On Thursday night, January 5, MTA celebrated its Annual Dinner of Tribute at Congregation Ahavath Torah in Englewood, New Jersey. The night was a celebration of the Meaningful Moments of the MTA experience for both the current talmidim and the tens of thousands of alumni who have benefited from all that MTA has to offer.

This year’s honorees included Eva (‘90) and Mordy Rothberg, the evening’s Guests of Honor, as well as Dr. Johnathan Halpert (‘62) and his son Rabbi Yehuda Halpert (‘93) as well Aryeh (‘17) and Ezra (‘23) Halpert - three generations of the Halpert family who were honored as the Legacy Family. Rabbi Chaim Axelrod was awarded the Faculty Award for his years of dedication to MTA. 

MTA Head of School Rabbi Joshua Kahn began the program with introductory remarks. While welcoming all in attendance to the dinner, Rabbi Kahn stated, “Tonight is a special celebration. It is a celebration of our yeshiva community, a community in which each of you play an important role.  It is a celebration of our honorees, who together represent our parent body, our alumni, our talmidim and our rebbeim, faculty and staff.” The night truly was a celebration with a festive mood throughout an evening accompanied by delicious cuisine and fantastic company. The evening’s theme, “Meaningful Moments at MTA,” highlighted the moments that come to define the MTA experience. Rabbi Kahn addressed the moments related to the evening’s honorees: “... tonight is one of those moments that inspires us, defines us and unites us. These same characteristics are true of our honorees - they inspire us, they define us and they unite us. They have created moments for us, moments of celebration, like when Mordy Rothberg leads the dancing at our siyum or Simchas Beis Hashoeva. Moments of excitement, like when our talmidim are working hard on the Scholarship Campaign Mordy created. Or moments of Mesorah, like when Coach Halpert came to spend the morning learning with his grandson Ezra in shiur last year and moments of connection, like when you walk into the Max Stern Athletic Center and see Ezra Halpert playing in a game, with Aryeh coaching on the sideline and the entire Halpert family sitting in the bleachers. Also moments of inspiration, such as Rabbi Axelrod leading us in a beautiful Hallel. And, moments of devotion like when Rabbi Axelrod learns b’chavrusa with one of his talmidim every day during the summer because this talmid asked him to.”

The program also included video presentations that highlighted the commitment and accomplishments of the honorees. As attendees listened to the interviews with the honorees and their families they also heard testimonials about the high level of Torah learning and the stellar academic experience as well as the incredible extracurricular activities that round out the MTA experience. Head of School, Rabbi Joshua Kahn, shared that “...the video presentation perfectly captured our honorees. The commitment of the Rothberg family to our yeshiva knows no bounds and the video conveyed Mordy’s complete investment in the growth of MTA. Anyone who knows the Halperts knows of their century-old relationship with Yeshiva University High Schools, if you did not yet know them before this evening you surely know of it now from the inspiring video. To think that three generations of Halpert men have all walked the halls of MTA and have all transmitted the values of MTA so successfully to their families, their legacy is one that exemplifies what the MTA experience is all about.”

The faculty honoree, Rabbi Chaim Axelrod, was asked to discuss what being a rebbe means to him and his inspiring recorded response garnered a standing ovation at the conclusion of the video presentation. A true testament to the success of MTA and its fantastic rebbeim and faculty who go above and beyond for their talmidim. Rabbi Kahn remarked “The MTA experience is built upon the relationships that talmidim forge with their rebbeim and teachers. The success of an MTA talmid is directly linked to the incredible love and care each faculty member feels towards their talmidim, we genuinely feel that our talmidim are like our “children”. Rabbi Axelrod is a paradigm of this complete and total commitment to our talmidim, whether its having lunch with a talmid to check in or hand delivering a sefer to a talmid who is preparing for a year of learning in Eretz Yisrael Rabbi Axelrod will do anything for his talmidim.”

The evening’s event saw records of both attendance and fundraising broken as close to 400 people were in attendance. The yeshiva dinner, one of several fundraising events throughout the year, brought in a total of $480,000 in one evening, a 25% increase from last year’s dinner total. This increase resulted from a parallel 25% increase in dinner attendance, a sign of the deep commitment to the yeshiva and its success on the part of the MTA community.