The Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway High School in Cedarhurst was the site of what was described by Davis Renov Stahler Yeshiva High School for Boys Principal Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky as a “college fair for Israeli yeshivas.”
HAFTR hosted the 12th annual Long Island Israel night on Nov. 20. The event consisted of students and parents from five Long Island yeshivas: HAFTR, DRS in Woodmere, Rambam Mesivta in Lawrence, Hebrew Academy of Nassau County in Uniondale and North Shore Hebrew Academy High School in Great Neck. The schools alternate hosting the event every year. There were 26 Israeli yeshivas attended.
“It’s bittersweet because we’re excited for the boys and the families that they’re considering continuing their learning in the land of Israel,” Kaminetsky said. “At the same time, we have to contemplate life at our yeshiva without these boys.” He added he emphasizes what the students must do. “I try to get my students to observe deadlines throughout the process,” he said. “If students do not get their deposit in by the deadline, they will not be accepted to the yeshiva.”
The parents and students were able to visit with yeshiva representatives in classrooms to learn about each school. It consisted of four different timed sessions that were 20 minutes each.
Rambam Dean Rabbi Zev Friedman stressed why the event is important. “This serves as an educational evening for not only the students, but also the students’ families,” he said. “This is just the beginning of the process for students looking to continue their education after high school.”
Room 24 in HAFTR was filled for a presentation for Jerusalem-based yeshiva Torat Shraga. Assistant Principal Rabbi Avi Schneider outlined what the yeshivas hope to accomplish with the event.
“Every presenter’s job today is to try to educate a little more about what is unique about our program,” Schneider said. “Our goal is to not for you just to have a great year, it’s to have a great year that will lead you on to the next stage of your life. We want to help and develop you along the way.” Torat Shraga was founded in 2001.
DRS, Torat Shraga alumni David Golombeck described his Israel experience as positive. “They treat us like adults in a warm, comfortable environment,” he said. “At the end of the year you feel like you’ve accomplished something really special and have a true love of the Torah.”
Kaminetsky noted that he spent a year studying in Israel roughly 35 years ago and how he still feels the impact of his experience. “A couple of nights ago, I attended a dinner that honored my rabbi from 35 years ago,” he said. “I still maintain a strong connection with him 35 years later. It shows that I’m still thriving and excited off of my experience of being in Israel.”