June 19, 2024
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June 19, 2024
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New Rochelle Torah Center Dedicates Division in Memory Of Dr. Arthur Turetsky, z”l

On October 29-30, the New Rochelle Torah Center hosted “A Shabbos to Remember’’ in memory of Young Israel of New Rochelle’s member, Dr. Arthur Turetsky, z”l, who died of COVID early last year. Events included a Friday night tish, Shabbat morning speeches by Rav Gershon Turetsky, director of Sha’alvim for Women, Rav Yehuda Turetsky, ram at Yeshivat Sha’alvim and Rav Etan Epstein, NRTC founder. Saturday night’s dedication of the Beit Aharon Shaul high school division honoring Dr. Turetsky was followed by an Eitan Katz concert.

Rav Epstein began the dedication, “This is the fulfillment of a dream over the last five plus years. The kollel has branched out and made changes—some seen, some unseen and some things even I don’t know.” Epstein continued, “This is the jewel in the crown. The high school division includes boys forming chavrutahs, showing a desire not just to grow, but to learn seriously and consistently. This dedication in memory of Dr. Turetsky is a tribute to who he was as a person, as well as to our community. Dr. Turetsky embodied the mission of the kollel. Torah isn’t the most important thing in our lives, but it’s life itself. He was never seen without a sefer. His vast collection of seforim attested to his unquestionable thrust for Torah knowledge.”

He added, “His nature as a quiet man helped him hide his brilliance, because there are two ways in which a man cannot hide his intellect. Chazal teaches ‘a man’s wisdom will light up his face.’ Dr. Turetsky’s warm, radiant smile clearly showed a discerning person; how sharp his mind truly was. The second way that one cannot hide their intellectual capacity is through one’s children. I have known the Turetskys for 30 years; their achievements, each in their own fields, speak volumes of their parents’ wise nature.”

Avi Turetsky began, “Etan mentioned my father loved learning, but he was also very modest. I don’t know if he would’ve enjoyed having people here to celebrate, but he definitely would’ve enjoyed this honor.”

Epstein recalled, “Most think the kollel started five years ago, but it actually started 22 years ago. A high school junior reviewing for a Gemara test at the beit midrash of the old Young Israel, unable to grasp a certain point, asked his friend for help. His friend referred him to his older brother. The junior in high school and the older brother set up a regular chavruta. That boy reviewing for his test was me, a junior at Ramaz, my friend was Rav Yehuda and the older brother was Rav Gershon. For the next year, we continued learning together; one of the greatest influences on my life, my last years of high school and the path that I took afterwards.”

Gershon Turetsky offered, “My father was not only a lover of Torah, but a lover of chinuch, formal and informal. Not only did we see him constantly learning, but as kids, he learned with us as well. That continued into the next generation, as our children embraced any opportunity to learn with their Saba. He cherished the relationships with whomever he learned with; young, old, related or not.”

Gershon added, “This program is a beautiful way to memorialize my father. It speaks to who he was as a parent and a person. “

Yehuda Turetsky shared, “My family and I were not able to have anything that resembled regular shiva, given the reality when my father passed away. This celebratory Shabbat has been a tremendous source of strength. I feel somewhat qualified to assess New Rochelle’s high school kollel learning. I had the opportunity at SAR, Frisch and other area schools to interview or ‘test’ members of the New Rochelle kollel. It’s absolutely astounding the quality of learning that has taken place here.”

High school student Benjamin Neuwirth recalled attending the YINR Daf Yomi shiur with his father but understanding practically nothing. Dr. Turetsky, leading Friday shiurim, would intentionally engage the young Neuwirth. Prior to his bar mitzvah, he regularly learned mishnayot with Arthur. He described their “beautiful dining room with seforim around the table and a yummy pastry awaiting me at my seat.” Their one-on-one learning continued through middle school and his freshman year of high school, only to be interrupted by the pandemic.

Neuwirth continued, “I remember how excited he would be telling me about trips to Israel visiting his grandkids. I’m lucky to have witnessed the relationship between Arthur and Rochelle. The respect they had for each other was evident. Rochelle was so supportive of our learning. It’s fitting that the kollel is dedicated in the name of someone who lived as an eved Hashem and a helper to his community. Knowing that our learning will be in his memory brings me great joy.”

NRTC’s kollel meets at YINR every Sunday-Thursday, 8:30-10 p.m.

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