I remember hearing about an interesting custom of some New York Jewish families to keep small rocks from Jerusalem in a cup for display in the house. The rocks remind us that we are still, by and large, a displaced people. The conditions and results of our various travels actually make us an anomaly to those who study history. Our people travelled to the four winds and still maintain a unique identity. Neither Russian winters nor American dreams have snuffed out the Jewish fire, the teachings of the Torah.
Even today, one can find keen and devoted students of the Torah dedicating themselves day after day, perpetuating its holy teachings. However, the Torah was never limited to those who choose to solely apportion their time for drinking from its infinite waters. Our nation is replete with students who make it part of their daily schedule in addition to all their other pursuits. Torah thus acts as a spiritual “anchor-tenant” and is the foundation of our nation’s remarkable fortitude as a unique people. We are a Torah nation because we have both masters and students of the highest wisdom.
Queens is fortunate to have a center for the dissemination of Torah. Under the guidance of its Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Ahron Walkin–who makes his way from Lakewood, NJ,–Yeshiva Gedola BN of Queens is currently in its second year of operations. The program offers the attending boys different subjects and levels of study. Some groups focus on in-depth Talmud while others focus on advanced halachah. Some groups choose to focus on subjects such as musar (character building) and hashkafah (Jewish outlook). Yeshiva Gedola BN’s halls are open to any and all men seeking the wisdom of the Torah. The program has been designed to satisfy all levels of scholarship, and entertains new students of Torah and Rabbinical ordination students as well.
As a former student of yeshiva in Jerusalem, I can testify that nothing compares to learning Torah in the Holy Land. However, here in America, we do have the opportunity to take advantage of excellent yeshivot that do a tremendous job catering to our spiritual needs. Beis Noson Meir has become a place where many former students from Israel park their pining hearts and soak in authentic Torah. If Jerusalem rocks remind you of your long-missed homeland, come take solace at the hearth of your Jewish heritage. The doors of Yeshiva Gedola BN are opened for you and all your friends who share a longing for sweet, sweet water.
Yeshiva Gedola BN is currently located at 141-41 72nd Avenue in Kew Gardens Hills (Cong. Ohel Simcha). At 9:30 a.m., Rav Ilan Meirov gives an in depth class to the balei batim (working men) of the community. At 10:30, the balei batim are treated to shiur with Rav Ahron Walkin, reminding them of their Yeshiva days. At 12 p.m., the Yeshiva bochurim have shiur with Rav Ahron Walkin. The shiur includes musar and Gemarah, with special emphasis on methods of learning and precise understanding. Throughout this time, the voices of kollel avreichim (married Talmudic scholars) are heard in the background. The atmosphere is set until yeshiva Mincha, which begins at 1:30 p.m. Mincha is followed by lunch, which is provided by several restaurants from the community. Second Seder immediately follows; it is given by the avreichim who cover topics of all levels.