By B. Basch
Chashuve roshei yeshiva, b’nei Torah, and Jews of every background gathered at Terrace on the Park on Tuesday, June 10 for a momentous evening. They came to acknowledge an institution–Be’er Hagolah–that has served Klal Yisrael for 35 years and pay tribute to a prestigious group of honorees.
Michael and Lonnie Schick, who accepted the Kesser Shem Tov Award, and Shlomo and Deborah Katz, who accepted the Tzorchei Tzibbur Award, are well known within the Five Towns and the greater Jewish community for their dedicated work on behalf of others.
Shlomo and Deborah’s address is known by all as a home where the doors are wide open for anyone in need. As a paramedic and vital member of Hatzalah of the Five Towns, Shlomo has extended his hand and opened his heart to assist hundreds with his inimitable warmth and compassion. Shlomo and Deborah spend a portion of each summer at Camp Simcha, providing the children there with a chance to laugh and savor the joys of life. Shlomo and Deborah are staunch supporters of Be’er Hagolah.
Michael Schick’s involvement with Be’er Hagolah spans decades. Always available to assist them when called upon, he spares no effort in supporting the organization and donating his time, effort, and expertise to the wonderful cause he recognizes Be’er Hagolah to be. Lonnie has had a positive impact on her students as an experienced, warm, loving social worker at Be’er Hagolah for many years. She has come face-to-face with the role that Be’er Hagolah plays in the lives of its students and the tremendous success they see on a daily basis. As Lonnie said, “For 20 years I couldn’t understand why every time Be’er Hagolah reached out to Michael, he would help them immediately, but once I began to work there, I understood what a special place it is.”
Well-known askan Gedalya Zlotowitz, who has been assisting Be’er Hagolah for years, served as dinner chairman.
The official hachtara and installation of Rabbi Mordechai German as dean of Be’er Hagolah was a poignant moment for all attendees. The Novominsker Rebbe, shlita, and Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky, shlita, delivered warm messages, both acknowledging the tremendous accomplishments of Be’er Hagolah and wishing R’ German success in his position as dean.
For years, Rabbi German, well known as a maggid shiur in Mesivta of Passaic, has earned the respect and love of his talmidim and their families. Incredibly, after being urged to undertake this position as dean of Be’er Hagolah by Rav Aharon Schechter, shlita, and the Novominsker Rebbe following his illustrious father’s petirah, Rabbi German has been commuting between Passaic, New Jersey, and Starrett City in Brooklyn so that he could both maintain his position as maggid shiur in Passaic and continue his father’s legacy of kiruv rechokim.
Building on the success of his illustrious parents, Rabbi Avner and Rebbetzin Leya German, a’h, former dean and principal of the school, respectively, R’ Mordechai has followed his father’s derech of being mechanech talmidim with love and positivity coupled with his own creativity and wisdom.
Additionally, the hanhalah of Be’er Hagolah–Rabbi Avi Davidowitz, menahel; Rabbi Mordechai Fishman, principal of the boys’ department; Mrs. Ziporah Hollander, principal of the girls’ limudei kodesh department; Ms. Chana Rochel Zucker, principal of the elementary school; and Mrs. Shaindy Taub, principal of the girls’ high-school secular-studies department–were honored for their dedicated work ensuring Be’er Hagolah sees the tremendous success it does.
A large representation of the Bukharian community, including many prominent rabbanim, joined in paying homage to Rabbi German, who has been very involved in their community through his shul in Starrett City, Be’er Hagolah, and his dedication to chessed and kiruv, as well as to honor Rabbi Nison Gavrielov, a rebbi in the school who accepted the Bukharian Heritage Award.
Looking around the room at the large showing of alumni and students of Be’er Hagolah–women dressed in sheitels and men in black hats–one saw a remarkable display of kiddush Hashem. Thirty-five years ago, when Be’er Hagolah was in its infancy and the Jews of the former Soviet Union were arriving in droves completely unaware of their heritage, who would have thought this all possible? It is only due to the incredible devotion of Be’er Hagolah’s hanhalah and staff that today there are men who are talmidei chachamim, women whose homes are run al pi taharas ha’kodesh, and families that are integral parts of mainstream frum communities across the globe.
Be’er Hagolah’s 35th annual dinner was truly a display of the incredible work they have been doing in providing students who would otherwise be in public school with a stellar Jewish and secular education. With effort and dedication, the honorees and hanhalah have influenced thousands of people and brought them under the kanfei haShechinah. v