Jewish Educational Trade School (JETS), the innovative Los Angeles-based yeshiva that combines Torah learning with real-world skills, celebrated the many accomplishments of its students and graduates, as well as the ordination of 11 Smicha students, at its June Banquet.
Culminating its 14th year, JETS was proud to celebrate the many accomplishments of its students at its June Banquet. The banquet was emceed by one of the graduates, the indomitable and highly entertaining Koby Lerner.
After introductory remarks by Founder and Director Rabbi Mayer Schmukler, Levi Laber addressed the students and the audience, comparing the time post-graduation to the day after the NFL season is over. Just as every team is constantly looking toward the next play, the JETS team, while acknowledging their past accomplishments, is constantly looking toward building a sustainable future.
Dayan Rabbi Elchonon Tauber, who runs the Smicha ordination program, presented the certificates of achievement to the Smicha graduates: Noach Wilansky, Yitzchok Kessler, Isser Brikman, Menachem Rabin, Chaim Moshe Lerner, Schneur Sternbach, Mendel Segelman, Zalman Borenstein, Dovber Naparstek, Mendel Fayershteyn, and Yosef Elgarten.
“Rabbi Tauber has spent the year educating and inspiring the next wave of rabbis,” Lerner, the emcee said. “Rabbi Tauber taught us to be mensches, to respect ourselves and others and to conduct ourselves as a true Jew. He has taught us beyond the book. And for that I am eternally grateful.”
The audience was then treated to a keynote speech and performance by Peter Himmelman, son-in-law of the world-renowned musician Bob Dylan, accompanied by JETS graduate Mark Sadovnik on the drums.
Rabbi Boruch Krinsky, who teaches a class on the Laws of Kashrus and Hashgacha, presented students with mashgiach certificates. Rabbi Mendel Zirkind, who teaches a unique Gemara class called Cognitive Development Through Learning Gemara, recognized his students.
Yitzi Kessler and Noach “Nachy” Wilansky then gave awards to the Judaic staff, shluchim, and support staff in appreciation of their efforts. The love and admiration the students have for the staff was palpable.
“There are a group of guys here that I can attribute a lot of, not only my growth, but most of the students’ growth – that’s to the shluchim,” Wilansky said. ”
The shluchim were here for a full year, dedicating their lives every single day to ensure the students all grow in their own individual way and become better people. The countless farbrengens, their incredible mivtzahs, the low-key coffee runs, and even the fun Sunday trips… Thanks to them, the students now have a deeper appreciation of life, Judaism, other people, and, most importantly, ourselves.”
Noah Bastomski gave awards to the secular teachers in appreciation of their efforts. High school equivalency diplomas were then awarded to Zalman Borenstein, Schneur Zalman Jacobson, Yosef Kogan, Yosef Kuperman, Yaakov Wasserman, Noach Wilansky, Yisroel Sebbag, and Menachem Rabin.
Additionally, certificates were given in Culinary Arts, Construction, Muay Thai Kickboxing & Fitness, and Microsoft Excel.
A number of students were recognized for having taken college courses, and several students completed courses in Real Estate, Personal Training, and Accounting. Aside from all the courses, students took classes on personal finance and wealth building, and guest lecturers from many different business sectors gave classes throughout the year.
JETS said it is proud of the fact that many graduates find lucrative positions in their fields shortly after they graduate (and sometimes even before they graduate).
Mendy Schusterman reflected on his experiences as a student: “I came into this year having no clue what to expect and having no clue who I was. My Yiddishkeit was in disarray, as was my perspective on life and friendship . . . On the first day, I was shown the immense kindness of the staff in JETS—when I was so lost trying to get here, Rabbi Smith literally had to Facetime me while I was in my Uber.
“Throughout the year, I started to notice little, subtle changes in myself. I seemed to be maturing at a pace more rapid than I have ever before experienced. My year in JETS changed me for the better, my Yiddishkeit had a stronger footing, as well as my maturity and my emotional health. The rabbis in JETS changed my outlook on Yiddishkeit from a boring, monotonous lifestyle to something you could tangibly feel and get excited about. Davening turned to dancing and learning turned into living . . . JETS is not a school, but rather, JETS is a family, and a tight-knit one at that.”
In the coming year, JETS looks forward to expanding its offerings. As part of its mission to make Yiddishkeit more practical, JETS will be further developing its Judaic program to include critical skills such as public speaking, communication, writing, and time management that will set students up for success. JETS is also excited to open a new Digital Department next year, including courses in video, web, and digital marketing. Additionally, JETS is further enhancing its successful mentor program, which continues to support alumni after graduation.
To learn more, visit https://www.jetsschool.org/book-a-consultation.