By Rabbi Noson Berman
On Sunday night February 27, 2011 P’TACH celebrated 35 years of service in Jewish Special Education with their Annual Scholarship Dinner at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan. Opening remarks were given by Rabbi Noson Berman co-director of P’TACH’s Office of Institutional Advancement.
Mr. Hillel Weinberger of Teaneck, NJ and co-president of the board was the master of ceremonies and spoke about the dedication and efforts of the honorees to their communities and for P’TACH. Each honoree was then introduced by a current or former student from one of the P’TACH programs who spoke about their personal challenges and how P’TACH has helped them overcome and succeed.
The honorees included Rabbi Mordechai and Rebbetzin Suri Twerski-Rabbinical Leadership Awardees, Dr. David and Doreen Cohen-Educational Awardees, Adina and Michael Kirshner-Chesed Awardees, and Ari Teman-Community Service Awardee.
The honorees were followed by the new P’TACH video which included divrei bracha from Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, Rabbi Hershel Schachter and Rabbi Yisroel Reisman. They all spoke of the importance of supporting P’TACH which is the only vehicle for these children to learn and succeed in life.
Rabbi Kamenetsky commented, “Helping P’TACH is helping someone for his entire life”. Rabbi Feinstein said, “kineged arba banim dibra torah” – the torah needs to be accessible to all children and, ”it is incumbent on everybody, as part of the chinuch of klal yisrael, to make sure that P’TACH is budgeted to do their Avodas hakodesh…” Rabbi Schachter spoke of how children who have gone to P’TACH have continued on into all fields from kollelim to medical to business and all things in between. Rabbi Reisman expressed how the change in attitude towards Jewish education in general and Special education in particular have come from efforts put forth by P’TACH.
The beautiful and moving dinner was a testament to the mesiras nefesh of the men and women who founded P’TACH 35 years ago and the change that they have been able to make to the landscape of Jewish Education. This change would not be possible without the help of the community and the special friends of P’TACH who give of their time and money to help P’TACH continue its avodas hakodesh and who are recognized and honored at the dinner. The Torah is a Morasha Kehilas Yakov – an inheritance for every Jew – and with the help of the community, P’TACH ensures that there will continue to be Torah for All Children.