On Monday evening, June 17, Yeshivas HaMasmidim held its end-of-year siyum celebration at the Agudath Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, in the Yeshiva of Central Queens. The celebration was for the boys in grades 3-6 who came every Monday night since Sukkos to do extra learning together in groups with rebbeim. Rabbi Chaim Dov Wahrman, Director of Yeshivas HaMasmidim, pointed out, “It is special to work with children who come after school to learn Torah.”
Rabbi Avinoam, one of the rebbeim of HaMasmidim, shared, “It was a wonderful year. The boys were diligent studying Torah. They took from their free time to express awareness of the value of Torah. It was also amazing to see the dedication of the parents who shuffled their kids back and forth after a long day. The mothers and fathers are so dedicated to their children’s Torah learning.”
Rabbi Elisha Zar, another one of the rebbeim of Yeshivas HaMasmidim, shared something that showed how the Torah learning is reflected in the boys’ midos. One time this year, two boys were raising their hands to answer a question from Rabbi Wahrman. Rabbi Wahrman called on one, and it wasn’t clear if he was calling on the boy in front or the boy behind him. The one in front said the answer and received a doughnut, but he knew that his friend behind him also knew the answer, so he shared the doughnut with his friend.
Mr. Nathan Yakubov, a parent of both a student who graduated from the program and a current fifth grade participant, stated, “It’s wonderful to have a beautiful community program like this. We owe tremendous hakaras ha’tov to Rabbi Aliezer Shedrowitzky shlita, founder of the program, and Rabbi Wahrman who has run it the past 18 years.” He imparted that his children look forward to coming even after a long day at yeshivah. They build connections with friends and young rebbeim in the neighborhood. It makes a big impact on the children.
A third grader, Aharon Pearl, shared, “I learned a lot. The rebbeim are good. It’s fun.”
Avi Taib, a fourth grader, agreed. “The rebbeim are nice. You learn a lot. There are raffles and a lot of fun things. And we learn mishnayos.”
Yehuda Taib, another fourth grader, added, “It’s fun. It’s interesting. You could spend a lot of time here.”
Rabbi Wahrman began the program by welcoming the boys to the end-of-year mesibah for Yeshivas HaMasmidim. He pointed out that this mishmor for younger boys was started almost 40 years ago by Rabbi Aliezer Shedrowitzky shlita, mara d’asra emeritus of the Agudath Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, in memory of his father. “There wouldn’t be a program here without Rabbi Shedrowitzky.”
Next, Zelig Heller, grade six student, shared a d’var Torah. He said that in this week’s parshah, Aharon and his sons are assigned the avodah in the Mishkan. The name B’nei Yisrael is mentioned five times, which alludes to the Five Books of the Chumash. This repetition shows Hashem’s love for us. The mission of the L’vi’im was to protect the Mishkan and make sure that B’nei Yisrael didn’t come too close to it. They were protecting them from dying for coming too close. A person is like a Torah. Loss of a life is loss of Torah learning that the person could have done if he was still alive. We see how precious we are and also our learning. We come here to learn, and this teaches us that we are compared to the Chamishah Chumshei Torah.
Next, Avigdor Jungreis and Yoeli Sauer each read in honor of the siyum mishnayos of Maseches Beitzah.
The celebration included a raffle for a set of mishnayos and a bicycle. Every boy also received a sefer. The Yeshivas HaMasmidim meets once a week at the Agudah, located in the Yeshiva of Central Queens. The boys learn Chumash, Mishnah, and/or Gemara. They come from local community yeshivos, such as Yeshiva Tiferes Moshe, Yeshiva Ketana Zichron Chaim U’Bina of Queens, the Shefa School, and Ore Dovid. This year, Yaakov Yisroel Alayev (grade 3, Yeshiva Ketana of Queens), won the set of Mishnayos. Dovid Maybruch, third grader at the Yeshiva Ketana of Queens, won the bike.
Rav Shedrowitzky spoke to the boys. “I am proud to be here with you.” He offered a yasher koach to Rabbi Wahrman and to the rebbeim and to the bachurim who come every week to participate. “Your coming and learning is especially important now. This influence is important for klal Yisrael. I’m proud of you and you should continue to grow in yir’as Shamayim.” He offered a brachah that we should all merit to greet the Mashiach in our time. He also mentioned that he is donating a sefer Torah this Sunday in Brooklyn in memory of his father and father-in-law.
Rabbi Moshe Sokoloff, the rav of the Agudah of Kew Gardens Hills, spoke at the end-of-year mesibah last year, and he taught the boys that the Gemara says that one reason that the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed was that there was not enough learning from young children. “Torah learning by young children is more valuable than the learning of anyone else.”
He told the boys that their learning is protecting the community and holding up the world. Our community is grateful that you do this extra learning. He stated, “When you are older, you will look back and remember how special this was.” He offered the boys a brachah: “Keep growing in Torah and be a source of nachas to your family.”
The boys’ enthusiasm on receiving the s’farim and the general leibedik atmosphere of the s’udah reflected the joy of learning Torah.
Mr. Nachum Shmuel Hartman, President of the Agudah of KGH, praised the program and noted that the boys learn once a week and they receive prizes. The Chanukah party included a raffle for a Shas.
Our community is fortunate to espouse wonderful programs such as this, which promote and celebrate Torah learning for our children. May the learning and T’hilim be a continued z’chus for our community and for klal Yisrael.
By Susie Garber