Last week Oholei Torah alumni gathered, sat with fellow classmates and chaverim and, for a short while, relived their memories, times and good old feelings of their “Bochurshe yorhren.”
The date, the eve of the Kinus Hashluchim, was chosen due to the fact so many Shluchim are Oholei Torah alumni, and it’s the perfect opportunity and also most convenient to gather together for a reunion.
The Gutnick Ballroom was beautifully prepared with set tables according to graduating classes, a printed program and journal, and old class pictures adorned the walls.
A most dynamic and polished Master of Ceremonies, Rabbi Mendel Duchman of Los Angeles, (and a proud Oholei Torah alumnus) entertained the crowd and captivated the crowd throughout the program. R’ Mendel’s Chassideshe side, together with his special warmth, gave all the participants an enjoyable evening, a good laugh, but also an appreciation and recognition for this vast mossad, known as the Flagship school of Chabad-Lubavitch.
Rabbi Hershel Lustig, Dean of the Elementary Division opened the evening with the reading of the Rebbe’s Kapital, a video of the Rebbe followed.
A tribute was made for two classmates who recently passed away, Rabbi Levi Deitsch a”h and Rabbi Mordechai Schapiro a”h. They were represented by Rabbi Chaim Greisman of Stockholm, Sweden and Rabbi Meir Geisinsky of Cedarhurst, Long Island. A video presentation of classmates and Mashpi’im of Gabi Holtzberg, Hy”d, was shown as well.
The main speaker was Rabbi Yosef Baumgarten, Shliach and Rov in Johannesburg, South Africa, who spoke of the very early years of Oholei Torah and the great “mesirus nefesh”his parents had for the mossad. Rabbi Baumgarten, in his most eloquent way and manner, gave insight in how much the Rebbe encouraged and looked over many details as the yeshiva was just beginning.
Mashpi’im, Roshei Yeshivas and Melamdim sat together with their past talmidim, saying L’chaim and reminiscing of good times.
Video presentations were shown throughout the evening, including one of the recent building campaign of the Kindergarten in East Flatbush, now known as the Popack Building, sponsored by Yosef and Batsheva Popack of Lawrence, Long Island.
Rabbi Nosson Blumes, Director of Development, spoke on behalf of the administration, and called upon all alumni and those connected with Oholei Torah to strengthen the achdus between each other, knowing that it would surely give the Rebbe much nachas. He also thanked all those who attended despite the blizzard conditions outside, and of course Rabbi Blumes made a special mention of the evening’s sponsors.
A video presentation was shown of Rabbi Yosef Chaim Rosenfeld, Executive Director, who has led Oholei Torah into an era of tremendous growth and expansion.
The event was coordinated by Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Altein, of the Development Office.
As the evening drew to a close, many sat with R’ Mendel Duchman and closed the cold wintry night with a warm chassidishe farbrengen.
It was a true inspiration for all those who came, including the current talmidim, and gave everyone even more understanding, meaning and appreciation for being “Oholei Torahniks.”
Video: Rabbi Mendel Duchman
Rabbi Yosef Baumgarten – Johannesburg, South Africa