Yeshiva of South Shore’s rosh hayeshivah compared his students to the Mishkan’s gold cherubim, in an address at YOSS’ annual gala on Sunday night.
Rabbi Binyamin Kamenetzky pointed out that the Torah, in last week’s parsha of Teruma, presented exact dimensions for the Mishkan. But none were given for the cherubim — just as an exact formula for a child’s development cannot be prescribed, he said.
The Hewlett-based school, which provides secular and religious elementary education, “keeps the centerfield line,” said Alumnus Award honoree Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin, NCSY’s director of education. “It keeps a Judaism that is normal, healthy, and recognizable for a long-term relationship. … It develops a relationship that you can carry with you for the rest of your life.”
YOSS “continues to animate and motivate” his religious experience, Rabbi Bashevkin told The Jewish Star.
Town of Hempstead Supervisor Donald X. Clavin, Jr., recipient of a Leadership in Government Award, referred to Rabbi Kamenetzky as “a ‘head of state’ ” and “a very influential part of my life.”
“The rabbi and his father always had a wonderful relationship with the town and with all the elected officials, and that’s going to continue and it will flourish while I’m supervisor. I speak to the rabbi weekly for guidance and thoughts on decision-making.”
The school’s founder, Rav Binyamin Kamenetzky, zt”l, was in everyone’s thoughts during Sunday’s “Investing in our Future” celebration, which drew 500 to the Sands Atlantic Beach. Rav Kamenetzky, Rabbi Kamenetzky’s father, established YOSS in 1956 before the Five Towns emerged as a center of yiddishkeit. He was niftar in 2017.
Rabbi Binyamin Kamenetzky “was a wonderful man, a beautiful personality,” said Hempstead Town Councilman Bruce Blakeman. “He was really the driving force of the Orthodox community moving to Long Island, he was the pioneer.”
“Rabbi Kamenetzky’s father took me under his wing and told me he believed in me, and that meant the world to me, and it gave me the confidence to work with this community and to allow myself to think I could do the job,” state Senator Todd Kaminsky said. “I’ll always be grateful for that.”
Kaminsky vowed to keep working in Albany to bring additional money for security and STEM funding to yeshivas.
While YOSS has made a significant impact made on the community level, its ultimate focus is on its children.
“What makes the yeshiva special is the warmth that comes from the rosh hayeshiva, principals, rebbeim and English staff,” said Matthew Ostreicher who, with his wife Tzippi, are passionately involved members of the YOSS family.
The yeshiva prides itself on the diversity of its students, as well as stressing to the boys the importance of having proper derech eretz and being a mensch,” said Ostreicher, a parent and alumnus. “YOSS means everything to us.”
YOSS offers specialized programming without losing an emphasis on Torah learning. Its Heller Learning Center was one of the earliest of its kind in working to address the needs of academically challenged students, while its Rosenwald Achievement Center provides students with enrichment beyond the conventional classroom experience.
“The care and attention that they give to each individual boy, the love and education that they show is second to none,” said Jill Rubin, parent of seventh grader Gavriel. “He’s thrived, he’s grown and I feel like they truly partner with me. They are the example of chanoch l’nar al pi darcho — they accommodate every need for every boy. I love this school.”
The evening’s Guests of Honor were Sheri and Robby Zimmermann; Robby, chairman of YOSS’ board of directors, helped guide the yeshiva through its various stages of growth.
Parents of the Year Zahava and Roni Benjamini were recognized for their dedication to the school and its Young Leadership Committee; Roni has been heavily involved in the vision and planning of YOSS’s expansion and construction.
The Ahavas Chesed Award was presented to Moishe Heller, corporate administrator of the Grandell Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Long Beach. Heller formed a close relationship with Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky while his father resided at Grandell. Heller was recognized for his devotion to the Rav and to all of the center’s residents, and for his attention to the needs of the Orthodox community.
Rabbi Kamenetzky expressed appreciation to the principals and the entire YOSS family, including Dinner Chairman Ari Goodman and Journal Chairman Uri Burger.