x2Mesivta Ateres Yaakov held the senior graduation last Thursday evening in its beautiful beis midrash in Lawrence. Graduating from the mesivta were 43 students, 41 of whom will be traveling to Eretz Yisrael next year to learn full time in a number of different yeshivos. Salutatorian Ari Halpern of Lawrence, who received a full scholarship to Macaulay Honors College at CUNY Queens College, will be attending Yeshivas Toras Moshe, and valedictorian Gavriel Sturm of Woodmere, who is headed to Yeshivas Sha’alvim and received a full scholarship to Yeshiva University’s Schottenstein Honors Program, both delivered inspiring and passionate messages to their fellow graduates.

Among the graduates, 18 students were recipients of a variety of awards and recognitions ranging from excellence in middos and character to effort and excellence in limudei kodesh and general studies. Menahel Rabbi Mordechai Yaffe, who conducted the evening’s proceedings, delivered the keynote address. A special tribute was made to Rabbis Shalom Greenspan and Baruch Rabinowitz, two veteran rebbeim, who are pursuing other avenues to share their special talents. The evening concluded with a beautiful collation and spirited dancing among rebbeim, talmidim, fathers, and family.

MAY also recently held its annual freshman orientation dinner for the incoming ninth-grade class. Selected from over 100 applicants, the 50 new talmidim comprising the graduating class of 2017 hail from ten different elementary schools.

The dinner included ice-breaking activities as well as addresses from the menahel, Rabbi Mordechai Yaffe; the mashgiach ruchani, Rabbi Yehuda Horowitz; the general studies principal, Rabbi Sam Rudansky; and the assistant menahel/assistant principal, Rabbi Yossi Bennett. Representing the student government was co-president Naftali Engel, who also addressed those assembled. After a delicious catered dinner and numerous raffles, students were given limudei kodesh and general studies summer assignments and were wished a fun and safe summer vacation. Rabbi Yaffe remarked, “I always like that the incoming freshman class get together to meet each other before the pressures of a new year start. In this way, from the outset they become accustomed to integrating to form a single cohesive unit of Ateres Yaakov talmidim. Tonight’s dinner was a great start, and each year I am increasingly impressed with the academic skills and the great middos of our entering students. I expect that this cohort will distinguish themselves in our yeshiva and be sources of pride to their families and Klal Yisrael.” v


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