Trip to YU

CHANI’S GRADUATION

TOUR OF YESHIVA UNIVERSITY

VISIT AUNT  SHIRLEY MAZA

MONDAY – MAY 14th 2018:

  • 1:00 PM – Arrived at Midway for my flight to LaGuardia.  Very excited. I have a carry-on case and a suit bag. I took two suitcases for Chani to bring things home.
  • 4:00 PM – Arrived at LaGuardia.  Netanel, Karen’s kid, picked me up.  We had a long bumper to bumper drive to my cousin, Avi Maza, in Highland Park, NJ. (Our mothers are sisters.)  Received a call from my co-worker that he is leaving MB. Big blow.
  • 7:00 PM – Arrived at Avi’s house.  His wife served us a delicious supper: chicken, turkey, soup, rice, salad, hot dogs.   We met Avi’s kids. Netanel talked about his college experience at Queen’s college.  Netanel sparkled.   Avi’s daughter is not sure where she will go to college and they talked about the options.  Went to Mincha at Congregation Ahavas Achim.
  • 8:00 PM – Went to visit my Aunt Shirley.  She is in her mid 90s and lives two blocks from her son.   Spent 20 minutes visiting with Aunt Shirley. I have not seen her for well over 5 years.  We caught up on old times. I called my mother and put her on the phone with Shirley. Aunt Shirley and her husband, Rabbi Yosef Maza TZL, would come into every Simcha and I miss seeing her.  She is the life of the party. I love her family. Her ability to play Jewish geography was unsurpassed. It was important for me to go and I thank God that he allowed me the opportunity to visit.   My daughter’s three years going to Stern College and my paying full tuition for all three years was worth it just so that I could come into her graduation and visit Aunt Shirley. I still regret my loss that when my Uncle Yosef Maza, was ill, I did not visit and stay with him for a Shabbos.

Only in New York/Brooklyn – Driving on the BQE through Williamsburg, a Seforim seller sets up his wares on the overpass.  How does he move it at night or when it rains?

  • 9:00 PM – davened Maariv and went back to Avi’s house.  I was a pleasant mid-May evening so we sat on his deck and talked.  I never realized how we had some similar life experiences.

  • 10:00 PM – went downstairs and slept in a very comfortable bed.

TUESDAY – MAY 15th – YU CAMPUS VISIT:

Rosh Chodesh Sivan.  

  • 6:45 PM – davened Schachris.  Had Rice Chex for breakfast with Avi.

One of my nephew’s, Matt Schwartz arranged for me to have a day at YU.   I am excited. The day’s schedule is as follows:

  • 9:45 AM – Rabbi Schwarzberg picked me up to drive me to YU.  He is the director the YU’s job placement office for Rabbis and Kollel members.  We had a great one hour trip. We played Jewish geography. Rabbi Schwarzberg knows everyone.  He is great for his job. Rabbi Schwartzberg was the former Rabbi at Ahavas Achim, the main Shul in Highland Park.  On Shavous he plans to speak about running in Halacha. I told him my vision for YU. They should open up Yeshivas based on YU Hashkafah, meaning Torah Al Pi Brisk, with a healthy sense of the world around them.   They should use their Talmedai Chachomin and open up Kolleliem similar to Lakewood Kolleliem. Boca Raton needs a Kollel. Rabbi Reichman, Rabbi in Englewood, New Jersey should be set up with a Kollel and eventually a Yeshiva.   He told me the issues. I feel that despite them, it should be done.

We talked about the greatness of Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff, Rabbi Herschel Reichman, Rabbi Korobkin, Rabbi Dovid Hirsch and other YU Rosh Yeshivas.  I told him about Michael Parker’s Bar Mitzvah. I told him how I spent a beautiful Shabbos in Toronto when Rabbi Rakeffet-Rothkoff was a scholar in residence.    I heard Rabbi Rakeffet-Rothkopff speak Friday night, Shabbos morning, and Mincha. I found out were he was eating the Shabbos meal and I popped into the house. It was by the Zeifmans.   Zeifmans’ accounting company is used by my wife’s family and he knows my family. After Shabbos, I made sure to get a ride home with Rabbi Rakeffet-Rothkoff.

I admire Rabbi Schwarzberg.  He advised a Rabbi not to sign on a nonsense Kol Korah against a well respected friends of ours.  Unfortunately there is a tendency by some to hurt people they do not agree with and justify it religiously.  The Kotzker has a Vort on this.

  • 10:45 AM – arrive at YU and went to my nephew’s office in the admissions office.
  • 11:05 AM – Put down my things and went to Rabbi Baruch Simon’s Shiur on Maaser Kesafim.  Met Amos Weiss, who is retired and is a permeant student at YU.
  • 12:00 PM – went to Rabbi Herschel Schechter’s Shiur on the laws of Geirus.  He spoke on various questions of conversion. I introduced myself to him and we talked.
  • 1:15 PM – went to Rabbi Yaakov Neuberger’s Shiur on eating diary on Shavous.  I spoke to him after the Shiur. We spoke about Kotzk.
  • 2:30 PM – davened Mincah.  Saw Rabbi Reiss and said hello.  Saw Rabbi Dovid Hirsch and said hello.  Rabbi Yaakov Blau came over the said hello.
  • 3:30 PM – went with Matt Schwartz to the Golan Heights for lunch.  Chani made it to YU for our visit. Bought a Falafel. Saw a group of 5 guys sitting outside the restaurant.  The leader of the group, Danielli, was a teacher at YU and taught Jewish history and was from Toronto. Knows the Janowskis and davens on occasion at the Baytt.   Told them a Kokzker story.
  • 4:00 PM – took lunch back to Matt’s office.  The Falafel was delicious.
  • 4:50 PM – went to Belfer Hall to meet with the President of YU, Rabbi Ari Berman.  Outside the president’s office with Rabbi Ari Lamm. Ari Lamm was in Chicago a few weeks earlier and I attended his Shiur on Paul of Tarsis.  I told him that what I got out of if was that Rabbi Yaakov Emden wrote about Paul and understood that Paul was not out to make Jews Christians.  Paul was speaking to Christians. Rabbi Yaakov Emden was Malamud Zechoz on Paul. Rabbi Yaakov Emden was intellectually curious and honest. It appears that Rabbi Yaakov Emden actually read Paul in the New Testament.
  • 5:05 PM – met with Rabbi Ari Berman.  Matt and Chani were with me. I had wanted to talk about my vision for YU.   However, I only had 5 minutes and he does not need me to “Hoch him a Kop”. Rabbi Berman had been in Israel the day before for the openings of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.  He also had an evening event and graduation the next day. I asked him if he is related to Rabbi Berman head of the OU’s office in Jerusalem on Keren Hayesod. He said no and that over the years they received each other’s mail. He met the other Rabbi Berman in Israel the day before for the first time.
  • 5:25 PM – met Michael Strauss, interim dean of the Sy Syms Schools of Business.   He worked for American Express for many years before retiring and going over to YU.
  • 5:45 PM – Tour is over.  Had an exhausting, but rewarding day at YU.
  • 6:15 PM got a ride with Matt’s friend to Chani’s dorm.
  • 10:00 PM – Rivkie Morgenstern-Siegal came in for Chani’s graduation and we went to dinner at the Eden Wok.  Chani had $45 on her restaurant card. Had sushi and some of Rvikie’s rice noodles. Delicious, but very unhealthy.
  • 9:30 PM – took a Lyft to the Ramada Hotel near Newark airport.  $90 Lyft ride.
  • 11:30 PM – sleep.

Costs – Ramada – $400

             Lyft rides – $126

WEDNESDAY – MAY 16, 2018 – GRADUATION DAY:

  • 7:00 AM – woke up with great excitement.  Today is graduation day. Not only is Chani Morgenstern graduating, but Karen’s kid, Matt Schwartz, is also graduating with a Masters Degree in Business.
  • 7:30 AM – went to the workout room.   Met the Ginzburgs from Silver Spring, Maryland.   Their son is graduating.
  • 8:15 AM – went to Chani’s room to see if I can be of help.  I ironed her graduation gown.
  • 8:45 AM – went to my room to get ready.
  • 9:45 AM – brought our luggage down and ordered a LYFT
  • 10:15 AM – arrived at the Prudential Center where the New Jersey Devils play.  So exciting. I was pumped up. Came later then I wanted. Found seats towards the front of the stadium, about 20 rows up on the women’s side.  I would have preferred seats within the first 5 rows. Karen and Netanel came soon thereafter, with Amitai coming later.

About 10 minutes after we found our seats, the processional started with the playing of Pomp and Circumstance.  I wanted it louder. We looked for Chani and finally she was walking. She sat in the fourth row towards the right sideline.  We waved and she waved back. She decorated the top of her cap with the words, Thank you Ma and Ta, so it was easy to always see her.

The program was opened with the singing of the national anthem.  Ambassador Danny Danon, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, was conferred an Honorary Degree.  He was the guest speaker. Former President Ricard Joel was also awarded an Honorary Degree.  There was the valedictorian address and a video of the co-valedictorians. Lastly, President Rabbi Ari Berman spoke.   I will say that during some of the speeches, nobody was listening. I walked out during one of the speeches and walked around.  Many people were outside. Look who I found outside.

 I ate inside. Netanel made me oatmeal, which as you can see, I enjoyed.

Time for the Conferring of Degrees and Diplomas.  The graduate degrees were awarded first. They did not call out each graduate.  One person represented the class and was presented with a degree. Matt Schwartz represented his class and he was mentioned by name.  Time for the Undergraduates. They called out each graduate as the graduate walked across the stage. Each one took a picture with President Ari Berman.

With that the graduation was over.  Very satisfying. I met Ranan Sugarman whose son was graduating. I met a Sofer from LA, Ron Sieger.  Comes out their daughter was with Chani in Michlala in Israel.

  • 12:45 PM:  davened Schachris in the parking lot.  I left my Tefilin in a suitcase that Netanel Schwartz had in his car.  
  • 1:00 PM -I texted Avi Maza for a suggestion where we can eat and celebrate with family.  He suggested the Green Chickpea, www.greenchicpea.com.   It was perfect.  It was 15 minutes from the Prudential Center.  Karen, Netanel, Matt, myself and Chani walked in and the place was packed.  Amitai Schwartz was at the graduation but could not make it for lunch. My Rebbe, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, was at the restaurant with his family.  His grandson graduated. Additionally, Karen knows Mrs. Weinreb’s sister. I hugged Rabbi Avrohom Kivilevitz. His daughter graduated. I haven’t seen him in 15 years since the left Chicago.  He is the Mashgiach and works at IDT in Newark. I met a family from Springfield, MA. Chani met a friend who is from Chicago.
  • 6:00 PM – Netanel dropped us off at Brookdale, Chani’s dorm.  Chani had to pack for the trip home. It took longer than expected and we left at 7:35 PM for LaGuardia to catch an 8:55 PM flight to Chicago.  We got to the airport at 8:12 PM and I was resigned to missing the flight. Initially we waited in line outside to check out baggage. After 10 minutes we were told to go inside as we came too late.  We were in line for another 10 minutes. Chani had to re-arrange her luggage so as not to be overweight in one of the suitcases and not pay the $75.00 overweight fee. The third suitcase was 62 pounds and we had to pay $75.00.  We had to take the luggage to the X-ray machine and then go through security. The line was short. We made it to the flight at 8:50 PM. Luckily, the flight was delayed and they did not start boarding until 9:00 PM.  Boruch Hashem we made the flight.  Waiting in line I met a couple flying to Chicago for Shavous. I know their son-in-law and was happy to do the family a favor. I offered them a ride home from Midway. They took me up on my offer. I was nervous because we had 5 suitcases and was afraid we would not have enough room in the car.  As luck would have it, three of our suitcases did not make it on the flight so we had plenty of room in the car. My three suitcases came in the next day at 9:30 AM. I was at the airport to pick up my kids who were coming in for Shavous, so I did not have to make a special trip to the airport. It was Siatta Dishmaya.
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