[Video and photos below.] It is truly an event unlike any other perhaps in the entire world. Literally thousands of bnei Torah – roshei yeshiva, yungeleit, mechanchim, baalei batim, bochurim – gathering for one purpose: to support lomdei Torah. The Beth Medrash Govoha Annual Evening of Chizuk which was held last night in Lakewood, NJ, was once again mesmerizing, leaving the humongous crowd enriched, uplifted and inspired.
The evening began shortly after 9 p.m., as the crowd began to arrive. Attendees enjoyed a delicious fare prepared by the devoted chef of Beth Medrash Govoha, the incomparable R’ Arye Spielman, whose delicious smorgasbord, served by a tremendous staff in specially erected side tents, was savored by the thousands in attendance. A central minyan for Maariv was held inside the massive tent where the event was held at the corner of Cedarbridge and New Hampshire avenues.
Traffic backups were minimal on Cedar Bridge and New Hampshire avenues, as motorists allowed volunteers from the Lakewood Civilian Safety Watch to direct the traffic and get everyone parked as quickly as possible.
As expected, Rabbi Mordechai Herskowitz, Executive Administrator of BMG, was on hand to greet everyone personally, as he promises each year. Rabbi Herskowitz also delivered brief remarks from the dais, thanking the many yungeleit and others who devoted time and effort to make the evening a success.
This year’s tent was constructed a bit different than the tents of past years, as it was comprised of a metal frame that allows for a larger size structure. While not as externally majestic as the tents of past years which featured tall pillars rising toward the sky, the metal-structured tent was sturdier, larger, and did not have unsightly poles coming down into the middle of the ballroom.
The program, which began shortly after 10 p.m., was chaired by Rav Yitzchok Oelbaum. Opening remarks were delivered by Rav Chaim Mayer Roth, rov of the Sterling Forest Sefard Minyan.
Rav Aryeh Malkiel Kotler, rosh yeshiva of Beth Medrash Govoha, addressed the gathering.
Divrei hisorerus were delivered by Rav Todros Miller, noted mechanech from Gateshead, England, whose drasha was extremely well received.
The guest speaker was Rav Mechel Zilber, rosh yeshiva of the Zvhiller Yeshiva in Yerushalayim and internationally renowned Daf Yomi maggid shiur for Dial-a-Daf.
The program concluded well after midnight, followed by the annual raffle.
Zemiros at the event were provided by Shloime Daskal, with musical accompaniment by Rabbi Eli Cohen and the sound system arranged by Shloime Friedman of Neginah Orchestra.
Proceeds from the event and the BMG 2011 Kollel Campaign go toward Bais Medrash Govoah’s annual kollel budget of $10 million, about 20% of which is raised during the annual Lakewood campaign. Approximately 2,300 of 6,250 talmidim of Beth Medrash Govoha receive the monthly kollel checks.
See below for photos:
Click here for video clips of the event.
See below for photos of the tent prior to the event: