“Seventy years ago we lost 40% of our people and a much greater percentage of our Torah scholars,” said Richard Stone, co-chairman of the American Friends of Yeshivot Bnei Akiva’s 34th Anniversary Tribute dinner held at the Museum of Jewish Heritage on July 1 — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.
“Anchored in the Jewish state, more people perhaps by far now study Torah at a high level than at any time in history.” Stone said. “Can you imagine what the victims of the Nazi slaughter would have thought could they have envisioned Yeshiva students capable of operating the most technologically sophisticated tanks, parachuting from an airplane!”
Citing the “35 Yeshivot for boys, 21 Ulpanot for girls…some with a focus on music and the environment,” Stone proclaimed “their reputation for academic excellence envied throughout Israel.”
“The real reason I am here,” said Ron Prosor, Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations, “is to honor — and in German the world for honor is ehre — Betty Ehrenberg.
Executive Director of the World Jewish Congress - United States and North America, her curriculum vitae includes Executive Director and Director of International Affairs of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, Bureau Director for the Consul General of Israel in New York, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, and more.
“Your name is a household name in the Israeli embassy and the Israeli consulate,” Prosor told Ehrenberg. “We want to say ‘thank you’ and — as you know — a ‘thank you’ from an Israeli doesn’t come easy… Who could have imagined that when the first Yeshiva high school was opened in 1939 with only 13 students, it would grow to become one of the leading religious Zionist education movements in Israel [whose impact] can be seen across Israel’s society from board room to court? Sixteen members of this Knesset are alumni of Yeshivot Bnei Akiva. And this year, one graduate become the first religious female lieutenant in the Israeli air force.”
A short video overview of the students and the range of programs offered, included a profile of an Iranian beauty who is going for her PhD in an abstract arena of physics.
Prosor also lauded dinner co-chair Harvey Krueger, vice chairman, Investment Banking, Barclays as “having opened more worlds for Israel in the financial world than Christopher Columbus.”
The guest speaker was Rabbi Dr. Ratzon Arussy, chief Rabbi of Kiryat Ono, Member of the Chief Rabbinate Council of Israel. Among the guests: Kenneth Bialkin, Jeff Wieseneld and Malcolm Hoenlein.