The program opened with welcoming remarks from Ephriam Adler, the current president of the school. He emphasized that Toras Chaim was founded and continues to exist with dedication and sacrifice on the part of the community and its families; that since its inception, the school has flourished, largely on the strength of self-sacrifice for children’s education. The event honored Yaron Sibony, Shari Gutterman Berman, Rabbi and Mrs. Sender Haber and Rabbi Philip Krohn, OB’M.
Sibony was honored with the Bonei Torah Award—Community Builder Award. He recently opened a Beit Knesset in Virginia Beach, and together with his wife Rachel, built an oasis of Torah and Gemilus Chasadim in Virginia Beach.
Berman was honored with the Keser Shem Tov Award, for going above and beyond the call of duty. Berman’s untiring devotion to Toras Chaim is evident each and every day, whether as the dedicated head of PTA, or in her many volunteer efforts on behalf of the school. She is always among the first to answer the call.
Rabbi Sender and Chamie Haber were awarded the Harbatzas Torah Award, celebrating 10 years of education in Tidewater. Prior to joining the staff at Toras Chaim and emerging as a beloved Rebbe, Rabbi Haber served as a charter member of the Norfolk Kollel, and was sought after by individuals and institutions alike for his engaging presentations and thoughtful insight. Chamie Haber is a preschool teacher and has taught the fundamentals of Judaism to countless children. Through the relationships they have created and the wisdom they have shared, the Habers have enriched and bettered the lives of many.
The event also featured a special tribute to Rabbi Philip Krohn, OB’M, former rabbi of Gomley Chesed Congregation in Portsmouth. Toras Chaim is located in the education wing of Gomley Chesed and it was Rabbi Krohn’s unwavering support for the school that was influential in forming the relationship between the school and Gomley Chesed. In his memory, Toras Chaim established the Rabbi Krohn Memorial Scholarship Fund. At the event, David Krohn, a professional opera singer who now lives in Seattle, sang a moving rendition of Oyfn Pripetchik (On the Hearth) in Yiddish in his father’s honor.
Rabbi Paysach Krohn, a nephew of Rabbi Philip Krohn and world renowned speaker, was the evening’s guest speaker. He passionately described the importance of connecting to previous generations, as all are part of an unbreakable chain. He explained how each and every Jew is an important player in Hashem’s orchestra. Just as a seasoned conductor will realize if one violinist is missing, or not playing his part properly, Hashem will notice if even one Jew is missing, or not fulfilling his or her potential. With this in mind, Rabbi Krohn spoke about the importance of educating future generations of Jewish children.
In his closing remarks, Rabbi Silver stressed the building of the Mishkan was done through the attribute of Nediv Lev, giving with a complete heart. In the very same way, Toras Chaim was started and continues to exist on this very quality, and only with continued giving of time, efforts and funds can the school continue to thrive and flourish.
In the past few years, TorasChaim has won sports championships, finished at the top of citywide academic events and provided community and warmth in their engaging Judaic classes. Accredited by the AdvancED SACS/CASI, Toras Chaim serves Jewish children preK-3 through eighth grade. For information on Toras Chaim, contact Rabbi Mordechai Loiterman M.Ed., principal, at email@example.com or 828-6724.
by Rabbi Mordechai Loiterman, M.Ed.