The Yeshiva of Central Queens community is eagerly anticipating YCQ’s 82nd Anniversary Dinner, which will, im yirtzeh Hashem, take place on Motza’ei Shabbos, February 25, at Old Westbury. The theme of the dinner will be “Remembering Our Past, Celebrating Our Present, and Building Our Future.”

Three outstanding individuals who have wholeheartedly devoted themselves to YCQ are being honored and recognized for their efforts. Valerie and Alex Olsen are the esteemed Guests of Honor, and Mrs. Esther Lowinger will be receiving the Distinguished Educator Award. Additionally, tribute will be paid to the legendary Rabbi Menachem Rottenberg z”l, who served as YCQ’s Executive Director for over 30 years.

Valerie and Alex Olsen have dedicated their talents to the growth and development of our Yeshiva. Valerie, who graduated YCQ in 1992, followed in the footsteps of her illustrious mother, Marilyn Schwartz, who was very active in the Parents Association. Valerie was elected President of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) in 2018. During her tenure at the helm of the PTO, she introduced many new programs that have since become staples of the PTO. The Challah Bake, Family Fun Day, Parents’ Night Out, as well as the revival of the Winter Carnival, were all implemented under her leadership.

Mrs. Olsen also worked to overcome the challenges that were faced during the pandemic, by partnering with the administration to provide support for the parents, students, and teachers. Alex, an architect by profession, provided his sage advice and expertise as a volunteer consultant for numerous renovations made to the YCQ building, including the facade project, the front entrance, and, most recently, a significant HVAC upgrade. Valerie and Alex are the proud parents of Max (’22), Aiden (’24), and Viviana (’29).

“Valerie and Alex Olsen are both individuals who embody the idea of hakaras ha’tov,” remarked Julie Faska, the current PTO President. “They understand the value of their communities and do everything within their power to assist the school and shul communities in growing and improving: always a helping hand, the first to volunteer, and the last to leave. The example they set for their children and their peers is exceptional,” she added.

Mrs. Esther Lowinger, who has been associated with YCQ for over 35 years, will be receiving the Distinguished Educator Award. She began her career as a math teacher and continues to be an expert instructor in conveying to her students a thorough knowledge of the subject. She also trains her students in perfecting their study skills and pursuing excellence in their course work.

Mrs. Lowinger’s commitment to the students of YCQ has mostly recently shone through in her role as Acting Assistant Principal in the Junior High School. She addresses children’s concerns and helps build their character and midos tovos. Her children, Melissa (’02), Steven (’05), and Zachary (’12) are all proud YCQ alumni, and her grandchildren are currently YCQ students.

“Mrs. Lowinger has been a tremendous asset to the YCQ community,” said Rabbi Mark Landsman, Principal of YCQ. “Throughout her tenure in our Yeshiva, beyond her ability to bring life to the material she teaches, she has fostered a sense of responsibility in each of our students. She serves as a role model for both students and faculty alike, and we appreciate everything she has done, and continues to do at YCQ.”

Beginning in 1963, Rabbi Menachem Rottenberg z”l served as Executive Director of YCQ. Across the 30-plus years of his leadership, he oversaw the construction of both the elementary and Junior High School buildings. Rabbi Rottenberg was instrumental in transforming YCQ into the flagship Orthodox elementary school it is today. Under his watch, the school educated hundreds of students, an accomplishment that has earned him the eternal gratitude of parents – past, present, and beyond.

“Rabbi Rottenberg had a profound effect on turning the Queens Jewish community into a major Torah enclave with dozens of shuls and yeshivos,” said Rabbi Yaakov Lonner, YCQ’s Executive Director, who worked very closely with him. “Rabbi Rottenberg had a large following of parents and alumni because they appreciated his selflessness, devotion, and sincerity with no motive for personal gain,” Rabbi Lonner noted.

To recognize Rabbi Rottenberg and his dedication to the Yeshiva, the entrance to YCQ will be dedicated in his memory and inaugurated as Shaar Menachem. It is a fitting tribute to Rabbi Rottenberg, who opened the doors of success for so many.

“Following in the spirit of our honorees, we ask the community-at-large to demonstrate its gratitude for what the Yeshiva does for the children and the community,” said Israel Glaser, Chairman of the Board.

If you wish to make a reservation to attend the 82nd Anniversary Dinner, or to submit a dedication in the Journal, please visit or call 718-793-8500 ext. 300. Participation in the grand raffle can also be made at the same link. The raffle prizes include: a grand prize of $10,000, an Israel vacation package valued at $3,600, and an Apple iMac package valued at $1,500.

YCQ hasn’t merely educated the children of our community, the banayich, they have created bonayich, builders. Since its inception, YCQ has helped mold b’nei and b’nos Torah who are changing the world. The dinner is a critical opportunity to join together and enhance our partnership to support the Yeshiva of Central Queens and the future of the Jewish people.