On Sunday, January 13, Yeshivat Kol Yaakov parents, grandparents, and friends gathered in the Young Israel of Great Neck to celebrate the pre‑1A talmidim receiving their siddurim and the first-grade talmidim receiving their Chumashim. The program opened with words of chizuk from esteemed menahel, Rabbi Mordechai Kashani, discussing the importance of chinuch ha’banim and establishing HaKadosh Baruch Hu as our melech. Both classes then burst into songs, thanking Hashem and declaring their trust in Him. The pure voices of the talmidim and the songs that they sang were both emotional and momentous. All in attendance beamed with pride as they listened to their children sing these traditional Sephardi songs.

Why was this particular heartfelt crescendo so extraordinary? The answer is exciting. After years of growing, learning, and devotion, the Sephardi community of Great Neck finally has its own Torah school in which to educate their precious children in the beautiful Sephardi tradition. It reflects how much the Sephardi community of Great Neck has grown into a community revolving around Torah and mitzvos.

When each pre‑1A talmid received his well-deserved Siddur, followed by each first-grader receiving his long-awaited Chumash, the boys could barely contain their excitement. First-graders peeked through the pages of their Chumashim, while pre‑1A talmidim hugged their Siddurim close to their hearts. Rabbi Yosef Mervin, pre‑1A rebbe, led his talmidim in a few more songs from their daily tefillos, followed by Rabbi Yitzy Kohn, first-grade rebbe, leading his talmidim in reciting and translating the first pasuk in Sefer Bereishis.

The final performance of the program was “V’ahavta l’reiacha kamocha,” sung with the menahel, rabbanim, and talmidim linked hand-in-hand. Music continued to soar as fathers and grandfathers joined their sons and rabbanim in dance. It was an event filled with love and pride, the warmth we feel every morning as we send our beloved children to school. How blessed we are, to be able to send our children to such a special school and to be part of such a beautiful community.

BYKY invites everyone to a meleveh malkah on February 2 at Temple Emanu-El in Great Neck, featuring renowned mechanech and wise teacher of teachers, Rabbi Jonathan Rietti. Dinner and a short film about the beautiful program are free, so bring your spouse. The BYKY administration and parent body look forward to seeing you there! v


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