The warmth of a yeshivah was celebrated last week as Yeshivas Madreigas HaAdam marked its 21st year with a packed hall of rebbeim, alumni, and students. “It’s right near Queens College and the schedule is flexible. It is important to set aside time for learning each day,” said Shimon Rosenstock. Originally from St. Louis, the English major chose Queens College for its proximity to the Jewish community and with a yeshivah that is a ten-minute walk from campus.
Rosenstock shared the dinner table with nearly a dozen fellow Queens College students who each learn at different times at Madreigas HaAdam. “The rebbeim are invested in you, and the yeshivah provides dorms. I learn because if you do not get it done, you may lose a part of your Judaism,” said sophomore Josh Kantrowitz. “When I become a father, I want to be able to answer my children’s questions.”
As with observant Queens College students, working men also choose the surrounding neighborhood because of the yeshivah. When Feliks Leybovich settled in Kew Gardens Hills, he knew that the community had a yeshivah that was warm, and was flexible in its learning regimen. “I learn with Rabbi Milgram for an hour, four days a week. We’ve covered Beitzah and B’rachos over the course of two years,” said Leybovich. “I was looking for a chavrusa and we’ve covered a lot of ground.”
Doniel Josh Meisner attends the yeshivah’s annual dinners to reconnect with the rebbeim and fellow learning participants. “I began learning here 16 years ago. It is growth-oriented and built as a musar yeshivah. Part of its goal is to foster personal growth. It is a good mekom Torah.”
Among this year’s honorees were two couples from the Torah Center of Hillcrest, where Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Moshe Faskowitz served as mara d’asra for many years. Dr. Chaim & Shoshanna Banner are longtime supporters of the yeshivah, financially and personally. “We’ve known Rabbi Faskowitz for 23 years. The yeshivah had its start inside the Torah Center of Hillcrest. We often host the boys and rebbeim from the yeshivah at our home for Shabbos and Yamim Tovim,” said Dr. Banner.
There was a sizable Bukharian presence at the dinner, with Hannan & Leah Gurzhiev receiving the Yedid Nefesh Award. Mr. Gurzhiev is among the founders of the Bukharian minyan at the Torah Center of Hillcrest. “Rabbi Faskowitz helped us grow. He tremendously gave advice for the k’hilah, helping us achieve goals. We now have 60 families and are still growing.” He added that as the synagogue has been a welcoming host for Bukharian Jews in Hillcrest, the yeshivah has also hosted Bukharian students and working professionals interested in strengthening their knowledge of Gemara and halachah.
The variety of students includes those who set aside time (kovei’a itim) between their studies and work, and others who pursue their s’michah under its auspices. Since 1998, it has been the welcoming home of “learners and earners,” the pride of the community, and a magnet for prospective Queens College students and neighborhood residents.
By Sergey Kadinsky