Yeshiva Ohavei Torah to Mark 10 Years of Excellence in Harbotzas HaTorah at Dinner Tonight


gemara-learningFriends and supporters of Yeshiva Ohavei Torah of Riverdale will gather tonight for the yeshiva‘s 10th Anniversary Dinner at the Glenpointe Marriot in Teaneck, NJ. This milestone event will celebrate a decade of commitment by Ohavei Torah’s dedicated faculty and administration, and serve as a tribute to the yeshiva‘s unique contribution to harbotzas haTorah.

What’s in a name? Sometimes, a name represents an aspiration, which the bearer of the name endeavors to achieve. Other times, albeit quite rarely, a name can be an articulation of an underlying essence or dynamic.

At Yeshiva Ohavei Torah of Riverdale, the name of the yeshiva serves not only as its motto but also as its raison d’être. For over a decade now, the yeshiva has pioneered an approach that focuses on ahavas haTorah not necessarily as the end goal, but, more importantly, as a means of achieving the goal.

“Fostering a love and a passion for learning is the key to setting a young bochur on the path to success,” says Rabbi Chaim Pechter, the menahel at Ohavei Torah. “The sweet taste of success and the fulfillment that comes from mastering a difficult sugyah is empowering. It provides the talmid with crucial simchas hachaim and a healthy sense of self-confidence. These, I would say, are the vital elements which give a bochur the impetus to aim for the stars. Literally, the sky becomes the limit.”

The rabbeim at the yeshiva attest to the unique atmosphere that is the hallmark of Ohavei Torah. It’s actually an interesting combination of conformity and informality at the same time.       

“The overall sense of camaraderie amongst the rabbeim and the talmidim is a phenomenon which is uncommon amongst yeshivos in general,” says Rabbi Dovid Kaufman, maggid shiur for Ohavei Torah’s ninth grade.

Rabbi Kaufman notes that the yeshiva faculty strives very hard to create and maintain this type of atmosphere. “The rabbeim are given a great deal of leeway for creativity in reaching and in dealing with each and every talmid in a way that suits him best. Virtually all of the rabbeim maintain an ongoing kesher with the entire student body on a personal level. It’s very much like family here. Bochurim are driven to excel simply by way of the recognition they receive, and out of a sense of ‘living-up’ to what the yeshiva expects from them. There’s a personal feeling of achrayus towards what our yeshiva represents.”

Striving for excellence and not settling for anything less than perfection are central themes, which the yeshiva seeks to imbue in its talmidim. These are core values that will ultimately prepare them for all aspects of life.

Indeed, excellence is what primarily draws both parents and talmidim to Ohavei Torah. Mr. Yiddy Scharf is a prominent high-profile attorney, as well as a longtime parent and chairman of the yeshiva‘s upcoming dinner. He notes that, “The high level of the shiurim and the distinguished caliber of the maggidei shiur are paralleled by the yeshiva‘s first-rate general studies division. That is actually what really impressed me the most. You simply don’t find such a well-rounded combination out there today. The physical structure and amenities of the yeshiva also reflect this passion for perfection. I believe that all of these play a crucial role in generating an enthusiasm for excellence amongst the talmidim.”

Yet, despite the high-level curriculum and high expectations, the yeshiva‘s eleventh grade maggid shiur, Rabbi Yehuda Goldfeder, notes an important distinction. “The difference lies in how we go about achieving it,” says Rabbi Goldfeder. “While we make it clear to our talmidim exactly what it is that we expect from them, we also make it unequivocally clear that we have full confidence in their ability to get there. Each and every talmid knows full well that the hanhala stands behind him every step of the way, and that we are ready to provide him with whatever it is he needs to achieve. This may include, among other things, a heart-to-heart pep talk, a hearty pat on the back, or even a warm embrace at times.”

The highlight of the dinner tonight will be the dedication of the Melohn Bais Medrash by the evening’s Guests of Honor, Mr. and Mrs. Leon Melohn. The bais medrash will perpetuate the legacy of one of Klal Yisroel‘s veteran patrons of Torah, Reb Yosef Hacohen Melohn z”l. As longtime parents and generous friends of Ohavei Torah, the yeshiva looks forward to presenting this tribute to the Melohns as a token of appreciation for their loyal patronage and partnership.

The Avodas Hakodesh Award will be presented to Rabbi and Mrs. Yaakov Luban. A noted talmid chochom of stature, Rav Luban is the Executive Rabbinic Coordinator at the Orthodox Union and the rov of Khal Ohr Torah in Edison, New Jersey. This award is in recognition of Rabbi and Mrs. Luban’s commitment to Ohavei Torah as dedicated parents of the yeshiva, as well as their lifelong devotion to Klal Yisroel as a whole.

Rabbi and Mrs. Mordechai Swiatycki will be bestowed with the Marbitz Torah Award, in recognition of their outstanding impact in the kiruv rechokim arena. In his capacity as segan rosh kollel at Ohr Somayach, Rav Swiatycki and his aishes chayil have literally transformed the lives of hundreds of talmidim and their families. The yeshiva takes pride in counting this virtual legend in kiruv and harbotzas haTorah amongst its past parents and continued supporters.

For more information about the yeshiva, call 718.432.2600.

{By Nochum Mozes/ Newscenter}