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It was an unforgettable night of commemoration and celebration, as more than 2,000 men and women gathered at the New York Hilton for Agudath Israel of America’s 86th Annual Dinner and Hachnosas Sefer Torah L’zecher Nishmas Rabbi Moshe Sherer, zt”l.
Indeed, the latter part of the program — which began with the writing of the final os on the balcony of the hotel’s main ballroom and concluded with a joyous procession down to the dais where members of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah along with scores of Rabbonim and Admorim, Agudah executive staff and dinner honorees waited to greet the Sefer Torah – would leave everyone in the assemblage visibly moved and uplifted.
That this would be no ordinary dinner event was evident early on in the evening as the reception area began to fill with what would prove to be a record-breaking crowd. Participants had come not only to honor the 10th yahrzeit of Agudath Israel’s beloved late president but to pay tribute to a number of well-known community askonim who have devoted themselves to perpetuating Rabbi Sherer’s inspiring legacy of service to Klal Yisroel.
The Rabbi Moshe Sherer Memorial Award for lifelong devotion to Klal Yisroel was presented to Chaim H. Leshkowitz. The HaGaon Rav Aharon Kotler Memorial Award for distinguished service to Torah was accepted by the Herzka family, in memory of Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Herzka, z”l. The Reb Elimelech Tress Award for the preservation of the legacy of the Shearis Hapleitah was accepted by Nussy Elbogen, in memory of his father, A. Leibish Elbogen, z”l. The Moreinu Yaakov Rosenheim Award for distinguished service to Agudath Israel was presented to Yitzchok Fuchs. The Wolf Friedman Young Leadership Award was presented to Raphael Treitel.
Avodas Hakodesh Awards in recognition of the efforts and accomplishments of individuals from a variety of communities were presented to Simcha B. David, Yaakov Kluger and Rabbi Boruch Saks.
The dinner program, which commenced with the recitation of a kapital Tehillim led by Rabbi Hillel David, featured an address by Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, the Novominsker Rebbe and Rosh Agudath Israel, and a guest appearance by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. At a special reception held earlier in the evening, Justice Scalia met with and delivered brief remarks to members of Agudath Israel’s volunteer legal network.
The dinner was chaired by Shmuel Yosef Rieder and co-chaired by Chaskel Bennett.
Said Mr. Bennett: “ Eleh kruai hoaida. Tonight’s dinner, which was attended by young and old, represents a cross section of our entire thriving community. Lifelong activists side by side with hundreds of younger emerging askonim, some participating in their very first Agudah dinner, inspires hope for Klal Yisroel’s bright future.”
The co-chairman noted that the large ballroom virtually crackled with a feeling of energy, strength and unity. “Just being in the same room with so many Gedolim, Rabbonim, Askonim, high-ranking government officials and, of course, many, many Reb Yisroels, made one feel that together, and with siyata d’Shmaya, we can truly accomplish anything.”
(YWN News Desk)