Video: 3,000 Gather for Darchei Torah Historic Chanukas Habayis


rav-bender-darchei[Video below.] Yeshiva Darchei Torah, a powerhouse among American yeshivos that has transformed not only the Far Rockaway/Five Towns community where it is located, but also the face of chinuch in America, celebrated a massive chanukas habayis at its new complex this past Sunday, with the participation of thousands. An estimated 3,000 people participated in the chanukas habayis of the yeshiva‘s new complex in Far Rockaway in an emotion-laden day of celebration, inspiration and kavod haTorah. The day marked the formal dedication of the yeshiva‘s new 186,000-square-foot complex.

The day began with the completion of a Sefer Torah that was started two years ago in honor of the rabbeim of the yeshiva. The hachnosas Sefer Torah took place throughout the streets of Far Rockaway with music, dancing and singing, as the Torah was accompanied to its home in the new complex. The joyous event concluded with the unveiling of the dedications and an assembly, where gedolim addressed the audience. A concurrent program of entertainment was available for children.

The synthesis of Torah and chessed is a hallmark of Yeshiva Darchei Torah. It infuses the interactions among the rosh hayeshiva, Rav Yaakov Bender, the rabbeim and the talmidim, as well as their relations with the entire yeshiva staff and beyond. Countless acts of both quiet and dramatic chessed take place within the yeshiva, where the path of Torah and chessed is exemplified by the mechanchim in their unswerving and passionate commitment to the needs of the individual and their devotion to the needs of the community.

Yeshiva Darchei Torah was founded in 1972 by Reb Yisroel Bloom z”l, when Far Rockaway proper lacked a yeshivae lementary school. It has grown to more than 1,600 talmidim today, arguably the largest yeshiva of its kind in the tri-state area. The yeshiva consists of a preschool, elementary school, junior high school, mesivta, and bais medrash, and a thriving kollelTalmidim in the mesivta and bais medrash come not only from the local community, but also cities around the country. Its alumni have gone on to become rabbonimmenahelimmechanchim, professionals, and businessmen.

Remarkably, the yeshiva remains a warm environment where the yochid does not get lost in the numbers. This is accomplished through a highly decentralized management structure that empowers division menahelim and rabbeim alike, who maintain a close personal familiarity and connection with their talmidim. Regular collaborative meetings are held within and across the yeshiva‘s various divisions, as are frequent sessions with the rosh hayeshiva. Rav Bender is personally involved with students who have different kinds of special circumstances, gives weekly shiurim and shmuessenin the mesivta and bais medrash, and still comes to the preschool every week to passionately learn a new ois of the Alef-Bais with about 120 kindergarten children.

The yeshiva has been a trailblazer. In 1981, it opened an in-house resource center for children with special learning needs, the first of its kind. The center went on to become the renowned Rabenstein Learning Center, which has made a successful Torah education possible for boys who would otherwise have difficulty thriving in a mainstream environment. The Center now offers special services for gifted talmidim as well. Again, in 1995, the yeshiva stepped up to the plate, establishing the Weiss Vocational Program, whose students engage in limud haTorah in the morning and secular studies in the early afternoon, while learning a trade in the later afternoon hours.

Yet another and different kind of foresight has had a transforming impact on the community. The yeshiva‘s development arm, with private financing, has revitalized a run-down section of Far Rockaway in the vicinity of the yeshiva. The initiative has attracted many young frum families to the community, as affordable and respectable housing became available.

Yeshiva Darchei Torah’s rosh hayeshiva is the visionary and driving force behind these innovations. He was brought into the yeshiva as a rebbi in 1978, and was soon promoted to menahel. In recognition of its outstanding contributions to Jewish education, the yeshiva was singled out by Torah Umesorah, becoming the first to receive the Excellence in Education Award, in 1995. Rav Bender and his team of leading mechanchim are sought out as advisors and speakers bymosdos in the United States, Europe and Latin America, and Yeshiva Darchei Torah has become a model that others seek to emulate.

This multi-faceted makom Torah recently underwent an epic expansion to accommodate the explosive growth that has accompanied a major influx of frum families to the Far Rockaway and Five Towns community. The elementary school was housed in a one-story building interconnected with a proliferation of prefab trailers that had a limited useful life and could not keep pace with the need for more classrooms, as many new parallel classes were added.

The massive new complex, consisting of four interconnected buildings and clocking in at 186,000 square feet, is situated near the mesivta on the yeshiva‘s nine-acre campus. It houses the preschool, elementary school and junior high school, as well as the Rabenstein Learning Center, computer and science labs, a Teacher Training Center, the Diamond Bais Medrash, an enormous dining hall, two modern kitchens for milchigs and fleshigs, and the yeshiva‘s executive offices. The building has many safety and energy efficiency features, and the grounds are being upgraded with new playgrounds, athletic courts, and parking facilities.

The cost of the project was met through favorable financing terms. The community has responded generously with major donations and a growing multitude of other contributions to the ongoing building campaign. Foundations have also provided valuable funding for this vital undertaking.

As Rabbi Zev Bald, the yeshiva‘s director of development, declares, “It is heartwarming to see how many families, foundations, and individuals have risen to the occasion and made dedications for the new complex, thereby helping to secure the future of Torah education.  Many more opportunities remain. It is an historic opportunity.”

Click below to watch:

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{ Newscenter/Video filmed by Shimon Gifter}


  1. a truly amazing kiddush hashem and i am very happy to be part if the this wonderful simcha

  2. I am happy that I was able to take part at this event
    The speech of rabbi bender as well of mr lowinger really moved me it was a massive kiddush hashem