(Courtesy of Congregation Ohr HaTorah) Over 400 guests packed the Keter Torah ballroom for a musical evening with Ishay Ribo benefiting Congregation Ohr HaTorah this past Monday night. The Benefit was in lieu of a shul dinner this year and was a smashing success, as Ohr HaTorah's president, Yitz Novak, highlighted in his opening remarks.
“Last year we improvised a ‘Zoom Dinner’ which thankfully was financially successful given the circumstances, but we really wanted to bring together the community for an unforgettable evening after everything we’ve all collectively faced during the pandemic,” Novak added.
That theme of unity and togetherness infused the event with an electric feel throughout the evening.
In his brief address before the performance, Rav Zvi Sobolofsky highlighted the role of a Bais Knesses in bringing a community together, while also stressing the remarkable ability Ishay Ribo has shown in unifying so many different Jews around the world. That was certainly apparent in the diversity of the crowd across ages, demographics and geography, with guests driving in from across assorted communities throughout the tri-state area.
Rav Sobolofsky, an internationally renowned posek, acclaimed author, and Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University, has led Congregation Ohr HaTorah in Bergenfield for the past 16 years. The shul has seen remarkable growth recently, and now offers four Shabbos morning minyanim, including a popular teen minyan, in addition to regular multiple weekday minyanim for shacharis, mincha, and maariv. The size and scope of tefillah offerings are just a sample of the growth, which is also seen in dynamic weekly programming for youth, shiurim for adults, a thriving sisterhood, and much more.
Ohr HaTorah’s leadership expressed their gratitude to the evening’s sponsors who played a critical role in making the event such a success. Corporate Sponsors included The Jewish Link, as well as Cross River Bank, Nina Eizikovitz - Links Residential Brokered by EXP, Morre-Tec, Good Raz, Pachter Orthodontics, David Sanders of MR Capital Group, and Windrose Title.
“We were also fortunate that in addition to our Board and volunteers from the Ohr HaTorah community and the amazing lighting, sound, and staging professionals, we had a number of students from local Yeshivos that helped make sure the evening ran smoothly and added a tremendous amount of ruach and excitement,” Josh Rozenberg, event coordinator and Ohr HaTorah board member, shared.
In addition to being mesmerized and inspired by Ribo’s performance over the course of an hour and a half, attendees were treated to a special guest appearance when internationally acclaimed Cantor Netanel Hershtik jumped on stage for a duet performance of Ribo’s hit song, Nafshi. Herstik, no stranger to big events, added Ohr HaTorah guests to his illustrious list of the world’s most acclaimed audiences, including events at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, The Vienna Konzerthaus, and The Sydney Opera House, and publicly expressed his gratitude for being able to fulfill his dream of singing with Ribo.
Following the performance, guests were treated to a dessert buffet as they exited, with many staying for over an hour basking in the buzz of the evening.
The evening could not have run smoother and was truly a success. Ohr HaTorah expresses its gratitude to Ishay Ribo, to Keter Torah and their incredible staff, and to the many volunteers from the entire community, and looks forward to sharing its growth story, including progress on the much-needed and highly-anticipated building project in the weeks and months to come.
To learn more about Congregation Ohr HaTorah, please visit www.ohrhatorah.com.