Mesivta News

Meet the Honorees


The 20th Anniversary Gala and Dedication will, G-d willing, take place on June 21st, the 15th of Sivan. At the Gala, the Lubavitch Mesivta of Chicago will be formally dedicated by Dr. Yosef and Shira Malka Walder and renamed as Yeshivas Ohr Eliyahu - Lubavitch Mesivta of Chicago.




Chicago Torah Visionary Award 


Dr. Yosef and Shira Malka Walder have blazed a unique path that blends their passion for Torah and compassion for their fellow man in a way that is as avant-garde as it is traditional. To the great benefit of Klal Yisrael, they are ardent supporters of Jewish education at all levels, and have actualized their vision with many novel initiatives and innovative projects.

In 1987, Dr. Walder founded Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT), a company that manufactures synthetic DNA. But IDT is more than a scientific enterprise.

Since opening a modest satellite office in Lubavitch Chabad of Skokie with three employees in 1994, the Illinois branch of IDT has given honorable employment to hundreds of Torah observant Jews in an environment rich with Torah ideals, and mitzvah observance.

With a deep interest in Jewish affairs, the Walders support dozens—if not hundreds—of institutions around the country, in Israel, and throughout the world. They are the driving force behind the Chabad Early Childhood Education Network which provides resources and support to several hundred preschools across the country.

Closer to home, their visionary generosity has impacted the entire Chicagoland community through the myriad of programs and mosdos in which they play a pivotal role. A few notable examples include: The Kehillah Fund for Jewish Education which was established by Dr. Yosef Walder in 2004 and currently provides over $850,000 per year in financial support to Jewish Day Schools in the ATT system; the Walder Education Pavilion of Torah Umesorah, which provides invaluable resources to educators all over the world; and Walder Science Center.

At the 20th Anniversary Gala and Dedication, Dr. Yosef and Shira Malka Walder will be presented with the Chicago Torah Visionary Award on the occasion of the dedication of the Yeshivas Ohr Eliyahu – Lubavitch Mesivta of Chicago, as well as in appreciation of their visionary Torah leadership in Chicago and around the world.



 Joseph and Fay Rosenberg 
Lev V'Nefesh Award


In the two short years since their return to Chicago, Rabbi Shalom and Chana Bergovoy have established a name for themselves as leaders in the community. Coming from Morristown, N.J., where Shalom had been learning, they made the decision to move to their hometown and “make a difference.”

Shalom’s connection to the Mesivta runs deep. Following his older brothers—one of whom was in Mesivta’s pioneering class 20 years ago—he learned in the Mesivta during what he fondly refers to “one of the most special periods of my life.”

In fact, he attributes his current success in sales to the confidence he gained on the weekly tefillin route he developed in his Mesivta years.

Despite his many business and community obligations – he is involved in the ongoing success of Chabad at University of Illinois, Chabad at UIC, Libenu and the Mesivta – Shalom makes it a point to learn regularly, including a treasuredchavrusa with Rabbi Perlstein.

A registered nurse, Chana Bergovoy is active in a number of organizations in the city. She is a founding committee member of the Chicago Women’s Circle and gives freely of her time and smile to the teens at risk she mentors at Madraigos, where she is a basketball coach.

Together, they truly exemplify the name of the award they so richly deserve: Lev V’Nefesh – heart and soul.

You may place an ad in the gala journal and make reservations by clicking here.                                                                       

Chicago Uniting Through Torah



Chicago Uniting Through Torah 



In the two decades that the Lubavitch Mesivta has been serving the Chicago community, it has made a powerful impact in numerous ways—above all by rallying the Jewish people around its most precious possession: Torah.

“When the Mesivta students come to our shul, I hold them up as an ideal for others to emulate,” says Rabbi Elisha Prero of Young Israel of West Rogers Park, where the Mesivta students are welcomed guest-speakers during shalosh seudos and other occasions. “Often I find myself deeply impressed by their mastery of the material and their ability to connect to the tzibur through Torah. I remember a particularly accomplished young man who had a wonderful and deep way of explaining the Torah thought he was teaching. I asked him how old he was and he simply said ‘shiur gimmel,’ I thought he meant that he was in his third year of beis midrash, when in fact he was still in the third year of mesivta.”

The Mesivta bochurim are also regular visitors at other Torah centers.

For fourteen years, they have been steadily building Torah bonds with their peers at the Fasman Yeshiva High School in Skokie. “Over the years, we’ve developed a friendship,” says Yoni Brown, a Fasman senior, who has been learning with the Mesivta boys since he was in 9th grade. “Ourchavrusah sessions are among the highlights of my week.”

Although the bochurim come from different backgrounds, they find a common language in the age-old words of Abaye and Rava, Ravina and Rav Ashi, and the Alter Rebbe and the Rebbe whose words they study with devotion and reverence.

To many Chicagoans, Mr. Marc Geller’s conference room has become synonymous with Torah learning downtown. A diamond merchant by trade, Mr. Geller is famous for hosting a Minchah and Torah shiur that attracts business people yearning for a bit of spirituality in the midst of the busy work day.

After a full week of hearing divrei Torah from rebbisroshei yeshivah, and other accomplished scholars, Mr. Geller tops it all off by exchanging Torah thoughts with the Mesivta students who visit his office every Friday.

“This is what I take with me into Shabbos, and what I most often will repeat at my own table,” attests Mr. Geller, “Everyone knows that I love hearing a devar Torah, and I especially love hearing it from theseyungeleit, who are the future of our people, our next leaders.”

“It’s not easy for them on a Friday afternoon, racing against the clock, going from door to door,” observes Mr. Geller. “I see it as a two-way street. I gain from their Torah knowledge, and I believe that they gain by having the opportunity to be welcomed in and listened to.”

While the Mesivta has changed the face of the community through thebochurim it produces, it has also attracted a world-class team ofmechanchim, whose classes and guidance have benefitted the entirety of Chicago.

“Just having these talmidei chachamim in our shul has been a tremendous asset to our baalei batim,” declared Rabbi Baruch Hertz, marah d’asra of Congregation Bnei Ruven. “The very fact that a person knows he can approach someone with a question in learning and receive an answer that is clear, broad, and deep is invaluable.”

Many Mesivta staff have regular chavrusos with individuals and also give ongoing shiurim in Bnei Ruven and other area shuls.

Learning 2.png 

“It was 22 years ago that we began our hashkamah minyan in KINS,” recalls Mr. Hillel Shapiro. “At that time, we wanted to make sure that it would be a way to enhance people’s learning on Shabbos, and not just a shortcut to get to the cholent by 9:30. We therefore instituted that theminyan be followed by classes with an emphasis on halachah lemaaseh.Besides for our rav, Rabbi Perlstein has been the single presenter who has been with us all this time. His broad knowledge and open give-and-take format has made for classes that are enlightening and lively.”

And indeed, the Mesiva’s presence is felt in too many ways to be fully captured in words. To quote Rabbi Daniel Raccah, “the Lubavitch Mesivta creates a total ben Torah, who is an integral part of a community.”

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