With Chanukah as a backdrop, the timing was extremely apropos of the event, as HAFTR was illuminated with excitement on Tuesday night for the ribbon cutting of the brand new state of the art Neil Steuer gym, dedicated by Sherry and Joel Weiner.
“This represents a renaissance of the school. This is the fulfillment of a dream for over 20 years,” expressed Reuben Maron, HAFTR Executive Director, who has been involved with the school for over 40 years and whos family represents three generations of the HAFTR/HILI-Hillel legacy. “This sends a message to the community that we are a vibrant school. This project, which took place over four to five years was completed without a raise in tuition, without a building fund, without taking out a mortgage. This was all made possible by the generosity of parents’ donations. It is a true testament to the parent body.”
Parents, students, grandparents, faculty and administration enjoyed a festive Chanukah dinner prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony. HAFTR parent, grandparent and long standing Board of Trustees/Finance Committee member Lee Wallach, was among the packed room of 650 celebrants. “I’m very happy to see the completion of this project. Although it wasn’t finished for my children or two of my grandchildren, one of my grandchildren, a HAFTR high school junior will enjoy it for one year and the rest of my grandchildren bezrat Hashem will certainly enjoy a beautiful gym for years to come.”
HAFTR President Dr. Adam Lish proudly expressed how the gym reflects a growing buzz among the parent body and the community at large.
“We have experienced a surge in the number of applications because of the excitement and the quality of our programs run by our team of first class educational professionals. This is the last step of a whole transformation of not just the physical plant but of the beis medrash, and the attitude and the feeling of the parent body. We are a proud centrist/modern Orthodox yeshiva. This is a testament to what a community can do when they come together. As a lay leader, our job as community leaders is to identify the
educational and administration professionals, entrust them with the running of the school and allow them to shine. Enormous credit has to be given to Reuben Marons, an extraordinary Executive Director and especially to Chairmen of the building committee Yaron Kornblum, Joey Hoenig and Neil Weiner. Not only were they the ones who sweated every detail but they were so efficient with their numbers that they were able to come in under budget and build a glass enclosed corridor connecting all of the divisions.”
Joey Hoenig, co-chairman of the building committee, has been involved in HAFTR sports since 1987. “We’ve envisioned this project ever since. We look forward to our opening game on Saturday night, December 15th, when the boys JV and Varsity host North Shore Hebrew academy.”
Co-chairman Yaron Kornblum, a parent for 13 years, is thrilled that the dream became a reality. “We wanted to give the HAFTR teams a home court advantage. We wanted to create a space where the whole school can meet, not just for sports but for educational gatherings. I’m very happy that this gym provides the school with a venue to do so. The state of the art technology that we brought in gives the school the competitive edge. We envision shiurim taking place here. Joey and myself were very careful to come in under budget and appreciate the trust that the parent body and school put into us. I must make mention of John Capobianco, architect, and Bobby DeRose, HAFTR’s Director of facilities and security.