening and zemiros. Again, the choice was simple. Rav Ginzberg has a decades-old, deep friendship with the renowned baal tefilla, Reb Abish Brodt, who will join the kehillah for Shabbos along with his talented son, Reb Nechemia. They will serve as baalei tefillah and will lead the zemiros at the oneg Shabbos and seudah shlishis.

There will be a full schedule of shiurim and programs over Shabbos. Kabbolas Shabbos will be led by Reb Abish Brodt, along with his son Reb Nechemia. Later that night, an oneg Shabbos will take place at the home of Rav Ginzberg. Rav Oelbaum will share divrei Torah and the Brodts will lead zemiros. The chairman of the evening will be Ahron Weiss.

Shabbos morning will begin with an 8 a.m. Chumash shiur by Rav Oelbaum, a highlight for the many who have attended the rov’s Shabbos shiur in Kew Gardens Hills. From as far away as Hillcrest and Jamaica estates, each week, in all forms of weather, people flock to attend this wonderful shiur. The davening will begin at 9 a. m., and the tefillos will be led by Reb Abish Brodt. The drasha will be given by Rav Oelbaum, with introductory remarks from Rav Ginzberg, who will welcome all the guests participating in the chanukas habayis Shabbos and express his hakoras hatov to all those who  helped to ensure that the dream of a new mikdash me’at could become a reality. After davening, there will be a gala Kiddush for the whole community, with the participation of many of the community rabbonim.

Shabbos afternoon, from 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., all boys under bar mitzvah age will be able to meet and hear divrei Torah from Rav Oelbaum. At 6 p.m., there will be a minyan for Minchah, followed by seudah shlishis with zemiros from Reb Abish and Reb Nechemia Brodt. Rav Oelbaum will deliver divrei Torah. The seudah shlishis will be for men only due to limited space.

Rav Ginzberg explains that a chanukas habayis is not just a cause for celebration. It  is also a cause for obligation. Along with the zechus of a new shul comes the obligation for more learning, additional shiurim, more chessed activities, and a more inspiring davening. A shul can never be satisfied with prior accomplishments, but must forge ahead with innovative ideas and programs, to continue to lead every man and woman to greater spiritual heights.

Rav Ginzberg fondly remembers his great rebbi, the late rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim, Rav Henach Leibowitz zt”l, who never looked back on what he accomplished, but rather looked for new opportunities to spread Torah and to make a kiddush Hashem. Even at an advanced age, when he barely had the strength to stand up, after having founded dozens of branches and affiliates around the country and Eretz Yisroel, he would nevertheless ask Rav Ginzberg what he could do to spread Torah in the community.

“There is not a day,” Rav Ginzberg says, “that I don’t look over my shoulder and wonder to myself, ‘Would the rosh yeshiva be proud of what we have accomplished so far in the building of the shul and the community?’ I truly believe that he would, indeed.”

{Noam Newscenter}


  1. “Later that night, an oneg Shabbos will take place …. and the Brodts will lead zemiros. The chairman of the evening will be Ahron Weiss.”

    Ah, only in America. A group of shtarke bnei torah and baalei battim get together to sing zmiros in shabbos, and they still need a “chairman for the evening.”