Yeshiva Kesser Torah, nestled in the center of Kew Gardens Hills in a small house with a big heart, hosts the most minyanim in the neighborhood. The Yeshiva’s history began decades ago, under the direction of the Rosh HaYeshiva, Rabbi Elyakim Getzel Rosenblatt zt”l.
Over the past four years, Rebbetzin Trani Rosenblatt, along with the Rosenblatt family, have selflessly continued the legacy of the late Rosh HaYeshiva. The shul continues to offer a steady stream of heartfelt minyanim and a beautiful beis midrash for learning in the basement. Rebbetzin Rosenblatt heroically oversees every detail of the shul and, baruch Hashem, it is flourishing. It also hosts a Shabbos minyan led by Rabbi Avraham Dovid Garber, and Rabbi Garber sends out weekly Yeshiva Kesser Torah parshah sheets. He is honored to be the rav of the shul and, as a talmid of Rabbi Rosenblatt, he seeks to do his best to continue Rabbi Rosenblatt’s legacy.
As this writer wrote in a previous article, when I interviewed the late Rosh HaYeshiva, Rabbi Rosenblatt was urged by his students to start Yeshiva Kesser Torah, which originated in Corona, Queens. The name came about like everything else about Kesser Torah, through pure hashgachah. Rabbi Rosenblatt was sitting with one of the bachurim in his study, trying to think of a name for the yeshivah, when he noticed a sefer facing him with the title Kesser Torah. That was it!
In the 1980s, Kesser Torah flourished, teaching Torah to many full-time bachurim who have all become part of the Kesser Torah family. In 1994, Rabbi Yair Hoffman, one of the Yeshiva’s rebbeim, urged Rabbi Rosenblatt to move the Yeshiva to Kew Gardens Hills so it could reach more people. Again, Rabbi Rosenblatt recalls amazing hashgachah. Rabbi Rosenblatt and Rabbi Hoffman were driving through Kew Gardens Hills one day, when Rabbi Hoffman spotted a hidden “For Sale” sign on the side of a small house. Rabbi Rosenblatt realized it was the perfect home for the Yeshiva. He paid a very small deposit, and the house became the new home for Yeshiva Kesser Torah. The location proved to be perfect, smack in the middle of Kew Gardens Hills, between the mikvah and the library.
Today, Yeshiva Kesser Torah continues to radiate achdus. You cannot walk into the shul without being greeted warmly. Rabbi and Rebbetzin Rosenblatt created a friendly, nonjudgmental atmosphere. Rabbi Rosenblatt’s nigunim still enhance the slow-paced, meaningful davening on Shabbos and Yom tov.
Rabbi Rosenblatt composed and sang three original, professionally arranged and orchestrated musical CDs. Yamim Nora’im davening was and still is especially awe-inspiring, accompanied by Rabbi Rosenblatt’s original melodies. He also shared hundreds of shiurim on Torah Anytime and wrote books on the parshah. On Shabbos morning, the shul continues to host a special joyous kiddush.
The melaveh malkah will take place, im yirtzeh Hashem, at 8:00 p.m., on Motza’ei Shabbos, February 4, in the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills. Everyone is invited to come and show support to this wonderful mekom Torah in our midst and to honor Trani Rosenblatt and the Rosenblatt family and the legacy of Rabbi Elyakim Rosenblatt.
There will also be an award presented to the Newerstein family in memory of Reb Hillel Newerstein z”l, who was the baal k’riah and baal t’kiah for the shul for so many years and a talmid of Kesser Torah. The Yeshiva Kesser Torah Library is being named in his memory.
There will also be a memorial tribute to Reb Moshe Borowski z”l, who was a talmid of Rabbi Rosenblatt and who founded and directed SSTART (School & Synagogue Trauma and Resilience Training), a non-profit organization. He has been counseling children, families, schools, and communities coping with trauma or loss for more than 20 years. To reserve for the dinner and/or to send in a journal ad, go to the Kesser Torah website (www.YeshivaKesserTorah.org/) or call 718-793-2890.
By Susie Garber