The Five Towns joined the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach on Sunday in celebrating a chanukat habayit at its new elementary school on Church Avenue in Woodmere.
“From the humble beginnings that HALB had over 50 years ago in a small house with a couple of students, we will be celebrating the education of 1,600 students each and every day on our various campuses,” said Rabbi Yisroel Kaminetsky, rosh hayeshivah at HALB’s DRS Yeshiva High School for Boys.
Rabbi Kaminetsky, speaking in the auditorium of HALB’s new elementary school — in what was formerly the Number 6 public school — said the “incredibly beautiful structure,” fully rebuilt inside after suffering Hurricane Sandy’s wrath, would be “a place that our children can grow, that our children can learn chochmah, wisdom, that they can learn all the things that Hashem’s world has.”
“The lev and the love that was invested by our founding communities in Long Beach … is the same lev that is expressing itself on a daily basis here in Woodmere,” said HALB Board Chairman Lance Hirt.
Hirt spoke of the difficult conditions at HALB’s elementary school in Long Beach before its students — now numbering 750 — moved to Woodmere last March. “We converted every space,” including bathrooms and closets, with classes held in hallways and physical education programs cancelled when the gym was needed for other activities, he said.
Sunday’s chanukat habayit featured a sefer Torah procession, an inspiring video presentation about the school (find a video link at TheJewishStar.com), refreshments, a carnival, and a concert with Mordechai Shapiro.
In addition to the new elementary school in Woodmere, HALB operates DRS in Woodmere and the Stella K. Abraham high school for girls in Hewlett Bay Park.