Over 300 Boys Partake in Agudah of Illinois’ Asifa L’Bnei Aliya


The busses started arriving around 1 PM from South Bend, Indiana, and Cleveland, Ohio, St. Louis, Missouri, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and of course Chicago, Illinois, depositing dozens of 7th grade boys in white shirts, some with their hats and jackets, eager with anticipation about what the day would bring. It was the start of the 2nd annual Asifa L’Bnei Aliya, a program arranged by Agudath Israel of Illinois to benefit nearly 330 boys from Yeshiva Day Schools across the Midwest.

Hosted this year at the beautiful Ateres Ayala Simcha Hall in Skokie, Illinois, the program was packed with something for everyone. As the boys arrived, they were treated to a delicious buffet lunch followed by a warm welcome given by Rabbi Heshy Forster, Menahel Yeshiva Ohr Boruch, Chicago, and Rav Gershon Miller, Rosh Hamosad of Yeshiva Beth Yehuda, Detroit. Afterward, the boys split into groups to enjoy the “Fun and Features” program. While half the boys challenged themselves and each other on the giant outdoor inflatable slide and climbing wall, the others experienced an eye-opening demonstration of Bais Hamikdosh facts and artifacts by Rabbi Shmuel Deutsch of the Living Torah Museum. After 45 minutes the two halves switched places so everyone could partake in the program.

Rabbi Nosson Muller, Menahel, Yeshivas Tiferes Tzvi, Chicago, spoke about Rav Shmuel Yehuda Levin zt”l, Rosh Hayeshiva Telshe, Chicago, in whose memory the day was dedicated. He then introduced the Mashgiach of Telshe Chicago, Rav Avrohom Lipshutz to give Divrei Hisorrerus, followed by a lively seder limud with the participation of the local Roshei Hayeshiva. Rav Dovid Zucker, Rosh Kollel Zichron Shneur, Chicago, concluded the seder with a Shiur Klali appreciated by talmidim and Rabbeim alike. Rav Shmuel Yeshaya Keller, Rosh Yeshivas Telshe, Chicago, gave heartfelt divrei brocha to all the bochurim, after which the Roshei Yeshiva greeted every attendee individually.

Then the doors to the ballroom opened to reveal a gala, three-course dinner, chaired by Rabbi Ari Strulowitz, director of operations of Agudath Israel of Illinois, where the attendees were treated to inspiring and thoughtful messages from Dayan Shmuel Fuerst and renowned author and speaker Rabbi Yechiel Spero. Rabbi Labish Becker, executive director of Agudath Israel of America and the new National Pirchei Director Rabbi Yehuda Kohn also gave greetings. The dinner was followed with an exclusive Shailos U’Teshuvos session with Rabbi Henoch Plotnik Shlit”a which continued until Maariv.

Although the hour was already quite late, the night was still young, as the boys were treated to the hilarious entertainment of Simon Hyman, with his trademark Simon Sez production. Young and old tried their hardest not to get caught with his rapid-fire instructions, to the delight of all. The program headed to a close with a scrumptious To’ameah spread and a hartzig kumzitz with live music led by R’ Chaim Tzvi Gramma. The exhausted but exhilarated boys and their rebbeim then boarded their busses for the ride home and some much-needed rest.

“Our talmidim went away with so much chizuk and inspiration. They truly enjoyed, and most of all, felt special,” said Rabbi Dovid Kaufman of Yeshiva Beth Yehuda in Detroit. Rabbi Menchem Kirshner, Limudei Kodesh Principal of Arie Crown in Chicago was ecstatic: “The bochurim mamesh remembered Rav Dovid Shlita’s shiur it and were able to say it back! The entire day obviously had an incredible roshem!” he said.

The event clearly reflected the long hours spent planning and designing every detail of the day. The organizers expressed their heartfelt appreciation to Mrs. Ruchami Cynamon of the Agudah Illinois office, who worked with the many Midwest Menahelim to ensure the program was perfectly executed. The delicious food prepared by Luxe Catering of Ateres Ayala and the dedicated guidance of Rabbi Nosson Muller and Rabbi Heshy Forster enhanced the experience tremendously. A special note of thanks goes to the many local Baalei Batim who sponsored the different events on the program so that everyone could attend. As Rabbi Dovid Schnurmann, Menahel Yeshiva Derech Hatorah in Cleveland summed it up, it was “a day and a night to remember!”