Monsey Memories: When Beis Medrash Elyon’s 25th Anniversary Was Marked

Monsey Memories: When Beis Medrash Elyon’s 25th Anniversary Was Marked

Yitzy Fried

In the fall of 1968, 25 years ago, a dinner was held in Monsey, marking 25 years since the founding of the legendary institution Beis Medrash Elyon (an article on the founding and the history of this special place shall follow). In advance of this, Der Tog ran the following article.

“Beis Medrash Elyon, the first American bastion of lomdus in the old style, within the thriving Torah city of Monsey, near Spring Valley, which developed around the yeshiva.

This Sunday evening, a dinner will take place in Monsey, the tiny hamlet at the edge of Spring Valley, in honor of 25 years since the founding of Beis Medrash Elyon, through the great dreamer and even greater man of action, Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz.

The event will not merely mark the yeshiva’s anniversary but rather the jubilee of an entire Torah city in Rockland County—on the other side of the Hudson—that has grown into a Torah metropolis in the Torah world. If one takes a walk in Monsey today, it would seem like they have wandered into an idyllic Jewish shtetl of the old home which we so pine for and which was so brutally cut away from us by the accursed oppressors.

Today, in Monsey, there are shuls, shtieblach, yeshivos and mesivtos—but the root of it all, the crown jewel of all of them, is the Beis Medrash Elyon, where 175 brilliant talmidim and yungeleit preoccupy themselves exclusively with Torah learning.

Twenty-five years ago, when Rav Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz, founded the Beis Medrash, it was a proclamation of a new Torah direction in Jewish life, a direction that had as its purpose to raise not only bnei Torah and lomdei Torah, but also gedolei Torah who would be familiar with all areas of Torah.

Twenty-five years ago, the idea of a Kolel for young married men was a novelty. Even Yidden, who treasured Torah and understood Torah, did not think above semicha for rabbonus as the highest ideal for a yeshiva student.

But, along came the pioneer, and gathered a group of brilliant men from Torah Vodaath and sat them down to learn Torah lishmoh in Monsey, far from the hustle and bustle of the city. This broke through the hardened American landscape, enabling the concept of Torah lishmoh to thrive here as well.

It is thanks to a small group of individuals that the yeshiva has been able to thrive in the ensuing years. One of them is Reb Yoel Tzvi Rosner, who, with his burning ahavas haTorah, dedicated himself to Beis Medrash Elyon. Thus, the honor being given to him at this Sunday’s dinner is well-deserved.

The dinner for Beis Medrash Elyon is more than a local event for a local institution; it is an important celebration of the growth of Torah and the development of Torah scholars in the United States of America.

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