It was a memorable night for the hanhala, staff, parents, alumni and friends of Yeshiva Ateres Shmuel Waterbury as an overflow crowd turned out in record numbers to show their support at the yeshiva’s 17th annual dinner. More than 600 people flocked to the Greentree Country Club in New Rochelle for the June 12th event, with hundreds of alumni coming from far and wide to express their hakaras hatov to the institution that embraced them, educated them and continues to help them flourish, even years later.
The theme of the dinner was The Rosh HaYeshiva’s Mission, highlighting Rabbi Ahron Kaufman’s unprecedented efforts to help talmidim forge everlasting relationships with both the yeshiva and the Waterbury community, giving them the framework for an everlasting commitment to a life as a Ben Torah. By creating a yeshiva where any boy, from any family, from any community, has the opportunity to maximize his potential, YASW has cemented its position in the Torah world as a place whose values and goals have had a positive impact on the lives of thousands of students from all over the United States and beyond.
For many of those in attendance, the dinner was their first introduction to the mesivta’s new Durhman campus, an idyllic retreat set on a 55 acre property in the rolling hills of Connecticut. Throughout the mesivta’s first year at the Durham campus, notables in the Jewish world including Roshei Yeshiva, businessman and askanim have come to visit the yeshiva, offering chizuk to the students, showing by example that each one has the ability to rise to their fullest potential and become a vital and respected member of the Jewish community. Many of the mesivta’s graduates have gone on to further their learning in yeshivos in Eretz Yisroel, and a large number have come back home to YASW, learning in the yeshiva’s highly regarded beis medrash. YASW’s impact reverberates throughout the local community as a thriving kollel and a community night kollel have put Waterbury on the map as a vibrant Jewish kehila boasting many benefits.
Rabbi and Mrs. Ari Farkas were honored with the yeshiva’s Harbotzas Torah award. A long time mashgiach at YASW, Rabbi Farkas’ tremendous energy and simchas hachaim are felt through the yeshiva and he continues to inspire his talmidim to strive for the highest heights even as they move on in life. Other honorees included Mr. and Mrs. Chaim Gewirtzman, recipients of the Alumnus of the Year award, and Dr. and Mrs. Daniel Buff who were recognized as Parents of the Year. Another highlight of the dinner was a siyum made by YASW’s beis medrash bochurim in celebration of the Rosh HaYeshiva’s mission.
“Many places are teaching a system, and to the credit of the Rosh Yeshiva and his rabbeim and his courage, he has focused on building a yeshiva that is teaching yiddishkeit,” said Rabbi Farkas. “The dedication to emes’dike Torah, aliya, yiddish neshamos is what builds Waterbury.”
YASW’s executive director Rabbi Eli Elefant said that it was heartwarming to see the yeshiva being recognized worldwide for its dedication to instilling a love of Torah and yiddishkeit in its many talmidim, an effort that continues to bear more and more fruit with every passing year.
“Hundreds of boys clamor annually to be part of the Waterbury Mesivta where they are respected and are developed into shining Bnei Torah,” said Rabbi Elefant. “Today, these same boys together with their friends from their respective yeshivos in Eretz Yisroel are pursuing their way to our Beis Medrash in making their yeshiva and the Waterbury community their permanent home, in fulfillment of the rosh hayeshiva’s mission”.