YOEC Class of ’96 Reunites for a Weekend at Yeshiva

30 years after they joined YOEC in 1993, and 27 years after they graduated, the class of ’96 joined together for a weekend at the Yeshiva to relive their experiences. 

By Anash.org reporter

Three decades after they began studying in Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad in Los Angeles, the class of ’96 returned for an inspiring Hakhel Reunion Shabbos in the Yeshiva.

The alumni group began their studies in YOEC in 1993 and graduated in 1996. They gathered to reunite in the spirit of Hakhel to strengthen their friendships with each other while being fully enveloped in the Seder and learning of the Yeshiva for a complete Shabbos.

Before traveling to Los Angeles, a delegation went to the Ohel, and then to the kever of classmate Shmully Denburg a”h.

The reunion began in LA on a poignant note with a visit to the local Chabad cemetery where Rabbi Ariel Ravnoy, who was also part of the class, is buried. The shocking passing of Ariel at the age of 36 in 2015 propelled the class to be more in touch with one another, and the visit was an appropriate way to start the get-together. They were joined there by Dr. Zev Ravnoy, Ariel’s father. The classmates also visited nearby kevorim of fathers of three of the classmates, Harav Avrohom Levitansky, Harav Shimon Raichik and Reb Bentzion Novack, aleihem hashalom.

The group then headed to the Yeshiva campus, where they were welcomed to their rooms, and enjoyed a tour of the campus, which had grown exponentially since their time there. Some of the former bochurim even went back to their old Mivtzoim routes!

After a pre-Shabbos snack, the classmates took a group photo in front of the Yeshiva, and then dispersed to get ready for Shabbos.

The group gathered before Mincha for a short seder in learning. Then the group davened mincha and had a shiur on a sicha by Rosh Yeshiva Harav Ezra B. Schochet, followed by Kabolas Shabbos. They then headed to the home of magid shiur Rabbi Bentzion Oster for a joint seudas Shabbos and Farbrengen, held in the spirit of ‘ish es reeihu yaazoru uleochiv yomar chazak‘, especially appropriate as the Shabbos was Shabbos Chazak!

The morning began with Tehillim, mezonos and Chassidus, followed by shacharis. The gathered group auctioned off the aliyos to benefit the Yeshiva, and the aliyos were presented to the rabbeim and mashpiim. A special seudah was held in the ‘old beis medrash’, the original location of the Yeshiva’s Zal branch, which is currently used by Shiur Gimmel Mesivta.

The seudah led into a farbrengen with Rabbi Schochet, Rabbi Oster, Rabbi Chaim Citron, Rabbi Chanan Back, Rabbi Yosef Bukiet, Rabbi Chaim Yitzchok Sanowicz, and Rabbi Dovid Thaler, who served as their maggidei shiurim, mashpi’im and hanhala throughout their years in Mesivta and Zal. The lebedike farbrengen continued until Mincha. 

Hachlatos were taken at the farbrengen related to sharing in the simchas of fellow classmates, and the exciting idea of having a monthly Zoom shiur with the Rosh Yeshiva for all YOEC alumni.

Shabbos concluded with ma’ariv and havdala followed by a joyous melave malka at the home of Munish Weiss, a classmate who lives locally in Los Angeles, where a special slideshow was shown.

The Shabbaton continued on Sunday morning with shacharis, breakfast, and a shiur by Rabbi Schochet on birchas hanehenin. The Rosh Yeshiva then answered questions and shared wisdom and guidance with the assembled regarding setting kvius ittim to learn daily.

Today, the alumni who participated serve as community activists and leaders, with some serving as mashpiim, maggidei shiur and shluchim, and others as lawyers, therapists and businessmen, but for Shabbos, they were all “just” bochurim again. The group included: Avremel Brod, Chaim Moorvitch, Dov Blauner, Dov Newman, Duvie Feldman, Eli Moshe Levitansky, Eliezer Drew, Ezzy Schusterman, Hershey Novack, Moshe Braude, Moshe Levy, Moshe Rubinson, Munish Weiss, Nachum Bukiet, Naftali Rotenberg, Shalom Ber Kourbatsky, Shalom Lubin, Shmueli Lovitch, Sruli Perlman, Yankie Rosenblum, Yosef Raichik, and Yossi Rosenberg. Others were unable to travel to join the Shabbaton and participated in spirit.

The group thanked Rabbi Mendy Spalter and Rabbi Dovid Thaler for their gracious hospitality and assistance, and to Rabbi Shalom Lubin and Rabbi Hershey Novack for coordinating.

The Shabbos Hakhel was an unqualified success and other groups and classes have already reached out to the Yeshiva to coordinate their own reunion Shabbosim.

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