Rabbi

Shmuel Lemann

Officers

President
Howard Kohn

First Vice President
Menachem Rosenberg

Second Vice President
Joshua Klapper

Vice President Cemeteries
Steven Konigsberg

Secretary
Barry Rosen

Treasurer
Burt Blass

Trustees
Zev Feldstein
Stanley Hyman
Howard Neiman
Louis Perlman
Martin Schnur
Alan Walz
David Boord z"l(Hon.)
Morris Fishman z"l(Hon.)

 

This Week

Shabbos Toldot

November 17

 Candle Lighting:4:17PM

Mincha:            4:25 PM
Shachris:        9:00 AM
Mincha           4:05 PM
Maariv:          5:20 PM


ERUV STATUS

 

Mincha/Maariv

Week of November 19, 4:20PM

Week of November 26, 4:20PM

Weekday Minyanim

Sunday:7:30 AM & 8:30 AM
Monday, Thursday: 6:35 AM
Tues., Wed., Fri.: 6:45 AM
Rosh Chodesh: 6:25 AM
Legal Holiday: 8:00 AM
Chanukah: 6:35 AM
Fast Days: 6:25 AM
Chol HaMoed: 6:25 AM

 

 

 

About the Torah Center of Hillcrest

The Rivash, a fourteenth century Rishon from Barcelona, held the opinion that it is a mitzvah to establish a new congregation in a community even if an existing shul is present. The Mahrsham, a nineteenth century Acharon from Galicia qualifies this position that the intention must be L’sheim Shamayim, and not in response to anger or machlokes. Such was the situation in Hillcrest in the year 1978 when three families, each happy members in their respective shuls, banded together to form a new congregation with a specific purpose, namely to foster a feeling of family among its mispal’lim while maintaining a quiet and b’kovod davening that was initially nusach Ashkenaz.

A small number of families put the money for the down payment on a small one family house on Jewel Avenue, nestled between two neighboring shuls, with which the member families continued to keep close ties. Ten families became twenty and soon the main floor of the little house was bursting with thirty families and the numerous small children that accompany growth among a young membership. As brissim continued to mount and girls became bat mitzvahs and boys bar mitzvahs, the need for a Rav became apparent. The membership invited Rav Tzvi Flaum, a highly respected rav at Yeshiva University’s Stern College, to become its Rabbi.

 

Through warmth, camaraderie and the fulfillment of its original mission, the Torah Center grew till it was bursting at the seams. Financial realities made it apparent that the congregation could not afford to both buy another house and build a shul, so the decision was made to tear down the one family house and build a new building on the existing lot. Brief consideration was given to temporarily disbanding the minyan during construction since many members also maintained membership in neighboring shuls. The Torah Center never considered itself a break away minyan so relations with other shuls were always warm and strong. The membership, however, refused to disband, even for a limited time, because of the special feelings among the kehilla that existed. The shul thus asked a sh’eilah, and subsequently sought temporary refuge by renting a room in a close by synagogue. 

 

Two and half years later with much sacrifice, sweat and community support, the magnificent new Torah Center building, designed and built by one of its own members opened for Rosh Hashanah. Modeled after modern Israeli shuls and built of Jerusalem stone quarried in Israel and custom hewn on site, the new building was a dramatic architectural statement, complete with a forty foot dome, magnificent women’s balcony and a beis hamedrash that became home to a vibrant nusach sefard minyan on Shabbosim and Yomim Tovim. The building became a reality not only due to successful fundraising but also through the monies that became available through the Torah Center’s merging with two once vibrant but then waning congregations, the YM-YWHA of Jamaica and the Jewish Center of Richmond Hill. The Torah Center took on their few devoted last members and provided a haven for the Yahretzeit plaques that were transferred to our shul. During the last year of the Jamaica “Y” ’s existence, Torah Center members, along with members of the Young Israel of Biarwood kept the “Y” minyan afloat as long as possible. Because of the special affection that developed with that shul, the Torah Center’s architects and builders painstakingly took apart and reassembled the turn of the century Aron Kodesh of the “Y” as part of the new building.

 

In its new quarters, membership quickly tripled, all the while maintaining the warmth and closeness of a small shul. In 1995 Rabbi Flaum assumed the pulpit at Congregation Knesseth Israel in Far Rockaway and the Torah Center chose its second and current Moreh D’Asrah, Rav Moshe Faskowitz. Rabbi Faskowitz, a musmach of Lakewood and the Mir Yeshiva in Yerushalayim, was a Talmid of Rav Chaim Shmulevitz ZT”L and Rav Aharon Soleveitchic ZT”L. He is also the great grandson of Rav Joffen, the Alter of Nevardok, and the founder of the Nevardok yeshivos throughout Europe and author of the famous mussar sefer, Madreigas HaAdam.

 

By the year 2000, Torah Center members had become pillars of the Queens Jewish community. Through the strong support of Tomchei Shabbos, Hatzalah, Chush, Laniado Hospital, Camp Simcha, Beit El, Yesha, Jaffa Institute and other mosdos, our membership demonstrated strong ties to worthy yeshivos and communal organizations in New York and Israel. We spearheaded the successful effort to build a magnificent mikveh in Hillcrest and our shul building served as the first home for Yeshiva Madreigas H’Adam, founded by our own Rav Faskowitz, now Rabbi Emeritus.

 

Today, after years of dedication, the Torah Center of Hillcrest still exudes the warm family feeling that our original founders created. We continue as an enthusiastic center of Torah and Chessed in our community.