Celebrating the Graduating Class of 2009

The hanhalah of Mesivta Ateres Yaakov would like to thank the many supporters, family, and friends who attended the “Your Yeshiva for Life” annual dinner on Monday, May 20. In celebration of the mesivta’s growth and impact, guests enjoyed an exhibit of “MAY Milestones.” The display highlighted key limudei kodesh, general studies, and extracurricular programs as well as building dedications from the past five years.

Guests of Honor

The focal point of the evening was a moving video montage and awards presentation. Dr. Yechiel and Brenda Berkowitz were honored as Parents of the Year. Avi and Goldie Dreyfuss were Guests of Honor. The Bahn and Samson families dedicated the “Bahn Otzer HaSeforim” in memory of Dr. Saul Bahn.

In keeping with MAY’s strong relationships with its graduates, many members of the Class of 2009 were on hand to enjoy their 10th reunion. The mesivta also presented Mr. Gene Sullivan, from Bank United, with a special award in recognition of the financial institution’s support and partnership in the ongoing campus expansion.

The evening was a meaningful tribute to the deserving honorees and a new milestone for MAY.

MAY Arista Installation And Awards Night

MAY Arista

Mesivta Ateres Yaakov held its annual Arista Installation and Awards Night, where tribute was paid to the myriad accomplishments of the talmidim at MAY. The program was particularly special as it commemorates Rabbi Elchonon Zomber, z’l, an alumnus and veteran teacher at MAY. The Zomber family graciously endowed the MAY Arista Society in his honor.

Consistent with MAY’s emphasis on developing all of each talmid, excellence in many areas was recognized: limudei kodesh, middos, tefillah, academics, athletics, extracurricular activities, and community service.

Rabbi Mordechai Yaffe, rosh ha’yeshiva, introduced the program, focusing on the small acts of greatness performed by the talmidim at MAY that can often go unnoticed and how the mesivta not only engenders these acts, but tries to publicly recognizes them as well.

The first order of the night was the installation of the incoming student government under the helm of the incoming president, Shimshon Brecher. Shimshon addressed the close to 400 attendees and thanked the hanhallah and rebbeim who guided him and his fellow students to the achievements being celebrated that evening. He noted that the mesivta’s confidence in its talmidim is what propels them to excellence.

Awards were then presented to over 100 students for excellence and progress in a wide variety of areas. Rabbi Yaffe was joined by general-studies principal Rabbi Sam Rudansky and assistant menahel/assistant principal Rabbi Yossi Bennett in presenting these awards.

Rabbi Rudansky commented, “The evening serves as an opportunity to recognize those students who excel in different areas of the high-school experience. That may range from academics for some to community service, extracurricular activities, and even athletics for others. It’s an evening of tremendous nachas for parents and grandparents.”

The evening closed with the installation of over 80 Arista honors students and the recitation of the Arista pledge led by incoming Arista President Yosef DiGiacomo. Mazal tov!

MAY’s Annual Spring Shabbaton

Shabbos Parashas Behar was particularly noteworthy for the talmidim of Mesivta Ateres Yaakov. The mesivta held its annual spring Shabbaton at the beautiful campus of Camp Romimu in Monticello, NY. The Shabbaton was a resounding success, full of tremendous growth in ruchniyus, achdus, ahavas Hashem, and ahavas haTorah.

From start to finish, the Shabbaton was an inspiring and exciting weekend. S’gan Menahel Rabbi Yossi Bennett “kicked off” the Shabbos with inspiring divrei chizuk following Shacharis on Friday morning. Then it was off to the buses for a fun-filled, inspiring, action-packed Shabbos!

The rosh ha’yeshiva, Rabbi Mordechai Yaffe, set the tone for Shabbos, imploring the talmidim to open their minds and their hearts to what this special Shabbos has to offer. The lively Kabbalas Shabbos, with enthusiastic singing and dancing, was a fitting hakdamah to such a unique Shabbos.

The mesivta invited Rabbi Elysha Sandler, former 12th-grade rebbe at MAY and currently the mashgiach at Yeshivas Sh’or Yoshuv and rav of Kehillas Bais Yisroel in Far Rockaway, as their guest for Shabbos. Rabbi Sandler spoke five times throughout the Shabbos, captivating talmidim with his signature style of weaving music into his talks together with his warmth and ideas for growth and development.

As has become a tradition at MAY, the Shabbos kibbudim had been auctioned to the bidders willing to complete the most learning over the course of the long weekend. Students committed to just under 300 hours of learning outside of the formal shiurim and honored their rebbeim with the kibbudim. The sheer amount of learning throughout the Shabbos, both formally and informally, was a testament to the growth experienced this year throughout the zeman.

Motzaei Shabbos included the annual varsity vs. junior varsity softball game, a barbecue melaveh malkah, a stirring kumzits, and incredible achdus and camaraderie among the talmidim and their rebbeim.

Sunday morning, seven senior talmidim delivered self-prepared chaburos to the younger shiurim and their peers. The mesivta thanks senior rebbe Rabbi Yonasan Sprung for preparing and helping his talmidim with this undertaking.

Thanks go to Rabbi Shlomo Drebin for organizing the Shabbaton, and to Rabbi Shlomo Pfeiffer and Camp Romimu for hosting them.

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