Tuesday, September 20, 2011

38 Years of Community service

33 Years of Toras HaShem
Aish HaTorah College founded with 18 students in the Sephardic Congregation Adat Yeshurun in North Hollywood. A unique and sophisticated educational program is developed offering a maximum of 20 different courses.
Beginning of the Campus Outreach Program created by Rabbi Zvi Block. The program has maintained officially chartered clubs on 15 major college campuses including those in Irvine, San Diego, Santa Barbara, in addition to USC and UCLA in Los Angeles.
Summer Institute is established with over 75 young men and women attending classes all day. The summer program concluded with a special Tisha B’Av program featured on NBC News.
The start of “Aish HaTorah Presents” radio program on KGIL. The program includes presentations on aspects of the Jewish holidays and on current religious and social issues. Additionally, Aish HaTorah is featured on various religious programs on TV. Acquisition of the Aish HaTorah facility at 12422 Chandler Boulevard in North Hollywood. Rosh HaShanna services attended by well over 100 people. Shabbos and Holiday celebrations become a fixture. Aish HaTorah’s 2nd Malava Malka honoring the world-renowned HaRav Aaron Soloveitchik.
Dedication brunch at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Klaus Odenheimer honoring Ira Braverman and Mort Rubin. Event attended by over 200 people. Aish HaTorah receives special recognition as a spiritual home to young people by Joel Wachs, President of the City Council. Aish HaTorah receives an endorsement from the Jewish Federation Council of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Jewish Education for its important contribution to Adult Education.
Aish HaTorah earns the endorsement of the world renowned Rabbi Moshe Feinstein as an institution of high quality academics as well as a strong inspirational atmosphere for Jewish growth. A Sefer Torah is secured though the efforts of Dr. Ben Lesin, Mr. Jerry Ziger and Mr. Abe Solomon. The Institute also purchased the adjoining building thereby doubling the size of the facility. Thanksgiving Day weekend convention held in Malibu with over 200 students attending intensive workshops. High spirits mark the program as an outstanding success. Rabbi Block presents a paper of Aish HaTorah’s six successful years of outreach to a Rabbinical Seminar sponsored by Yeshiva University of New York.
Establishment of Marriage and Family Seminar series to provide counseling, classes and introductions to young adults reaching the level of marital maturity. The Board of Directors is established by Mr. Harold W. Rubin, President.
Aish HaTorah receives recognition from local civic and governmental officials including Governor Deukmejian. Rabbi Zvi Block speaks to Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in April as Aish HaTorah becomes politically active. Aish HaTorah celebrates 200th student going to Israel to study at an institution of higher Jewish learning. This program of aliya is the most successful of its kind in the West Coast. Aish HaTorah celebrates its First Annual Banquet in June, honoring Dr. and Mrs. Klaus Odenheimer. Chairperons are Dr. and Mrs. Joshua Levy and Mr. and Mrs. Heshie Reich. Young Israel of Northridge, the first Orthodox synagogue serving the NorthValley, is founded by Aish HaTorah students and is assisted by the Institute.
Yeshiva University of Los Angeles asks Rabbi Block to offer Aish HaTorah classes at their Jewish Studies Institute, recognizing the unique success of Aish HaTorah programs. Chaburah study groups established, reaching hundreds of people with traditional Judaism in their homes. Aish HaTorah celebrates its Second Annual Banquet, honoring Mr. Jerome Ziger. Hesed Awards are given to Mr. and Mrs. Joe Bobker, Mr. and Mrs. Sy Harari, and Mr. and Mrs. Jack Abikzer.
Aish HaTorah honors Joshua Levy, Heshie Reich, and Harold Rubin at its third annual banquet. Group of Aish HaTorah students and suppots form Beit HaMidrash of Woodland Hills, the first Orthodox synagogue serving the West Valley.
Aish HaTorah honors Rabbi Zvi Block for 10 years of devoted service. Chesed awards are given to Mr and Mrs. Irving and Ralph Rubenstein.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the internationally acclaimed Simon WiesenthalHoloaust Memorial Center, is the keynote speaker at the banquet honoring Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Diamond. Rabbi Yehuda Bukspan and Rabbi Marvin Sugarman receive the Chesed Awards for their community work and help to Aish HaTorah. In the first annual event in Israel organized by Rabbi Yisrael Fabian, Rabbi Block is greeted by over 100 Aish HaTorah alumni.Rabbi Block presents a collegiate level Jewish studies course for N.C.S.Y. youth groups based on Aish HaTorah’s curriculum.
Rabbi Reuven Feinstein, Rosh Yeshiva of Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem and son of the Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, speaks to crowd capacity at Aish HaTorah. Rabbi Block speaks at the first annual Westwood Kehilla Torah Conference on “Child Abuse.” A Aish HaTorah sponsored community Purim celebration at Cal State University Northridge Hillel attracts 500 people from across the Valley. Rabbi Blcok lectures for Chizuk L’Limud Torah Foundation at Cal State Northridge. He is also featured in special programs sponsored by Ralph and Brna Alpert. Rabbi Block also delivers a weekly lecture in Beit HaMidrash of Woodland Hills.
guet speaker Zev Yaroslavsky. Big Bear Shabbaton retreat attracts 200 people from across Southern California. World renowned Chassidic masters, the Bialer and Nikolsburger Rebbe began a yearly tradition in Aish HaTorah. Rabbi Block is featured regularly on the Jim Simon talk show on KGIL Radio, speaking on various Jewish issues. World-famous Rabbi Mendel Kessin speaks at Aish HaTorah about Loshon Hara. Aish HaTorah launches a campus outreach program at Pierce College. Aish HaTorah participates in the first International Jewish Festival with a highly popular booth.
Bar Mitzvah Anniversary banquet honors the “Ner Mitzvot.” Rabbi Jack Simcha Cohen, President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California and chairman of the Orthodox Union’s Rabbinical Advisory Board, and Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate of Simon Wiesenthal Center, join the Aish HaTorah Rabbinical Advisory Board. “Judaism and the Jewish Professional” lecture series sponsored by Aish HaTorah attracts 150 new young adults toCollege of Jewish Studies Program. Presenters include Rabbi Block, Rabbi George Lintz, and David Boxstein, M.D.
On January 10, 1991, Aish HaTorah is the subject of a fire bomb that destroyed the western building. Rabbi Block says, “You can destroy the physical aspects of our religion, but you can’t destroy the eternal message, the soul of our people.” At this point, Aish HaTorah’s structured educational program has touched the lives of over 5,000 individuals, 500 of whom have gone on to further their education in Israel.
Rabbi Block joins 999 other Rabbis in signing a petition to President Clinton demanding the release of Jonathan Pollard.
Northridge Earthquake gives Aish HaTorah a chance to do even more Chessed in the community. Aish HaTorah is saddened by the loss of their beloved Mr. Harold Rubin.
Aish HaTorah Institute officially changes its name to Beis Midrash Toras HaShem. A beautiful artist’s rendition of the future campus is put on display.
The Shul goes into exile and davens in the residence of Mrs. Bea Rubin, the lunch room of Emek Hebrew Academy, and in Nagila Pizza.
The Shul celebrates the completion and naming of the new Bais Midrash Toras HaShem. Torah HaShem’s annual banquet honors Mr. and Mrs. Jack and Ida Goran, while Rabbi Marvin Sugarman received a Special Service Award. Months later, a Sefer Torah is presented to the Shul by Mr. and Mrs. Rick and Phyllis Scott. A multimedia Torah library is donated by the Rosenfeld Family.
Beis Midrash Toras HaShem’s annual banquet celebrating Jewish Outreach and Israel’s Jubilee honors Dr. and Mrs. Ben Lesin and Mr. and Mrs. Rick and Phyllis Scott, with Rabbi Joel Zeff as the keynote speaker. This year marks 700 students sent to learn in Israel, and over 200 families who have made an Aliyah. The shul is graced with the prescence of Rabbi Yisroel Pesach Feinhandler from Yerushalayim
The annual Toras HaShem banquet gives the “Aishes Chayil” award to the “Four Mothers” of Toras HaShem.
Annual banquet followed by Shalsheles concert for Toras HaShem honors Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Blume and Mr. and Mrs. Steve Smason. Rabbi Zvi Block receives national media attention after the school at which he was principal, West Valley Hebrew Academy, is attacked by neo-Nazis. The Beis Midrash of Toras HaShem becomes the temporary home of Bais Midrash Ner Aryeh a branch of Chofetz Chayim and division of Valley Torah High School. The Shul hires Velvol Weiner as an on-site full time caterer.
Toras HaShem mourns the passing Rabbi Morris J. Block and begins conducting daily Mincha and Ma’ariv services. Toras HaShem begins their successful annual summer auction.
Toras HaShem organizes a Shalsheles concert in the Scottish Rite theater with an attendance of over 1,500 people. Toras HaShem is honored by the presence of Rabbi Alter Chanoch Henoch Leibowitz HaKohen, the Rosh HaYeshiva of Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim: Rabbinical Seminary of America.
Two major singles Shabbatons are organized in Toras HaShem: One with the featured speaker Rabbi Zvi Baruch Hollander from Young Israel of Venice-Torah Learning Center and the other with Rabbi Shimon Yerucham Green of Yeshivas Bircas HaTorah in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. The Pittsburgher Rebbe starts his annual visits to Toras HaShem. A summer SEED program by Telz Riverdale runs programs in Toras HaShem. Rabbi Eli Bloom of JAM outreach makes Toras HaShem his center of operations for Kiruv in Los Angeles Universities.
Toras HaShem is the home of the only Hillula for the Ramchal on the West Coast, featured speaker is Rabbi Shmuel Kessin. A morning Kollel is introduced to Toras HaShem. Rabbi Block is inducted into the Rabbinical Advisory Board of Partners for the Eternal Jewish Family. Rabbi Block is the receipeint of an award at the annual Nefesh B’Nefesh/Americans For a Safe Israel banquet for his work in helping people make an Aliyah. The Beis Midrash of Toras HaShem once again becomes the temporary home of Bais Midrash Ner Aryeh.

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