On Friday, May 19, the Yeshiva of Central Queens hosted a heartfelt breakfast to honor their esteemed Executive Director, Rabbi Yaakov Lonner. The special event on Yom Yerushalayim brought together the entire Junior High School student body, faculty, and Board of Trustees members to express their gratitude and appreciation for Rabbi Lonner’s exceptional leadership and unwavering dedication over the years.
The program began with a warm welcome from Rabbi Mark Landsman, YCQ’s Principal, who highlighted Rabbi Lonner’s remarkable achievements and the indelible impact they had on the Yeshiva and its community. He described how Rabbi Lonner has devoted his energy to the school for over 30 years, and the m’siras nefesh he demonstrated was truly remarkable.
Students from Grades 4-8 then shared anecdotes and memories, illustrating the profound influence Rabbi Lonner had on their lives. Students spoke about how they fondly remember attending Rabbi Lonner’s mishmars and other interactions they had with him over the years. One student detailed how Rabbi Lonner had helped him during his campaign for student government.
A special commemorative booklet was then given to Rabbi Lonner. Hundreds of letters and well-wishes from students and staff were compiled into a book as a small token of appreciation for the years of hard work Rabbi Lonner has given to the Yeshiva.
After the gift was presented, Rabbi Ophie Nat and the JHS Boys Choir led the lunchroom in two moving renditions of “V’Zakeini” and “Tov L’hodos.” Rabbi Lonner’s mission was bringing the words of “V’Zakeini” to life, and he was instrumental in raising students “who dazzle the world with Torah, maasim tovim, and service to the Creator.” And, of course, the YCQ community is grateful towards Hashem for blessing the school with such a wonderful Executive Director.
Acharon acharon chaviv, Rabbi Lonner himself had the opportunity to speak and thank everyone for their support. He noted how this breakfast will be one of the most impactful memories of his years at YCQ, and how he greatly appreciated everything involved, including the gift. However, he explained that the greatest memento are the students themselves. “Boys and Girls, as I watch you grow, increasingly mature, young men and women, with your beautiful davening, diligent learning, and your exquisite midos tovos, that’s what’s going to be my special legacy,” he powerfully remarked.
For the last 32 years, Rabbi Lonner has been at the center of YCQ’s continued growth. His thoughtful leadership, deep Torah values, and selfless commitment have been the wings that have borne YCQ aloft during this time. An eved Hashem with true humility, sprinkled with a dose of humor, Rabbi Lonner passionately steered the Yeshiva over these decades, overseeing its finances, operations, and facilities. He took special pride in ensuring a nutritious lunch would be served each and every day to the precious students and staff, and he was a beloved mishmar rebbi for countless children.
Rabbi Lonner’s tenure has also been marked by the completion of significant capital projects, including the construction of the Junior High School building, the library renovation, and the substantial HVAC project over this past year, to name a few. These accomplishments don’t include the organization of school dinners, melaveh malkahs, Siddur and Chumash plays, Celebrate Israel parades, and the countless other events that make our Yeshiva so special. Rabbi Lonner has run the Yeshiva with the highest levels of integrity, sensitivity, and professionalism. The impact that he has left on YCQ is immeasurable, and we owe a debt of gratitude to him for all that he has done. He will forever remain an integral part of the Yeshiva family and its neshamah.
YCQ celebrates Rabbi Lonner’s esteemed tenure and is forever grateful for all that he has done for the Yeshiva in the past and present. As the Yeshiva of Central Queens looks forward to the future, they are excited to announce the appointment of Mrs. Malka Fishman as the new Executive Director, effective July 2023.
The YCQ community is forever indebted to Rabbi Lonner and his beloved wife Simi for everything they have done for the Yeshiva, and wish them continued mazal, brachah, and nachas from their family.