(Courtesy of Ohr Yisroel) Ohr Yisroel is excited to welcome Rabbi Elon Soniker to its administrative team as assistant principal. Rabbi Soniker has been a distinguished maggid shiur and grade dean at MTA in addition to serving as the rabbi of Congregation Anshei Shalom of West Hempstead, a vibrant shul of more than 300 families. Originally from New Rochelle, New York, Rabbi Soniker learned in Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalayim before earning an accounting degree and semicha from YU. Rabbi Soniker spent two years in the Gruss Kollel in Yerushalayim while teaching part time at Yeshivat Torat Shraga. After earning semicha, he continued his studies as a member of the Beren Kollel Elyon and also earned a master’s degree in Jewish education from Azrieli Graduate School. Rabbi Soniker also maintained an ongoing relationship with Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalayim, having served as its director of alumni affairs. Rabbi Soniker lives in West Hempstead with his wife, Estee, and their children.
In his new role, Rabbi Soniker will present a daily shiur, meet with talmidim throughout the day and work closely with the entire staff to direct the yeshiva as it moves into just its second year.
With the yeshiva’s enrollment approaching 50 talmidim, including the beit midrash program, Rabbis Friedman and Yablok saw the need to add to their already stellar team of mechanchim. Finding a rabbinic leader who fits with the philosophy of the yeshiva, however, was extremely important to them.
In announcing the new hire, Rabbi Friedman commented, “We are so excited to have Rabbi Soniker not only coming to teach but to lead. There are few leaders like Rabbi Soniker. His unconditional love for all talmidim and Jews is amazing. His excitement, love and appreciation for what Ohr Yisroel is doing is contagious and his belief in our vision are some of the many reasons why we are certain that he is the perfect rav to serve as our assistant principal. We know how lucky and excited our talmidim and families are to have Rabbi Soniker as part of our leadership team and the greater Ohr Yisroel family.”
Rabbi Soniker is well known for his amazing ability to connect with his talmidim, nurture their growth and inspire their lives. Students gravitate to Rabbi Soniker and appreciate his patience, warmth and unending commitment to their happiness. In welcoming Rabbi Soniker to the team, Rabbi Yablok commented how he was “drawn to Rabbi Soniker’s unique ability to combine thoughtfulness and discipline with unwavering love for each talmid. He approaches each student with a focus on what is best for him and a passion for seeing to it that he is supported in every way possible. We are fortunate to bring that passion, inspiration and commitment to our talmidim and we are enthusiastic about the opportunity to work closely with Rabbi Soniker on their behalf in the Ohr Yisroel way.” Rabbi Friedman added that “Rabbi Soniker is one of the few mechanchim that has the ability to connect with and teach talmidim regardless of where they are coming from or interest level. Everyone who has ever known Rabbi Soniker knows that his heart is as big as they come and his friendship and ability to relate to and understand people is one of a kind. I am absolutely sure that his presence will make a huge impact on the talmidim and they will grow to love him just as all of his talmidim always have at MTA. It is not common to hear from every talmid that has ever had a rebbe how much they all love him. Rabbi Soniker is one of few such rebbeim. Often administrators are hired based on skills unrelated to chinuch, as if being an administrator in a yeshiva is no different than in any other business. At Ohr Yisroel we look for the absolute best mechanchim to become administrators so that there is one culture, a focus on chinuch and nothing else. Rabbi Soniker is a multi-talented person and will be a great administrator but more importantly, a great rebbe and friend to the boys.”
With Rabbi Soniker, Ohr Yisroel further diversifies their shiur offerings and adds an experienced maggid shiur to their impressive line up. Moving into just its second year, Ohr Yisroel has created a unique model by combining Israel yeshiva-style Judaic studies with blended online learning in the general studies program. The yeshiva centers its mission around nourishing happiness and self-reflection as the key to lifelong avodas Hashem.
To learn more, visit the yeshiva’s newly renovated website: www.ohryot.org.