Twenty years ago, the world was preparing for a new millennium, Google had just launched, and the first iMac had hit stores. Here in Queens, we were creating our own milestones. Yeshiva Madreigas HaAdam was established more than two decades ago and quickly became a pillar of harbatzas haTorah in our Queens community. On Tuesday, December 10, the Yeshiva held its 20th annual dinner celebration at Da Mikele Illagio, honoring an array of familiar faces.

The Yeshiva acknowledged its visionary and Rosh HaYeshiva, HaRav Moshe Faskowitz shlita, who was recognized for his steadfast service to the Yeshiva since its inception, and to the Queens community-at-large for his stalwart direction.

The Rosh HaYeshiva is known to attune to all the needs of the b’nei ha’yeshivah who have by-and-large recently returned from their stay at yeshivos in Eretz Yisrael, seeking a comparable atmosphere to continue their Judaic studies while pursuing a secular degree. The Yeshiva’s genuine and challenging environment is known to infuse its talmidim with vital life skills, humility, disciple, and, most of all, respect to those in their lives enabling them to incorporate the proper ideals to build a family and give back to the klal.

During World War II, nearly all of Novardok’s European yeshivos were destroyed. The Alter of Novardok’s son-in-law, Rabbi Avraham Yoffen, re-established the yeshivah in Brooklyn post-war. Yeshiva Madreigas HaAdam was later established by his grandson, the Rosh HaYeshiva, who opted to name the beacon of Torah after the Alter’s musar collection, providing its graduates with the necessities to ascend the steps of spiritual elevation, their madreigas ha’adam.

The celebration included a touching memorial tribute to Rebbetzin Raizel Faskowitz a”h as her first yahrzeit approaches on Zos Chanukah. Rebbetzin Faskowitz was the last living grandchild of the Alter of Novardok, daughter of Rav Avraham and Sara Yoffen and the first cousin of Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz. The Rosh HaYeshiva’s beloved mother had a resilient personality that was clearly a channel to a dor not so long ago. In 1925, Raizel Faskowitz was born in Poland and had the unique privilege to interact with the likes of Rav Boruch Ber Leibowitz, Rav Elchanan Wasserman, Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinski, and Rav Shimon Shkop. Raizel is no doubt an ode her grandfather’s name, Rav (Yosef) Yoizel Horowitz, the Alter of Novardok. She ensured her own acceptance at Sara Shenirer’s Bais Yaakov in Krakow and later rose strong to lead a righteous life filled with acts of kindness among all she interacted. Her other children – Michele Treister of Hillcrest, Miriam Greenfeld, and Bryndie Tuchman – each follows in their illustrious mother’s footsteps.

The Guests of Honor were Avraham Samber and his eishes chayil Miri, who have both been a constant source of inspiration to the YMH k’hilah through their selfless acts of chesed to all they encounter.

The Yeshiva highlighted its newest semichah graduates: Rabbi Dovi Friedman, Rabbi Eitan Goldman, Rabbi Yosef Kaplowitz, Rabbi Meir Levin, and Rabbi Kivvy Neiman, who have all earned this lofty distinction through their tireless devotion to mastering their limudei kodesh studies.

A community is defined by those in its midst who share a common thread. The Hillcrest Community Rabbinic Leadership Award was bestowed upon four prominent leaders who each exemplify a course of guidance within the heart of the Hillcrest neighborhood: Rabbi Dr. Richard Weiss shlita of the Young Israel of Hillcrest, Rabbi Asher Schechter shlita of Congregation Ohr Moshe, Rabbi Leeor Dahan shlita at the helm of Kehilat Avodat Hashem, and Rabbi Shmuel Lemann shlita who leads the Torah Center of Hillcrest.

Yeshiva Madreigas HaAdam is proud to be in the company of such wonderful centers of Jewish thought, each led by their respective noble rav.

The momentous dinner celebration will be cherished by all the attendees for years to come.

 By Shabsie Saphirstein