By Linda Levin
On Tuesday, June 6, Ateres Bais Yaakov held its 16th anniversary dinner at the Sheraton Mahwah Hotel. This year’s honorees were Mrs. Chaya Cohen, recipient of the Ateres Malka Award for her service to the school as N’shei head, and Mr. and Mrs. Nachman Auerbach, parents of the year.
This beautiful event was well attended by parents and supporters of Ateres Bais Yaakov—a school that is home to over 400 students from preschool through high school. This year, Ateres went through a most challenging time being housed in temporary quarters. The school sought, and finally was granted, the requisite building and zoning permits for the construction of a new, beautiful facility at 200 Summit Park Rd. The dinner was a celebration of past achievements as well as a celebration of having a new beginning.
After enjoying a lovely and varied smorgasbord, dinner guests were treated to a delicious meal. The table décor was elegant and impressive. The floral arrangements were prepared by a parent in the school, Mrs. Greenwald, Esq. It was interesting to note that the dinner journal was a digital one, delivered on a “tablet” on each table. This innovation saved the school time and money. Bentching was also available on the tablet. The school then emailed the parents the link to the dinner journal, pictures and video.
Rabbi Aaron Fink, founder and dean of Ateres, delivered the dinner’s opening remarks. Rabbi Fink thanked the administrators and staff for working so tirelessly under such unfavorable conditions this year. The administrators each received a bouquet of flowers. A while later in the evening, every teacher received a rose while Rabbi Fink acknowledged each staff member by name, for a total of 75 staff members!
The mission of Ateres is to develop each student with love according to her personality and needs. Ateres is a school that lets its students “breathe.” Rabbi Fink introduced Mr. Nachman Auerbach, parent of the year and father to 12th grader Miri. After receiving his award, Mr. Auerbach spoke very eloquently about his and his wife’s admiration of the school and he quoted the famous pasuk from Mishlei, “Chanoch lanaar al pi darko,” that one must educate students according to their learning needs. Mr. Auerbach quoted the Vilna Gaon on this pasuk and showed how Ateres educated its students, his daughter included, according to Shlomo Hamelech’s directive.
The next honoree, Mrs. Chaya Cohen, unfortunately could not be at the dinner. Her husband received the honor and delivered her remarks on her behalf. Mrs. Cohen has headed the Ateres N’shei for the past eight years. Under her leadership, the N’shei has expanded and grown into an active and important part of the school. Among other things, N’shei provides Rosh Chodesh treats for the girls, arranges an annual Shavuos bake sale and has bought games and sports equipment for the students to enjoy during recess.
Rabbi Moshe Dear has been the executive director of Ateres since the very beginning, working closely with Rabbi Fink. A member of Monsey Hatzalah, Rabbi Dear is leaving Ateres to become the manager of a new urgent care facility in the Evergreen shopping center. Rabbi Fink thanked him for his years of service and wished him well in his new endeavor.
The dinner ended with a beautiful video of the children of Ateres going about their daily activities. The video also presented interviews with some of the 12th-grade girls who expressed their love and appreciation of their school.
All in all, the dinner was a huge success as Ateres continues to go m’chayil el chayil!