By D. Maimon and B. Kaplan
Yeshiva Darchei Torah will be holding its 40th annual dinner on January 6 on its campus in Far Rockaway.
Guests of Honor: Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Landa. The Landas have been friends and supporters of the yeshiva since 2000 when Ben became the owner of Brookhaven Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, situated across the street from the yeshiva. They recently became yeshiva parents as well, when their son Sheya joined Beis Medrash Heichal Dovid.
Ben is renowned for his philanthropy and support of Jewish organizations and mosdos in the United States and Israel. “He’s a caring, generous person,” says his daughter, Dina Hirsch. “He supports a lot of worthy causes and Jewish institutions. My father goes out of his way to employ Jews at his nursing homes and gives generously to some of the settlements in Israel in need of financial assistance.”
Ben is active in his own neighborhood, as well. He is one of the leading members of two Brooklyn shuls, Be’er Mordechai and Merkaz Bracha, where Rav Moshe Sevitzky and Rav Dovi Chein serve respectively as rav.
Ben received his formative spiritual influence from his father, Rav Yehoshua Boruch Landa, a’h, of Bishkov, Czechoslovakia, where Rav Landa served as a rav before the Holocaust. He and his rebbetzin, Chaya Sarah Landa, a’h, immigrated to America after the war. They settled in Newark, New Jersey, where Ben’s father once more assumed the mantle of rav, and later relocated to Borough Park.
Mrs. Judy Landa is an alumna of Bais Yaakov of Borough Park. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Janklowicz, a’h, “were big ba’alei tzedakah and were very close to the Skverer and Spinka Rebbes,” recalls her son, Mayer Fishel.
“My mother is a dedicated daughter who was always there for her parents when they were sick. Her mother is still alive, baruch Hashem, and my mother goes to visit her daily. She helps various poor families, has cooked meals for others, and helps in a quiet unassuming way with hachnosas kallah,” says Mayer.
Ben studied in Yeshiva Torah Vodaath and, as a young man, earned a degree from Adelphi University. His entrepreneurial skill launched him into business early in life. “Ethics are important to him,” says Dina. He taught us by his example to value fairness and integrity in business, and to reach out a helping hand to other Jews.”
The yeshiva is privileged to have such special guests as honorees and trusts the relationship will continue for many more fruitful years.
Alumnus of the Year: Mr. and Mrs. Yisroel Salamon. When Yisroel Salamon was a talmid at the yeshiva in the early 1990s, the entire school occupied just one rented hallway on the current campus, which was owned by the Hartman Y. Today the yeshiva owns the campus and fills quite a few hallways. But to Yisroel, not much has essentially changed. “The classic Darchei maalos are still there,” he relates. “Even as it grows, the yeshiva retains that small feeling because Rabbi Bender does not forget about anyone.”
Yisroel, the oldest son of Mark and Sharon Salamon of Far Rockaway, graduated the yeshiva’s elementary school in 1997 and joined the relatively new Mesivta Chaim Shlomo. After graduation he stayed for a year of beis medrash, before continuing his learning in Eretz Yisrael at Torah Ore. On his return to America, he joined the Yeshiva Gedolah in Waterbury, Connecticut, and after marrying fellow Far Rockaway native Devori Klein, daughter of Boruch and Tzirel Klein, the couple settled in Waterbury.
“We chose Waterbury because it’s out-of-town yet close to New York,” Yisroel explains. “It’s a healthy place to live. It reminds me of Far Rockaway.”
Yisroel’s day starts early, with Shacharis kivasikin at the local yeshiva, followed by a fixed session with a chavrusa. His occupation is in the real estate field, a job that takes him all over the Nutmeg State, yet he is firmly anchored in his adopted city, taking an active leadership role in the community. He is heavily involved in the mikveh and the growing Yeshiva Ketana–whose menahel is another YDT alumnus, Rav Yehuda Brecher. Mrs. Salamon is the kindergarten teacher of the yeshiva and takes an active role in kehillah life, “in addition to being a terrific mother,” Yisroel emphasizes.
Yisroel reflects on his years at Yeshiva Darchei Torah and the role his rebbeim played in shaping who he has become. “Besides the learning, they taught us the way to act, the way to live, the way to conduct yourself,” he says. “It wasn’t only the shmuessen. It was by example–what the yeshiva does on a daily basis, whether it is for boys with challenges or simply always looking out for the individual.”
True b’nei Torah whose priorities are clearly in order, Yisroel and his wife are fitting recipients of the alumnus of the year award.
The dinner will also honor Mr. and Mrs. Naftali Tepfer and Mr. and Mrs. Motty Jacobowitz. A special presentation will be made to the Gruss Life Monument Funds, and Mr. Ronald Lowinger will serve as dinner chairman. For more information please call 718-868-2300, ext. 237 or e-mail email@example.com. v