Rabbi Jonathan Rietti addressing those in attendance
Rabbi Jonathan Rietti addressing those in attendance
Rabbi Jonathan Rietti addressing those in attendance

Mesivta Ateres Yaakov held their annual Thanksgiving Day Father-Son Breakfast on the first day of Chanukah. Always an enjoyable event, fathers joined their sons at the yeshiva for a morning of growth in ruchniyus and gashmiyus.

The morning began with a warm yeshiva Shacharis followed by a lavish catered breakfast. To begin the program, the menahel, Rabbi Mordechai Yaffe, addressed the more than 400 fathers and sons in attendance. He introduced Yechiel Kirschner, a senior representing the mesivta student body, to deliver divrei Torah. Yechiel addressed the similarities between the yom tov of Chanukah and the national holiday of Thanksgiving. The program also featured Yehuda Yaffe, a talmid in the Yeshiva Gedolah, who spoke about the middah of hoda’ah, thanks, so clearly epitomized by our avos and imahos.

Following the divrei Torah from the talmidim, the mesivta’s annual Fall Essay Contest winners were announced, with excerpts read from the four first-place essays. Awards and prize money were distributed by Rabbi Yossi Bennett, assistant menahel/assistant principal.

The highlight of the breakfast was a return visit from Rabbi Jonathan Rietti, who astounded the audience with a masterful shiur on teaching by example. Rabbi Rietti intertwined his vast Torah knowledge with his English humor and wit, and kept the crowd enthralled from beginning to end.

The program concluded with the Student Government raffle of various prizes, including an 18-speed bicycle, an iPad mini, and various sports tickets, all of which made for some very happy winners.

The annual yeshiva-wide Chanukah mesibah–an event that combined limud haTorah with exciting, fun, and enjoyable ruach-filled, student-centered activities–was held on Zos Chanukah, the last day of yom tov. The school-wide mesibah is in addition to the individual class mesibos hosted by individual rebbeim for their classes throughout Chanukah.

Following a morning of learning, the yeshiva’s nearly 200 talmidim came together for a special buffet lunch (consisting of a variety of fried and oily delicacies) and inspiring Chanukah divrei Torah by junior Akiva Katz, and Yeshiva Gedolah Ra’m Rabbi Yisroel Gold.

Talmidim then eagerly competed with each other–grade versus grade–in an intense, entertaining, and challenging game of “Wheel of Chanukah,” hosted by Rabbi Shlomo Drebin, director of student activities, and Rabbi Yossi Bennett, assistant menahel. The competition challenged the talmidim’s knowledge in various areas of Chanukah. The enthusiasm was palpable and tension rose as freshman and sophomores challenged the juniors and seniors. When the dust settled, the eleventh grade emerged victorious and, as a reward, will enjoy a free breakfast during the school’s upcoming annual mid-winter ski trip.

However, the excitement and fun was only just beginning! What ensued was an “electrifying” event. The live musical entertainment drew the crowd onto the dance floor and talmidim and rebbeim broke out into spirited and leibudik dancing. Eventually the walls were shaking and the tables and chairs rattling, as talmidim embraced the ruchniyus of the yom tov as it was coming to a close.

“Our talmidim learn and work hard,” commented the menahel, Rabbi Mordechai Yaffe, “but ruach-filled events such as these are important to building a well-rounded ben Torah, and they energize us all to redouble our efforts.” v


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