Chanukah was the focus of a poignant story delivered by R' Simcha Loiterman at Chevra Bais Dovid D'Lantzut of Kew Gardens Hills, under the leadership of Rav Naftoli Rubin. Mispalelim and their sons participated in their shul's Motzaei Shabbos avos u'banim program. Some boys even came on their own to learn in a group while their fathers attended their yeshivah dinner.

At Rav David Z. Sheinfeld's Khal Degel Israel, fathers and grandfathers joined their children, ages four to fourteen, for pizza, prizes, and joyous learning of Torah. Kudos to R' Yosef Lieberman and R' Aryeh Rabinowitz for spearheading the avos u'banim program.

 Every Motzaei Shabbos at 7 p.m., learning fills the beis midrash at the Ohr Natan Youth Minyan in Rego Park. I joined fathers and sons along with rebbeim, prides and joy of the inspiring Bukharian community, to feel the spark of the Torah and enjoy a melavah malkah seudah of fresh pizza. What more can one ask for than good food, inspiring lectures by guest rabbis, music, and dancing? The lecture focused on the topic of patience, while the learning provided tips on how one can overcome frustration and anger. The class included easy to read printouts with examples from the g'morah and throughout Chazal. Special appreciation is extended to Rabbi Yonatan Aminov, and Rabbi Natan Kaziev for their mentorship at the program. Additional Sephardic programs occur at Beth Gavriel Community Center in Forest Hills, and at Rav Yigal Haimoff's Ohel Simcha and Rav Rafael Baruch Zavulunov's Cong. Ohr HaTorah, both in Kew Gardens Hills.

 The excitement for the avos u'banim program was palpable at Hashevaynu, under Rav Yehuda Zakutinsky, one of the largest and most up-and-coming minyanim in the Kew Gardens Hills area. I joined as fathers and sons departing the beautifully-renovated sanctuary and crowding the exquisite ballroom where we met the rebbetzin preparing pizza and prizes, sponsored by Dr. and Mrs. Adam Cohen. The smile on each child was all the reward required. Nearby, at Congregation Ahavas Yisroel, the shul pews filled up fast with fathers and sons eager to partake in the learning. The kol Torah was tremendous and a direct reflection of the reverence for Torah taught by the honorable mara d'asra, Rav Herschel Welcher.

 The Hillcrest community offers a number of similar programs that will be featured in an upcoming joint program scheduled for later in the month.

By Shabsie Saphirstein