Tonight: Yeshiva Ohavei Torah of Riverdale’s Annual Dinner


pechterAre parents stuck in an unsolvable quandary? Is there no “guide for perplexed parents” when it comes to having everything you want in one yeshiva? Most people, resigned to the reality that a yeshiva will either provide stronger limudei kodesh or limudei chol, just accept that the “other department” cannot be as good as hoped for. Yet, in Riverdale, NY, a mosad haTorah seems to have found a way to break through this dilemma and will soon be celebrating its eleventh anniversary of finding that delicate balance. With careful insight and planning into what it takes to create healthy young men who can relish the lightheartedness of youth, yet still aim toward the responsibilities of adulthood, Yeshiva Ohavei Torah has come up with a formula which has won acclaim from parents, yeshivos gedolos, and, most importantly, the talmidim themselves.

How does Ohavei Torah succeed? By allowing bochurim to have meaningful goals that challenge yet remain within reach. Astute mechanchim agree. If a bochur is presented with accessible objectives, each triumph is mechazeik him to eagerly approach the next rung. However, if a youngster is called upon to act in a way that is clearly beyond his years and his grasp, to act as one who has already achieved sophisticated levels in learning, when in truth he is only beginning that journey, it can be extremely detrimental to his ability to shteig. Feeling that one doesn’t measure up doesn’t convince a bochur that expectations were unrealistic; it convinces him that he’s a failure. When a rebbi lovingly shows a bochur, step by step, how to move safely into the mature status of a talmid chochom, and how to enjoy the process, he instills and ensures a cheishek to “go veiter.”

Successful relationships factor in heavily in helping build talmidim. The Ohavei Torah Kollel, a vital part of the yeshiva, provides in-house role models who meld with the goals the talmidim strive for. The kollel yungeleit model a lifestyle that rings true for the bochurim. Events such as the Annual Retreat, where talmidim come together with the rabbeim and kollel and their respective families, provide a sense of achdus and camaraderie that carries through the entire year.

A prime part of this critical balance depends on appropriately integrating secular skills, taught by highly professional educators who know not only their subject, but how to teach it. Whether reaching for excellence in math and the physical sciences or in enhanced communication – in verbal and written self-expression and learning how to listen with understanding – the expectations are the same: give it your all. This dovetailing of limudei chol with limudei kodesh, far from acting as a dividing force among Yidden, can actually strengthen bonds by creating self-assured, articulate bnei Torah.

The process of building self-assurance must be alert to even seemingly minor details. Since typical teen concerns include whether there will be a decent lunch or not, or how difficult the ride home will be, a yeshiva needs to pay attention to providing meals that boys look forward to and transportation they can rely on. The bottom line is that from the smallest to the most significant aspects, everything in a yeshiva must work in sync to assure success.

Accolades from yeshivos gedolos reinforce the Ohavei Torah formula of simchas hachaim and ameilus baTorah. Quoting the menahel, Rav Chaim Pechter, “Reports that our talmidim distinguish themselves as wholesome young men, who live up to expectations, who display emotional and social maturity both in and out of yeshiva, are very heartening. While it’s very gratifying to see bochurim accomplishing and growing into healthy, positive bnei Torah, it provides tremendous chizuk to hear it from the yeshivos in which they continue their bais medrash learning.”

Yiddy Scharf, dinner chairman for Ohavei Torah, invites prospective parents to meet with the current parent body at the annual dinner, tonight, at the Glenpointe Marriott and to see the video of the yeshiva in action. This year’s honorees, Dr. and Mrs. Yakov Kiffel, Mr. and Mrs. Mordchai Krausz, and Rabbi and Mrs. Siggy Handelman are all upstanding examples of this type of balanced accomplishment. Find out how commitment to the primacy of limudei kodesh can successfully co-exist with outstanding academics and life-enhancing skills, resulting in talmidim who feel energized, successful and gratified in all their endeavors.

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