Issue #33 – Yeshiva Bonim Lamokom’s Chanukah Event

Posted on Posted in All Articles, Down Syndrome and Congenital Heart Defects

Yeshiva Bonim Lamokom’s Chanukah Event

Sarah Sander

Some parties are just empty indulgence; others are classy productions that leave the party-goers spiritually elevated, happy and fulfilled.

Yeshiva Bonim Lamokom’s events fall into the latter category. Our legendary Menahel Hamoysed, Rabbi Zev Horowitz, is the no-nonsense force behind these events. Once again, good taste prevailed.

YBL’s annual pre-Chanukah Party has morphed into something larger than life. The previous years’ mid-day parties, to which all extended family members were invited, is no longer feasible. There is no hall in Brooklyn that can accommodate the crowd size. Hence, both venue and party program were revamped. This year’s party was held at the elegant Zemer Hall in Boro Park. The guest list consisted of students, parents and yeshiva staff. Extended families were invited for dessert and dancing.

What a party it was! Joyful spirit was bouncing off the walls as all took their seats and the evening commenced. Rabbi Horowitz delivered the opening remarks and introduced the concept of ‘Yagati Motzasee’, if you will seek, you will find. He elaborated on the wonders of our children, who continuously surprise their educators by rising to levels that have previously been unattainable. It is by seeking with yegiah the inherent wellsprings of potential within their talmidim that the rabbeim and teachers are rewarded with ‘motzasee’ – they find.

Rabbi Horowitz then regaled the captivated audience with an episode of ‘Yagati Motzasee’ in the true, practical sense of the words and one which attests to the devotion of the YBL staff.

A yeshiva parent called one day agitatedly stating that her son came home, sans his $5,000 orthodontic appliance, and the parents were frantic. Rabbi Horowitz relayed the situation to the yeshiva staff, and they immediately volunteered to launch a search for the missing item. They searched the student’s classroom, garbage bins, bathroom area, but to no avail. They then donned gloves and rubber boots and proceeded to search through mounds of lunch garbage from the mainstream yeshiva Torah Vodaath, weekend garbage and whatever other garbage they were able to get their hands on. When all of that yielded nothing, Rabbi Horowitz asked the administration of Torah Vodaath whether he can look through their close-circuit cameras of the past several days. On the screen he spotted one of the lunchroom workers whom he recognized. He looked up the gentleman and asked him whether he came across a small white plastic container on any of the cafeteria tables several days ago. The gentleman then led Rabbi Horowitz to a small hallway where a paper towel dispenser was perched on the wall and there atop the dispenser was the cheap white plastic case with its very expensive content.

I believe when the teaching staff of YBL was hired they thought they were going to be educators. It didn’t cross their minds that one day they would volunteer to search through dumpsters of foul-smelling trash in order to retrieve that which their student lost. But such is the concept of ‘Yagati Motzasee’ when teaching students with special needs. It elevates one above and beyond the call of duty.

Rabbi Fishel Schachter, the renowned speaker then took his listening audience down memory lane to the days of YBL’s inception. He described how Rav Avraham Pam zt’l, then Rosh Yeshiva of Torah Vodaath, sickly and on his last leg of life, called together all Torah Vodaath Rabbeim and educators and told them about the new yeshiva that was launching on the fourth floor of their mainstream yeshiva. He ordered all educators to speak to their students about the special yeshiva that was joining theirs and promised them all brachos l’rov if they will open their hearts to YBL’s special student population. Rav Pam’s dictum is still eternalized by all of Torah Vodaath to this very day!

In a unique twist on the typical panel discussion, at this event the panelists were the students of Yeshiva Bonim Lamokom. They responded to questions with deep thought, skill and articulation. One of the questions posed was, ‘What makes you happy and what makes you sad?’. Every single student answered that he is always happy and never sad. And they did not parrot each other’s responses during the entire panel interview, proving that these answers too were genuine and original. When asked about plans for the future, every single panelist dreams of a future in which he will help others in Klal Yisroel.  One student entertained the audience by adding jokes to his answers. When asked what he wants to be when he will grow older, he said he aims to be a Rosh Yeshiva. He then delivered some jaw-dropping relevant jokes. He also stated that his goal is to make shidduchim and that he already has a hand in SIX shidduchim that have come to fruition. He went on to announce his phone number for those interested in his services.

The photographer at the party was a gentleman with years of experience under his belt. He attends worldwide events in the Jewish world and photographs them for enjoyment, business and posterity. But all his work experiences never reduced him to the emotional state that he was in on this very evening. He kept exclaiming, “I have never witnessed anything like this in my life! I can’t believe it!”

There was a lot to see and hear and absorb.

The lively singing and dancing which followed, completed the beautiful evening. Young and old danced as one, with nary an iota of arrogance; all were equal.

While the delicious food filled empty stomachs, the warmth of the evening filled our hearts. Chanukah came early for the families of Yeshiva Bonim Lamokom.