Photos by Fred Levine
Members of the Yeshiva Boys Choir perform for the crowd.
A model of the proposed boys school campus was displayed at the dinner.
Yeshiva Beth Yehudah shares big news about the school's future.
Photo by Aaron Pergament
Shelli Liebman Dorfman
n past years, Yeshiva Beth Yehudah's
annual dinner program has included
a range of notable political keynote
speakers from U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice to U.S. Sen. Hillary
Clinton, D-N.Y. This year, the buzz was that
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg or
President George W. Bush might speak.
But, even after it became apparent no
politician or dignitary would present a talk
at the Oct. 28 event, 2,435 guests — the
most ever attending the dinner — gathered
at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center.
It seems the big names were just a perk, not
the main attraction.
"I came to support the Yeshiva, which
represents an incredible part of the Jewish
community',' said David Feber of West
Bloomfield, a first-time attendee with his
wife, Susan. "The dinner is a beautiful way
for people to see the Jewish community
focus together on education"
Added the Yeshiva's executive direc-
tor, Rabbi Eli Mayerfeld, "Rabbi Fully
Eisenberger, a campus rabbi for Jewish
Awareness AMerica (JAAM) on the
University of Michigan campus said, `I sat
with University of Michigan undergrads.
For each of them, this was the first time in
their lives that they were under one roof
with Jews from all backgrounds, all united
for a Jewish cause. It was a kiddush Hashem,
a sanctification of God's name, in that it
was the first time they really felt a part of
the Jewish nation!"
During the dinner, David Provost, busi-
ness and community leader and chair-
man-CEO of PrivateBank-Michigan, was
presented with the school's Outstanding
The Yeshiva Boys Choir performed.
Left: Ann Newman and Sen. Debbie Stabenow. Right: U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., meets Yeshiva sixth-grader and choir mem-
ber Avraham Zvi Cohen of Oak Park and his father, Yeshiva alumnus Dr. Jay L. Cohen.
The absence of a keynote speaker didn't
mean there wasn't something special in
store, something Mayerfeld called a "knock-
U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich, a
regular at the dinner, revealed that the
Yeshiva received a gift allowing a major
addition to the campus where the 300 boys
in grades 1-8 attend classes.
"One magnificent family in this com-
munity, led by an extraordinary matriarch,
Ann Newman, a titan of business and
industry, with a heart filled with goodness,
kindness and love, came forward to offer
her remarkable assistance to reshape the
boys campus and to secure the physical
facilities far into the next decade': Stabenow
The Southfield campus, including the
Milton and Lois Shiffman Boys Building,
the Norma Jean and Edward Meer Early
Childhood Development Center and the
Yeshiva condo community, has been named
the Newman Family Campus in memory of
Shaya and Esther Zeidenfeld and Chazkel
and Breindel Rozen, who were the grand-
parents of Ann.
Yeshiva President Gary Torgow told the
crowd, "In the next few weeks, we will
begin construction of a multimillion-dollar,
two-story addition onto our Shiffman boys
building that will include sorely needed
new first- and second-grade classrooms, a
new bais midrash (house of learning), new
offices, computer and science labs and a
A Future View
Expected completion of the two-story
building, with 8,500 square feet on each
level, is the start of next school year.
"Seymour Mandell [of Mandell and
Associates of Southfield], who has done
tremendous work for us for 20 years, is the
architect': Mayerfeld said.
Expansion will be on the south side of
the existing 33,000-square-foot Yeshiva
building, on Lincoln, west of Greenfield, on
land already owned by the school.
New classrooms will be joined by a cafe,
work rooms and a study hall for the Jean
and Theodore Weiss Partners in Torah
Program, which pairs learners of all back-
grounds with mentors to study Jewish top-
ics on a weekly basis.
In addition to the boys school, Yeshiva
students include 175 nursery and pre-
schoolers and more than 400 girls who
study at the Beth Jacob School for Girls in
Oak Park. The nearly 100-year-old Yeshiva
is the largest Jewish school system in
Michigan, providing Torah-based and secu-
lar education programs.
"Tonight marks a historic and remark-
able achievement for the Beth Yehudah
institutions': Torgow told the crowd.
He noted how surroundings and esthet-
ics elevate the caliber of classroom learning.
"This is all the more incredible, given the
day-to-day struggle the Yeshiva, unfortu-
nately, continues to confront — paying its
teachers and staff, and meeting its budget
obligations on a weekly basis, which is and
continues to be an unsolved conundrum."
Continuing his dreams for the school,
Torgow said, "I hope and pray that at a
future dinner, sometime soon, a special
family or individual, perhaps even someone
in this room tonight, will step forward to
provide us with a similar opportunity to
announce a girls' campus dedication."
November 8 • 2007