Reb Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz Dedicates The New Vassar Avenue Building of the Lakewood Cheder

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IMG_8931-001To any observer, this is clearly a perfect shidduch, a “match made in heaven,” bringing together the largest mosad hachinuch in the Diaspora – and perhaps the world – and the most prominent philanthropist of our time.

Living up to his magnanimous reputation, and in yet another gesture of astounding generosity, Reb Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz of Los Angeles has stepped forward to dedicate the newly-completed Vassar Avenue building of the Lakewood Cheder in Lakewood, NJ.

It is no wonder that Reb Shlomo Yehuda, one of our generation’s most beloved and recognized philanthropists, askanim and baalei tzedakah who is known to “think big” in his desire to help Klal Yisroel on a communal and individual level, has chosen to attach his name to one of the largest construction projects ever undertaken by a mosad hachinuch anywhere in the world.

IMG_8929-001Known to one and all as “The Cheder,” the Lakewood Cheder has long been known as one of the largest and most well-respected frum elementary schools in the world. Now, this leading mosad will have a home that will be the largest of its kind anywhere.

Incredible siyata diShmaya has seemed to follow the Cheder at each phase and stage. Three years ago, it took no longer than twenty weeks from the beginning of construction until the new building on Vassar Avenue was ready for the seventh and eighth grade division to occupy it. An area covering 30,000 square feet, this section houses 15 classrooms, 8 tutoring areas, and a 10,000-square-foot dining room/bais medrash.

In Phase II of this historic project, 44 classrooms – 11 per grade – were constructed. A creative and perhaps revolutionary feature of this phase is a completely secure 16,000-square-foot outdoor two-story playground that is secured surrounded on all sides.

The primary and first grades have their own wing on the first floor, with tutoring rooms and other amenities. On the same floor, the fifth and sixth grades have their own section as well.

In Phase III, classrooms for the second, third and fourth grades, as well as a separate dining room for those grades and a gym, were constructed.

The sheer size of the building blows one’s mind.

“The first floor is about 90,000 square feet in size,” Rabbi Yosef Posen, executive director of the Lakewood Cheder explained. “280,000 cement blocks were installed at this edifice. The second floor is 60,000 square feet. We have a total of approximately 220,000 square feet in a building capable of holding 2,500 students, by far the largest such yeshiva campus in our times.”

The Cheder building, which will proudly bear the name of Reb Yitzchak Tzvi A’H Rechnitz and YBL’C, his Aishes Chayil Rivka, Toishvei Ir Lakewood from אי׳שת to כ׳שת will proudly serve as a daily home-away-from-home for 1,900 students, and the campus leaves ample room for the natural growth of the school over the next several years.

The Cheder has taken on a daunting financial burden to make this mammoth project possible. After purchasing the Vassar campus for $6 million several years ago, $1.8 million, $6 million and $5 million were spent, respectively, for the three phases of the campus construction.

IMG_8928-001When the naming of this breathtaking building was made available, it was Reb Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz who wasted no time in expressing his desire to capitalize on this unique opportunity. As he has done in the past, Reb Shlomo Yehuda, a visionary baal tzedakah who has raised the bar on chesed in our times, stepped forward with an unprecedented donation. He recognized the unparalleled nature of the Cheder’s new building.

Reb Shlomo Yehuda has rewritten the book when it comes to contemporary charity-giving. Among many other positions of leadership, he serves as chairman of the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation. Over the years, he has made historic financial contributions to such well-known institutions as Yeshivas Mir Yerushalayim, the Kamenitzer Yeshiva in Yerushalayim, Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, Bonei Olam, and Torah Umesorah’s Sandy Relief Fund. Reb Shlomo Yehuda is also the president of Yeshiva Toras Emes of Los Angeles and the International Board Chairman of Bonei Olam.

Reb Shlomo Yehudah, a son of Reb Yaakov Rechnitz and a son-in-law of Rav Yisroel Belsky, rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, has spent years in the healthcare and medical supply industry, using his hatzlachah to better the Torah world, both in his local Los Angeles community and beyond.

The 43-year-old, as a bochur, attended Mesivta of Long Beach in New York and then Yeshiva Mir Yerushalayim. In 1998, he incorporated TwinMed, LLC in Los Angeles with his twin brother, Yisroel Zev. Until today, they work and contribute Tzedaka together.

Reb Shlomo Yehuda spends half of his day overseeing the Shlomo & Tamar Rechnitz Charitable Foundation. He and his wife distribute funds to over 1,100 institutions yearly and he is known in the Los Angeles area for opening his home every week to listen to the needy and to hand out tzedakah.

On August 1, 2012 Reb Shlomo Yehuda was honored as the keynote speaker of the 12th Siyum Hashas of Daf Yomi at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

While most of Reb Shlomo Yehuda’s gift-giving is performed away from the limelight, one particular incident demonstrates his unending compassion and sensitivity. In 2012, Reb Shlomo Yehuda heard about Diane Aulger, a mother of five in North Texas who had her labor induced few weeks early so that her husband could meet their daughter before he died from pulmonary fibrosis. Upon hearing the story, Reb Shlomo Yehuda personally phoned Augler himself and sent her $20,000.
Such stories are commonplace, say Reb Shlomo Yehuda’s friends. “But he makes sure no one finds out about them,” they say.

The larger donations he has given to mosdos haTorah and chesed organizations combine with the donations he gives thousands of individual petitioners each month to make Reb Shlomo Yehuda a chad bedara, a once-in-generation philanthropist. Many of the individuals who fill his waiting room, and fill his answering machine and e-mail inbox with pleas for help, don’t know him, even after their requests are answered. He’s content to make a difference and then step back.

Rabbi Berish Goldenberg, menahel of Los Angeles’s Toras Emes who serves as the administrator of Reb Shlomo Yehuda’s tzedakah funds, estimates that between e-mails, text messages and voice mail, Reb Shlomo Yehuda receives more than 50 requests for help each day. Sunday mornings see Reb Shlomo Yehuda sitting in shul, receiving over 500 local indigents, frum and not frum alike. Each one receives a gift card to the local grocery.

His generosity to several local and national charities – such as his unsolicited financial aid to widows of fallen police officers, local and national hospitals, health funds and military families, for example – have engendered great kiddush Hashem.

The attitude that money is meant to be shared has influenced many others to follow in Reb Shlomo Yehuda’s footsteps, and a new generation of working bnei Torah look to him as an inspiration.

With his momentous dedication of the Lakewood Cheder Vassar Avenue building, Reb Shlomo Yehudah has once again blazed the trail, setting new standards for tzedakah and philanthropy, showing that giving of his own resources for the honor of Hashem and His Torah is not something he does, but who he is.

(By Yitzchok Singer – YWN,

(photo credits – Simcha Weinman ​)

 


22 COMMENTS

  1. This Yeshiva is well deserving of this most generous donation . The Menahel , R’ Avrohom Anisfeld treats his Talmidim , with a unique warmth ,understanding and devotion. His special character is not limited to his Talmidim exclusively , but to anyone who has the pleasure of meeting Rabbi Anisfeld! Hatzlocha!

  2. “Known to one and all as “The Cheder,” the Lakewood Cheder has long been known as one of the largest and most well-respected frum elementary schools in the world”

    Not sure who wrote this PR piece but “most well-respected frum elementary school in the world” is a bit of a stretch. In all the excitement, there is no need to be disrespectful to all the rest of the wonderful heiligah mosdos Hatorah throughout the world. Lets keep it real.

  3. #6 – Don’t you know that Lakewood is the best at everything? The best Yeshivos, the best Mosdos, the best organizations, the best families, the best in Tezniyus, the best in everything….

    They also are the most self-centered people and most materialistic people around, and their tzenius is not far behind some other unnamed communities.

    They just like to prop-themselves up on a pedestal and brag all day.

    Believe me, the people living in communities such as Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, North Miami Beach, Waterbury CT, Baltimore etc, have MUCH better lives then the empty fake that Lakewood has created.

    Oh, and Lakewood has no problems. Just ask any Lakewood person.

    Then speak to some Rabbonim NOT from Lakewood and hear the horrors of Shalom Bayis, kids on the streets, the nightmares of Westgate, the rampant Aishes Ish and the rest of the monster they think is being hidden under the banner of “torah”: and that “we” are “the best in the world” and “you – lowlives from Flatbush” are nothing without us.

    Digest this comment well people.

    A hard pill to swallow.

  4. #8- Sometimes, sir, the truth is very painful, and must be spoken PUBLICLY to enact serious change. I understand and feel your pain. It’s ok. Start a revolution, and start awakening the people.

    My closest family live in Lakewood, and I dread going there, as all they do is stare at the “low-lives from Brooklyn”.

    And don’t worry about the Motzei Shem Ra, when you yourself just called me a “very sick man” publicly.

    Typical yeshivish-trash talk….just yell the classic “lashon hara” and scurry away, while there is rampant aveiros going on under your nose.

    Faker.

  5. Beautiful article, the postings stink; Only one improvement he works with twin brother, and the twin brother is also involve from what is written above; a little more praise so also come his way

  6. Just to clarify my agreeing with the post by “Ungizetst”- There is nothing to talk about; Lakewood has MANY MANY unbelievable people living here, people who do tremendous Chesed, many thousands of others who sit and learn for hours upon ours a day…. It is a beautiful twon in many ways. Unfortunately, it’s flaws are brought to the fore by exactly that beauty. Much more is expected of a twon like Lakewood, of people living in Lakewood. Unfortunately, it is true, Tznius has falled tremendously in Lakewood. Some of the serious aveiros mentioned above are apparently happening in Lakewood. At the same time, let us not kid ourselves. All the above plus, happenes elsewhere too. It is simply magnified when happening in a place like Lakewood. There is no question, the style of housing in Lakewood, with so many living in very close quarters to others causes many problems, including some of those mentioned above.

  7. Ungizetst, wow you sound angry, maybe bitter.
    Did you have a hard day today?
    Drink a coffee, eat a good piece of cake, when you are full, sit on the couch, put ur feet up, read your favroite book, breath in and breath out. Then, you won’t feel the need to rant about a place that you don’t even live in, under an article about a philanthropist giving money to a yeshiva.

  8. To “Ungizetst” and the other anonymous malcontents: Nothing you say is credible. Some of you claim to live in Lakewood. I highly doubt it. In fact, from long experience on so-called “frum” blogs, it’s highly likely that you aren’t even frum. In short, you are the fakers and the proof is that you cravenly hide behind ridiculous names and post generalities with no specifics and no evidence. Just outrageous smear, smear, smear, in the style of Goebbel’s big lie.

    You are an ugly pack of wolves with a rabidly anti-frum agenda hiding in sheep’s clothing by pretending to be part of us. But most of us are on to your game and know what you really are, and aren’t impressed.

    The tragedy is that you creeps are allowed free reign to pollute the atmosphere here and have turned what could have been a useful resource for the real “yeshiva world” into a cesspool of lies and loshon horah.

    But enough, I feel the need to shower.

    Eli

    Moderator’s Note: Actually, we see who posted that comment and happen to know him. And sorry to burst your bubble, as sick and as horrible as this sounds, he is tragically correct. Open your eyes and do some real thorough research instead of just blabbering away here. Speak to some people who really know what is going on out there.

    Thanks for calling another Yid a creep and a pack of wolves and like another commentator said – just yelling and screaming the “lashon hara” call. Do something constructive. Get the real hard facts. Find out the last 25 divorces in Lakewood, and find out why they happened.

    Before your made into a fool, nuff said.

  9. to the bitter fellow who wasnt accepted to BMG otherwise known as “ungizetst”

    “And don’t worry about the Motzei Shem Ra, when you yourself just called me a “very sick man” publicly.”

    how is he motzi shem ra when noone knows who ungezetst is. you however were motei shem ra on a whole community you low life oisvorf

  10. I am well aware of “the facts” and I stand by remarks.

    How do you characterize a community, on the basis of its tiny minority of oisvorfs, which klal yisroel has always been plagued with, or on the basis of its vast majority of G-d-fearing bnai Torah?

    On an individual level, how do you characterize a kollel yungerman and his family who isn’t completely perfect? (And who is?) On the basis of a relatively minor infraction, like, perhaps, conspicuous consumption, or on the basis of his limud Torah, chessed and many other maasim tovim?

    The low-lifes who are tarring an entire Torah community aren’t looking at a half-full glass and calling it empty, they are looking at a 99.99% full glass and calling it empty. In doing so they are either stupid or pushing an anti-Torah agenda and from experience my guess is the latter. And you, moderator, are encouraging that agenda.