May 29, 2024
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May 29, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Third Semi-Annual YABA Dinner

Thursday night May 14 marked the third semi-annual Yeshiva High School Alumni Basketball Association dinner. Keter Torah was packed with family, friends and former teammates. All gathered to wish each other well and raise money for YABA’s Mitch Merlis basketball court at Yeshivat Kfar Zeitim in Tiberias, Israel.

This year’s ring of honor inductees featured: Susan Rifkin (a four year starter on the first Bruriah team, averaging double digit points and rebounds), David Ruchelsman (a three year member of the Frisch varsity team who led the Cougars to back-to-back championships), Stephanie Amos (a four year starter for Central, averaging over 18 points per game), Max Feldstein (who led the Ramaz Rams to an impressive 60-3 record during his four years), Zach Mishaan (who could play any spot on the floor, guided his freshman team to an undefeated season and notched two more championships as a varsity player), Barry Berg (who played JV for RJJ and varsity for MTA and averaged over twenty points in his senior year, leading the MTA Lions to a 15-1 record), Aaron Grandison of YHSQ (thought to be the best player the League has produced, putting YHSQ on the map and continuing on to Division I NCAA Basketball), Andy Weizen (who averaged a double-double—points and rebounds—in his last two years at RJJ), Jerry Stahl (a rebounding specialist, grabbing a record 321 boards in 1975 for the Rogosin Lions), Allen Helfer (who led BTA in scoring each of his four seasons and was on the YU team that posted a 16-2 mark—what still stands as YU’s best single season), Marvin Teicher, a”h (who led his MTA teams in points and rebounds, but was known around the league as a top defender, always taking the opposition’s best player) and Richard Hagler (who served as League commissioner for thirty-plus years, taking a league that only had men’s and women’s basketball and developing it to boast hockey, soccer, volleyball, golf, tennis, baseball, soccer and much more).

The festivities were well organized and were a tribute to the many hours Elliot “Bache” Auerbacher and Irv Bader devoted to the cause. From the delicious meal served by Five Star Caterers, to the Tabooze cocktails, to 1970’s vintage basketball videos, it was a magnificent event. The prevailing sentiment there was: how can this possibly be topped? In an interview with the JLNJ, Mr. Auerbacher discussed a need for organized yeshiva high school basketball in Israel. Under the current system, unless you are amongst the top ten kids in your age group, you do not get an opportunity to play organized basketball in Israel. Only a select few make the local club team (equivalent to AAU team in the United States). The team building and life lessons learned on the court have molded so many players, and as Auerbacher pointed out “Myself, as well as many of the guys I played with and against in high school would not have had an opportunity to play under those circumstances”.

The YABA organization, along with 2015 ring of honor inductee Richard Hagler, who knows a little something about developing a successful league, is hoping to plant the seeds of a league in Israel.

YABA is an IRS recognized 501C3 not-for-profit organization. For more information or to make a donation (you can even sponsor a team or court in memory of a loved one) contact [email protected] or [email protected].

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