It wasn’t just an open house; Hadar Bet Yaakov had an inaugural Open House Event where prospective parents enjoyed a hot schnitzel and bourekas buffet, warm cookie selections, as well as a program of rabbanim and political leaders to usher in Queens’ first Sefardi Bet Yaakov.
Rabbi Akiva Grunblatt, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim, was the day’s first speaker and established the gravity of a Queens Sefardi Bet Yaakov as a lofty goal that was tenable for a community that understands its value. Rabbi Grunblatt underscored the importance of the community as a whole believing in the potential of Hadar Bet Yaakov, as well as the importance of Hadar Bet Yaakov’s believing in the potential of each student. Following Rabbi Grunblatt was Rabbi Gavriel Robenov, menahel of Hadar Bet Yaakov, who outlined critical facets of the school: its distinguished Vaad HaChinuch, experienced administration and teachers, as well the building itself. Rabbi Robenov emphasized that daas Torah was the defining feature of Hadar Bet Yaakov’s Vaad HaChinuch, and that the school’s direction and future success are directly linked to their Vaad HaChinuch leadership.
The school’s principals, Mrs. Shoshanna Friedman and Mrs. Malkie Ribowsky, greeted the audience in the school video, with Mrs. Friedman defining the school’s mission of creating bnos Yisrael who are the cornerstones of Jewish continuity in their homes and community, as well as the well-rounded Judaic and General Studies curricula that will put graduates on course for any seminary and college program of choice. Mrs. Ribowsky, Assistant Principal of Judaic Studies, stipulated the importance of seeing the potential for greatness in every student and how the variety of extra-curricular courses and activities facilitated that process of enabling girls to actualize their potential.
District 24 Assemblyman David Weprin and District 24 Councilman Rory Lancman both greeted the group and welcomed Hadar Bet Yaakov to the Queens community, offering encouragement and support to this important community endeavor.
Rabbi Leeor Dahan, chairman of Hadar’s Vaad Halachah, spoke about the significance of having daas Torah, Judaic leadership, as the guidepost for a Jewish institution, and he stipulated that Jewish potential is most valued within a framework of respect for Jewish leadership. Rabbi Robenov ended with the long-awaited reveal of the event: the school’s location at the Hillcrest Jewish Center. He showed a video of the facilities so the audience could appreciate the full gym and pool that students will have full use of, bringing large applause from the audience. The program ended with questions for administration and staff, along with a hot buffet.
Manning the event as event greeters were Mrs. Rivka Meirov, active in several community organizations, and Mrs. Rose Sigler, executive director of the Hillcrest Jewish Center, who both also managed groups of girls working the registration tables at the door. Rabbi Robenov offered his personal gratitude to everyone who helped to make this inaugural event a success and, in particular, Mrs. Rose Sigler and the Board of Trustees at the Hillcrest Jewish Center who helped make the location a reality.
Rabbi Gavriel Robenov has been working on bringing Hadar Bet Yaakov to fruition for over a year, and he brought together many facets of both Sefardi and Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim leadership in this communal effort. He ended the event by stressing the importance of the most essential component to Hadar Bet Yaakov: the students themselves. “The most important piece in creating a great school is the students themselves, and we’re looking forward to meeting each and every one of you because it’s with you that we’re building our first graduating class.”