HAFTR High School draws crowd to open house


Eighth graders and their parents from neighborhoods around Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens, packed HAFTR High School’s auditorium on Sunday for the annual open house. 

The program began with HAFTR senior Molly Vashovsky, serving as emcee, spoke passionately about her connection to the school and how its warm environment, teachers and college guidance counselors helped her to activate her potential and prepare her for future successes.

Freshman Effie Willner shared that he “enjoys being surrounded by so many great rabbis and teachers who care about you and what’s truly the best for you.”

Principal Naomi Lippman, Associate Principal Dr. Joshua Wyner, and Dean of Limudei Kodesh Rabbi Yitzchok Riselsheimer discussed the inclusive school culture, close kesher (connection) of staff and students, and excellent academics.

“Yes, our academics and Torah learning are extraordinary, and our co-curricular activities, guidance and mentoring programs are breathtaking in scope and substance, but there is one more ingredient that makes us such a wonderful and successful yeshiva high school — our unique school culture,” Ms. Lippman said.

“Dr. Wyner, Rabbi Riselsheimer, and I know every child in our yeshiva, and every student knows that we appreciate him or her as a unique individual,” she continued. ““We understand that our students come to HAFTR with a range of skills and abilities, and we have developed different level courses to facilitate the success of every child.”

“We have created a culture of warmth, kindness, caring, support and achdut (unity),” she said. “Our students are imbued with a love of Hashem, a love of learning, a love of Israel, and a desire to achieve their own unique potential as dedicated, religious Orthodox Jews.”

Dr. Wyner emphasized that HAFTR HS prides itself on being patient, empathetic and genuinely kind to students.

“The Torah education, academic program, school spirit, and co-curricular activities are superb, but what makes our yeshiva unique is that these pillars are built on a foundation of heartfelt, mutually respectful relationships between rebbeim, morot, teachers, administrators and students,with the goal of perpetuating the mission of Avraham and Sarah to build a nation that thrives in midot tovot, chesed and unconditional care and concern for others,” he said.  

Rabbi Riselsheimer noted that “the kesher our students have with our rebbeim and morot is created in and out of the classroom, during engaging shiurim, on school trips, Shabbatonim, mishmars at the rebbeim and morahs’ homes, Friday nights at a morah’s house, our Friday Kumzitz and Kugels, at athletic games, or just shmoozing in the halls.”

“It is nice to see that the success of HAFTR is being recognized and has piqued the interest of so many,” said Executive Director Ari Solomon of the large turnout for the open house.

After the presentations, prospective students and their parents joined smaller groups to tour the building and experience what makes HAFTR’s educational programming special, including a new STEAM space and STEM lab, a Technology and Innovation Center that includes a Media Studio and two state of the art science classrooms, and an all-inclusive Art Room. Prospective families were also treated to presentations about College and Israel Guidance, Limudei Kodesh, Humanities, Student Life, and Student Support.

“HAFTR HS is the place where students of all abilities excel and are supported academically both in general studies and Limudei Kodesh, and we know firsthand that the principals and teachers really know students and care about them,” said Dr. Lisa Perl, chairwoman of HAFTR’s Board of Education.

HAFTR graduates attend the finest seminaries and yeshivot in Israel, as well as the most selective universities in America, including Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Penn, Cornell, YU and Stern Honors, Macaulay Honors.

Attendees at the open house learned that HAFTR graduates are fine young men and women with middot tovot, who embrace Modern Orthodoxy and are leaders on college campuses and in the Jewish community. 

The deadline for applications is Dec. 6.