July 24, 2024
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Lamdeinu Honors Mrs. Lorraine Vogel, z”l, And Arielle Cohen at Chanukah Breakfast

(Courtesy of Lamdeinu) Lamdeinu was blessed to celebrate its seventh annual Chanukah breakfast Sunday, December 5, which marked Rosh Chodesh Tevet and the seventh day of Chanukah 5782. Many students and friends of Lamdeinu attended in person and numerous others participated via Zoom. Everyone enjoyed a nourishing “breakfast in a box” as well as an inspiring morning of Torah.

Dean Rachel Friedman spoke eloquently of her own personal journey in Torah learning as well as of the mission of Lamdeinu: “Study in depth and be inspired.” She described a typical Monday morning at Lamdeinu:

“Every Monday morning, rain or shine, I begin my Lamdeinu week engaged in deep Torah study with my Parshanut haMikra shiur. This year we are delving into the stories of Yaakov and Esav and their families. The class is over two hours long. It has a chavruta portion with guided study of Torah text and numerous midrashim and commentaries. Chavruta is followed by an always lively, interactive shiur and discussion. Participants join from the United States and Israel and almost everywhere in between. Each woman brings a unique perspective and intellectual background to our Torah study. The discourse is highly enthusiastic but always respectful. I spend my Sundays preparing for the Parshanut haMikra shiur. It is an intense way to welcome each new week—but it always sets a tone for the days to follow.”

Dean Friedman then spoke lovingly of her memories of beloved Lamdeinu student and chavruta, Mrs. Lorraine Vogel, z”l. “When I think of Mrs. Vogel, I can only picture her face smiling. She brought a joyous presence to every shiur she attended at Lamdeinu. Hers was a true simchat Torah.”

Lorraine Vogel had not been privileged to have a Jewish day school education, which made her embrace of Torah study at Lamdeinu all the more remarkable. Her piety and love of Torah was her personal choice; she chose to lead an observant life and a life of communal giving. She chose to raise a strong and tightly knit family with her beloved husband Rabbi Sam Vogel, steeped in the values of chesed and Torah and tefillah. She was a born educator who taught high school-age children in a long, impressive career in special education. For many years Mrs. Vogel also taught young Talmud Torah students, inspiring every one of them with her passion for Yiddishkeit and love of learning.

Dean Friedman recalled davening together with the Vogel women every year at Congregation Beth Aaron, which is also the home of Lamdeinu. “Some of my fondest memories of davening are yamim noraim at Beth Aaron. Mrs. Vogel arrived early and smiled as each of her daughters and later granddaughters joined her in the first row of the central section. The act of praying combined two of Lorraine’s greatest talents—her spirituality and her musicality. Her ethereal voice graced womens’ choirs as well as Lamdeinu’s Rosh Chodesh and Yom Ha-atzmaut women’s celebrations.”

Together with her beloved husband, Rabbi Sam Vogel, Lorraine was devoted to giving children joy and pleasure from recreation as well as education. It was their raison d’etre to provide a fun-filled, learning-filled, fulfilling summer at Camp Ma Tov. Dean Friedman remarked, “Each of my children thrived at Camp Ma Tov as did Lamdeinu’s program director Debbie Negari, a veteran camper and camp morah!”

Lamdeinu’s Torat Chesed Award was accepted by Rabbi Sam Vogel and his children. Dean Friedman concluded: “It is with great love and sadness that we dedicate our Chanukah breakfast this year to the memory of Mrs. Lorraine Vogel, z”l. Thank you, Lorraine, for sharing your joy with us—the joy of learning, the joy of singing, the joy of giving, the joy of teaching, the joy of loving.”

Lamdeinu also honored Arielle Cohen, a long-term student and devotee, at the annual Chanukah breakfast. Dean Friedman offered divrei bracha—words of blessing—to Arielle Cohen. She quipped, “Arielle, we have known each other for a very long time. Whenever I think of you I give myself and everyone else a bracha: May Hashem give every one of us the ability to be a little bit more like Arielle Cohen.”

Arielle Cohen was dedicated to the mission and existence of Lamdeinu since its inception. Dean Friedman noted that as an avid student of Torah her whole life, Arielle was “the poster child for Lamdeinu. When Lamdeinu began its first fall semester, I was committed to offering a high-level Talmud and Halacha class for women. At that time Arielle’s main love was Tanach—but I needed to fill the class. The rest is history. Arielle is a force of nature in every masechta or ‘she’elah and teshuvah’ that she tackles.”

Arielle described the depth of her love for Torah study—enhanced by the breadth and rigor of her Lamdeinu shiurim. She spoke with warmth about her teachers at Lamdeinu, especially Rabbi Gedalyah Berger, Rabbi Daniel Fridman, Rabbi Hayyim Angel and Dr. Tammy Jacobowitz. Dean Friedman recalled Arielle’s first reaction to learning Gemara at Lamdeinu: “When I was growing up, girls didn’t learn Talmud. It just wasn’t done back then. Decades later, after observing my daughter’s rapid progress in her high school Talmud class, I decided to learn Talmud too. I trek to Lamdeinu several mornings each week to study Talmud and Tanach. It feels so fulfilling to add this new dimension to my life. It’s certainly not easy. But there’s something good about challenging your brain when you are in your 40s. I learn something every day that inspires me.”

Dean Friedman closed with the heartfelt words, “Arielle, my bracha to you is that you continue to be who you are so that we can all model ourselves after you in Torah, chesed and middot tovot. As your husband Chanan often quips, my wife is in kollel at Lamdeinu. May you continue to grace the Lamdeinu beit midrash with your signature humility, kindness and erudition.”

The Lamdeinu breakfast was expertly and lovingly chaired by Roz Friedman and Rachelle Mandelbaum. Debbie Negari, Lamdeinu’s program director, dedicated her considerable talents to making this morning of Torah a joyous and moving event.

To register for Lamdeinu classes and programs please go to lamdeinu.org. To donate in memory of Mrs. Lorraine Vogel, z”l, or in honor of Arielle Cohen, please write to [email protected].

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