In culmination of the Shnas Hashishim celebrations, Educational Institute Oholei Torah’s celebrated with a gala dinner was held the Sunday before Shavuos. Close to 1000 guests joined for an evening of support, tribute and solidarity.
Sixty Alumni were honored, many of whom flew in from around the world to attend the event. The Gala was a most prestigious affair, befitting such a mossad, founded by the Rebbe and that has grown to be the largest flagship school of Chabad Lubavitch.
The entire building from the entrance sidewalk the main foyer and grand ballrooms were all transformed in to a most elegant and posh design, which set the tone of the invested effort of this evening.
The event began with a special VIP hour, where the Alumni honorees gathered and had special time with the elder staff members, including Reb Yisroel Freidman, Rabbi Hershel Lustig, Reb Avrohom Gerlitzky and Rabbi Yisroel Engel, a beloved melamed who flew in from Florida for the occasion.
During this special hour, alumni were greeted by Rabbi Joseph Rosenfeld, who has been the dedicated Menahel of the mosad for over 55 years.
Alumni were presented with custom made, limited edition plaques. The room was permeated with a warm close feeling as so many came to show support and solidarity at this auspicious occasion.
Later on the many guests joined and enjoyed a smorgasbord in the mezzanine Ballroom of the Center. The Grand Ballroom was opened, and the guest quickly realized this year’s event was much larger and grander then they have ever seen. The ballroom was packed with close to 1000 guests, including parents, supporters, staff and faculty.
Opening the Dinner program with the Rebbe’s Letter, read by Rabbi Leibel Groner, the Rebbe’s secretary, and a grandfather of one of the evenings Honorees.
Rabbi Joseph Rosenfeld bentched the guests with Birchas Kohannim and gave his words of encouragement. Uriel Shtazeb, a 7th grade student, said a beautiful dvar torah, and impressed the crowd.
A memorial tribute was made in memory Reb Zalman Yuda Deitsch a”h. A former Member of the Board and loyal supporter of OT. His family members came up to the podium to receive the award from Reb Shmuel Brook, a board member and a close friend.
Special video presentations were shown highlighting the 60 Alumni honorees. A video of the school was shown, called “Ufortaza” based on a letter the Rebbe sent the mossad in 1958.
After Dinner was served, the guests were enthralled by the evenings keynote speaker, Mendel Duchman of Los Angeles California.
“I have here two booklets, one of Yale university alumni and the other of Oholei Torah Alumni, and I ask you, who made a biggest impact on the world?” Mendel drove home the message of Oholei Torah, giving a passionate plea for members of the community involve themselves and learn from OT alumni, to make change and impact on their communities and their mosdos.
Mendel also gave a special salute and tribute to Reb Michoel and Esther Teitelbaum, and Reb Dovid and Sarah Deitsch, founders’ and pillars of Oholei Torah.
World renowned chazzan Yitzchok Meyer Helfgot entertained the crowd with his powerful voice, as he sung and mesmerized the crowd.
Rabbi Nosson Blumes, Director of Development, was the master of ceremonies, and coordinated the event, together with the staff of the Oholei Torah Dinner Office.
Upon leaving the dinner, special gifts were distributed for the Yom Tov of Shavuos.
The comments heard as many were leaving – how impressed with were. It uplifted and made them proud of Oholei Torah, proud of our Crown Heights community for having such a high caliber event.