The Yeshiva of Central Queens (YCQ) family is eagerly looking forward to Sunday, May 2, when the Yeshiva will celebrate its 80th anniversary as one of the premier yeshivos in Queens, it was announced by YCQ President Joel Wein. The theme of the event will be “Ben Sh’monim LiGvurah” (Pirkei Avos 5:21), which is so apropos to the Yeshiva’s dynamic and proactive response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even before the realities of the devastation began to hit home in earnest, the administration and faculty were busy at work planning to bring the Yeshiva with its robust curriculum in Torah and general studies right into the homes of all the students via Zoom. The Yeshiva quickly procured advanced equipment to ensure that the children could remain at home, but nevertheless interact with teachers and students as if they were in class together.
Meanwhile, preparations were being made to have the children return to the campus at the first opportunity by retrofitting the classrooms and other indoor and outdoor facilities to provide a safe environment for enthusiastic learning. By September 2020, learning was back in person, with polycarbonate-enclosed desks, compartmentalized indoor and outdoor play facilities, creatively designed mini-dining rooms for each class to enjoy hot, delicious, gourmet lunches from the Yeshiva’s modern commissary.
Dozens of extracurricular activities were implemented, including Sunday morning guest lecturers, virtual melaveh malkahs, book fairs, and even a spectacular graduation in the Yeshiva school yard.
Maintaining the momentum of the school and a high level of instruction despite many obstacles took a tremendous amount of self-sacrifice on the part of the COVID task force, lay leadership, administrators, faculty, and support staff.
To provide recognition to the staff for its extraordinary devotion, this year’s annual event will be honoring the Yeshiva’s stars: the entire professional and auxiliary staff. A performance, entitled a Night of Stars, will highlight the unlimited patience, creativity, resilience, and love showered upon each child so that he or she could have the courage to overcome the stress of spending days and weeks at home learning in a less-than-ideal environment.
“Each of our faculty has shone like a star, and now our children are shining, as well,” said YCQ Principal Rabbi Mark Landsman. An inspiring and entertaining program paying tribute to the honorees is being prepared, including a keynote address by the renowned Rabbi Paysach Krohn.
“At this time, we are appealing to the entire community to make a special effort to ensure that our 80th Anniversary Gevurah fundraising campaign is the most successful ever,” said Mr. Israel Glaser, YCQ Chairman of the Board. “We must make up for the financial shortfall caused by the decrease of tuition income, the substantial increase in scholarship requests and significant COVID-related expenses.”
“Please join us in our gratitude to the Yeshiva, for what it has done for our children,” said Rabbi Yaakov Lonner, Executive Director. “We ask all parents or alumni parents to honor their “stars”: those in the Yeshiva who have made a particular contribution to the growth of their children, especially during the past year. We will be conducting a Grand Raffle with three fabulous prizes. We encourage everyone in our YCQ family to purchase as many raffle tickets as possible.” To join this special campaign, please visit our YCQ website (ycqweb.com/nightofstars).