The Hadar HaTorah and Machon Chana Grand Hakhel Dinner took place on this past Tuesday evening at Espace, a relatively new event hall in Mid-town Manhattan with nearly 300 people in attendance.
The evening was truly outstanding and began with a delicious buffet dinner. At the start of the program, the room filled with the image and voice of the Rebbe speaking about Hakhel. The short clip of the sicha was a powerful reminder to all present of the importance of publicizing Hakhel.
Rabbi Yitzchok Hecht, Shliach of the Rebbe in Ulster County, welcomed everyone. Dinner Chairman Zechariah Lipitz, an alumnus of Hadar HaTorah, introduced current Hadar HaTorah student Yosef Niezhnov. Mr. Niezhnov enthusiastically described how bringing a group of children from his native Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, to spend Tishrei with the Rebbe led to him studying full-time in the yeshiva.
After a short video about Hadar HaTorah was shown, including a dynamic audio clip from Rabbi J.J. Hecht obm, Mr. Lipitz introduced Rabbi Yaakov Goldberg, beloved Rosh Yeshiva for nearly 50 years, to introduce and present a plaque to Hadar HaTorah honoree (and alumnus) Mr. Chona Gewirtz, esq. Mr. Gewitz shared memories of “his days” at Hadar Hatorah.
Dinner Journal Chairwoman Mrs. Yehudis Cohen, an alumna of Machon Chana and now assistant principal, brought the evening’s focus to the Machon Chana honorees, paying tribute to dorm parents Rabbi Yitzchok and Mrs. Gita Gansburg in memoriam.
Tal Portal, a current Machon Chana student spoke. She shared that while she never met Mrs. Gansburg, she felt a strong connection to her. A short but very moving video created from an archived interview with Rabbi and Mrs. Gansburg obm about Machon Chana was shown.
Rabbi Shloma Majeski, devoted long-time principal of Machon Chana, then shared a few words about the Gansburgs. He welcomed Rabbi Yossi Gansburg, Shliach of the Rebbe in Toronto, and presented him with a plaque in honor of his parents.
Rabbi Gansburg accepted the plaque on behalf of himself and his sisters, sharing stories portraying the legendary dedication that the Gansburgs exhibited as the dorm parents of Machon Chana. Rabbi Gansburg also shared a simple but profound insight into the quality of unity that we need to have as a preparation for the Giving of the Torah on Shavuos.
The Hakhel evening flowed; guests continuously commented that they were having a great time. “Everyone spoke short and to the point,” said one attendee. “It was a thoroughly inspiring program!” said another.
A special celebration at the Grand Hakhel Dinner was the Sheva Brachos of Hadar HaTorah and Machon Chana alumni Chananya and Chaya Mindel Roth who were married on Lag B’Omer. The chosson is also close with the Gewirtz family, honorees of the evening.
After the Sheva Brachos, the winning raffle for the dollar of the Rebbe was picked by Rebbetzin Chava Hecht. The winners were Rabbi Shmuel and Rivka Hildeschaim.
A delicious assortment of desserts and fresh fruit topped off the evening. There was a unique atmosphere of unity and simcha at the event; people lingered until long after the desserts were finished and the tables were cleared.
“Classy and warm simultaneously,” was the best description that one of the attendees came up with. “It was simply an enjoyable evening,” people said over and over again.
The evening was flawlessly planned and executed by Mrs. Ruchi Shemtov of N.C.F.J.E.
For more information about Hadar HaTorah visit hadarhatorah.org. For more information about Machon Chana visit machonchanayeshiva.com