Lakewood, NJ – Of the many byproducts of the explosive growth of Lakewood, high upon the totem pole is undoubtedly that of the influx of mosdos hachinuch. The recent past has seen the creation of many worthy chadorim, mesivtos and girls elementary and high schools in virtually every corner of the town. It is only natural, as the crown jewel in the Torah world, that Lakewood boasts among the finest educational institutions in the nation and across the globe.
It is precisely in such a crowded market of chinuch excellence that one name rings louder than all. Rabbi Shlomo Chaim Kanarek has been a household name in Lakewood for over two decades. Indeed, with six mosdos, including three chadorim, and over four thousand tinokos shel bais rabbon under his guiding hand, it is a distinction well deserved. Time and again, Rabbi Kanarek has recognized the call for action to serve the children of Lakewood and has responded with a resounding, “Yes,” first with an elementary school for girls, Bais Rivka Rochel, followed a few years later by Bais Shaindel High School.
In 2005, Rabbi Kanarek realized a long-time dream, as he yet again filled a gap in Lakewood, this time by way of a boys cheder, Yeshiva Toras Aron. Here, too, with the sense of vision that has characterized him from the start, Rabbi Kanarek began the fledgling school with two parallel classes. The following year, there was yet another parallel class joining the ranks. In true “Kanarek style,” Yeshiva Toras Aron continued to expand the next year to accommodate the swelling numbers of young families, with a fourth parallel class, quickly making Yeshiva Toras Aron one of Lakewood’s largest mosdos.
As the Alef-Bais yingelach turned the pages of their Chumash and Rashi, the impact of the dream was just beginning to be felt. Soon, the pioneers were ready to chart their way through Torah Shebaal Peh, as the sweet sounds of Maseches Brachos joyously filled the hallways, soon to be followed by the rischa de’Oraysa of Gemara. Toras Aron had become the unequivocal choice of bnei Torah.
Today, Toras Aron educates close to one thousand talmidim in thirty five classes on a beautiful picturesque campus in the back roads of Lakewood. Guided by the menahel, Rabbi Hershel Rawicki, and his team of three s’gan menahalim, is the secret behind Toras Aron success: the rabbeim. The pride and joy of the yeshiva, this most unique group of talmidei chachomim and yirei Shomayim expertly and lovingly guide their precious charges through these developmental years. From their very first day of primary, the hallways of Toras Aron are abounding with the lively cheer of children, who love their home away from home. It is this simchas haTorah coupled with simchas hachaim that is the hallmark of Toras Aron.
More importantly than the quantity is the trademark quality of Toras Aron chinuch. To ensure the wholesome success of every child, special programs are commonplace at Toras Aron. Aptly named “Rebbi and Me” gives each rebbi weekly opportunities to have one-on-one time with each talmid, connecting with each one as an individual and charting his personal growth. Extracurricular limudim on halachah, including brachos and the 39 melachos, are taught by special rabbeim during this period. For the older boys, incentive programs such as shakla vetarya and Gemara baal peh testing by dedicated bochnim have greatly enhanced their command of the masechtos, with 85% of the boys being up to date on shakla vetarya and over thirty seventh and eighth graders having been orally tested on the entire first perek in Maseches Gittin, word for word. Stimulating displays on hilchos Shabbos and Mishnayos Sukkah, as well as science and reading fairs, bring lessons to life.
Yearly bein adam lachaveiro initiatives encourage personal growth. A dedicated wing accommodating kriah specialists, tutors and therapists provides special educational support in a quest to guarantee the maximum progress of each child.
Presently, Toras Aron is preparing for its greatest milestone since its inception, as the maiden group, now numbering sixty in three classes, will be graduating. It is a surreal feeling for the hanhalah and rabbeim, who observe the fruits of their combined labor of love. The once shy, timid youngsters have, under their careful tutelage, matured into confident bnei Torah soon to be attending the most prestigious mesivtos in Lakewood and beyond.
Toras Aron feels an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and pride as it prepares to graduate young bochurim who are truly the realization of the yeshiva‘s hopes and dreams. Toras Aron credits their amazing hatzlachah to pure siyata diShmaya on every step of this journey.
Yeshiva Toras Aron will be celebrating this momentous milestone with parents, grandparents and friends of the yeshiva at its annual dinner on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 15th. Quite fittingly, the guest of honor will be the esteemed menahel, Rabbi Rawicki, the man behind the extraordinary hatzlachah of the graduates and all of the talmidim.
Rabbi and Mrs. Yitzchok Silber, founding parents, will receive the Avodas Hakodesh Award. R’ Yitzy, a much beloved baal halachah available to all those who seek his halachic proficiency, is uniquely suited to be the recipient of such recognition.
Rabbi Yeshaya Perlow, a most beloved primary rebbi at Toras Aron, will receive the Rebbi of the Year Award in memory of his late father, Rav Berel Perlow zt”l.
Yeshiva Toras Aron realizes that any nachas is only theirs to share with the esteemed parents and grandparents of the talmidim. Indeed, it’s a mutual feeling of partnership that completes the Toras Aron family. The involvement of grandparents in the goings-on of the yeshiva is of particular significance. This year’s dinner will be graced with the distinguished participation of two honored grandparents. Rabbi Heshy Arem, himself a mechanech of note and prominent oseik betzorchei tzibbur, will be the dinner chairman. Rav Moshe Weinberger, rov of Agudas Yisroel of Flatbush, will be the guest speaker.
The collective display of kavod haTorah and hakoras hatov for Rabbi Kanarek and his yeshiva will be a great chizuk to all those who have been a part of this history in the making.