FALLSBURG NEEDS YOU: Emergency Campaign to Restore Destroyed Fallsburg Bais Yaakov Ends Tonight

Campaign Aims to Restore What Was Lost in Devastating School Fire

By Avi Shiff

South Fallsburg.

The name itself conjures up images of a self-contained shtetel, a secluded community perpetuating the timeless mesorah of its founder.

The name represents Torah being lived and taught in purity in the serene and invigorating atmosphere of the Catskill Mountains.

The founding rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Gedolah Zichron Moshe of South Fallsburg, NY, was Rav Tzvi Abba Gorelick zt”l, who was later joined by ybl”c Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel shlit”a.

When Rav Abba’s father, Rav Yeruchem Gorelick zt”l, was looking for a place to relocate his yeshiva from the Bronx, Hashgacha led him to the Laurel Park Hotel in South Fallsburg, NY. Nestled deep in the scenic Catskill Mountains, far away from the hub and tumult of the city, South Fallsburg morphed into a makom Torah where thousands of talmidim have grown in Torah and yiras Shomayim. It is a community where, without distraction, families raise children b’derech Yisroel saba, developing outstanding ovdei Hashem. Just mention “Fallsburg Yeshiva” to any alumnus, friend, or admirer and it immediately invokes the warm vision of the purity of our mesorah.

A girl who had gotten married and was living in Eretz Yisroel while her husband learned in kollel told her former mechaneches that she’d be going back to America. When asked to where, the girl said, “South Fallsburg.” Smiling, the famed mechaneches said, “Well, that’s not America!”

How right she is.

The community of South Fallsburg has been able to create a sevivah that is unaffected by the culture around it. 

Today, under the leadership of the rosh yeshiva, Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel shlit”a, and Rav Gorelick’s son-in-law, the nosi hayeshiva, Rav Ephraim Sher shlit”a, a very unique ruach is tangible in South Fallsburg. It is found in every mosad and facet of the yeshiva community, including its Bais Yaakov elementary school, Bnos Devorah Raizel, home, over the last forty years, to the daughters of the local bnei Torah families. Bnos Devorah Raizel grew out of its facilities on Reb Chiya Way on the yeshiva campus and, two years ago, the groundbreaking of a brand new school building was held on a lot on Laurel Park Road. Completion of the building was drawing close, with a date for a chanukas habayis already finalized.

Then, on the morning of Thursday, January 23, a massive blaze broke out at the construction site of Bnos Devorah Raizel’s building, completely destroying the structure, leaving behind nothing more than a pile of rubble. It was a scene that was hard to watch for the South Fallsburg stalwarts who had invested heart and soul into making the dream of a new building into a reality. 

In a poignant letter, Rav Elya Ber Wachtfogel pleads with Yidden, wherever they may be, to step up and participate in assisting the school recoup its losses. The fire is nothing short of devastating, and Rav Wachtfogel stresses that it is “virtually impossible” for the school to continue operating in its current state without the new building. It is absolutely vital that the needed funds be raised in order to rebuild the building, ensuring the continuance of chinuch between the walls of Bnos Devorah Raizel.

The school has established a goal of raising $500,000 in order to ensure the construction of a building for Bnos Devorah Raizel l’sheim ul’tiferes. 

To participate in this emergency campaign, click here: https://www.rayze.it/rebuildfallsburg/

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