Sign In Forgot Password

Young Israel of Great Neck

Welcome Back BBQ 

President's Message

The Young Israel of Great Neck (YIGN) was established over 40 years ago through the efforts of six visionary families.  What started out as their dream has resulted, after four decades of tremendous growth, in a large, thriving, modern orthodox congregation with over 250 family members, located at 236 Middle Neck Road in Great Neck. In addition to our beautiful main sanctuary, our state-of-the-art Justin Family Center contains a large Beit Midrash, several classrooms, as well as a full-sized gymnasium. Read more



Mazel tov to Fran and Stuie Feintuch, Rachel and Ben Feintuch, Michele and Shimmy  Klein, Rachel and Pinny Cukier, Jeremy Feintuch and Rosalie and David Kamelhar on the forthcoming marriage of their son, brother and nephew Joshua to Stacy Schlesinger.

Mazel tov to Rene and Mel Strauss and Erica and Ron Strauss on the forthcoming marriage of their daughter and niece Kim to Jordan Kantor.

Mazel tov to Jessica and Brian Roodman on the birth of their daughter.

Mazel tov to Heather and Jerry Siegelman on the bar mitzvah of their son Marc.

Mazel tov to Rebecca Weisel on the bat mitzvah of her daughter Rina.

Mazel tov to Sari and Marisa Braunstein upon being honored at the AMIT Long Island Gala.

Mazel tov to Monica and Ron Alon on the bat mitzvah of their daughter Rutie.




Lisa and Michael Aryeh

Nina and Josh Mak

Batsheva and Jonathan Maslow



Bring your 9th and 10th graders down to help set up the gym for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Please contact the shul office for further details

Every week, the class learns the meaning and history of an important part of our prayer book. Come and spend some time making the time we spend with our Siddur more meaningful! 

On Tuesday, September 27 at 7:30PM Daf Yomi will be celebrating the siyum of Masechet Bava Kamma and the beginning of Masechet Bava Metzia. The siyum is sponsored by Dr. Daniel Khodadadian and Dr. Michael and Joyce Frank. Everyone is welcome to attend.

The Scholars Kollel will meet every Thursday morning in the Kufeld Social Hall at the Young Israel. Everyone is invited.

The North Shore Mikvah will be open for men only on Erev Rosh Hashanah, October 2nd, and Erev Yom Kippur, October 11th, from 5AM-3PM. Men must please bring their own towels. Suggested donation $36. Sponsorships: Platinum $500 Gold $360 Silver $180 Sponsor $100

The Young Israel of Great Neck's fifth Bridge the Gap luncheon will take place Shabbat November 5th.  This is a great opportunity to meet new members or other community members that you may not have previously gotten to know.  Meals will be hosted in members' own homes. Please email if you'd like to participate as a host or guest! 

Wednesday evening -  November 9  is Kristallnacht. We will have a program in the shul featuring Bonnie Guretwitsch - curator and archivist at the Museum of Jewish Heritage who will deliver a talk about Kristallnacht,  incorporating materials gathered from our members. If all goes as planned, we will also celebrate the publication of the book Ordinary Objects/Enduring Legacies which includes material gathered from 95 families in our community.

Need your Sukkah built? GoSukkah has been the preferred Sukkah builders for Great Neck congregants for the last 5 years. Schedule your builder instantly on our website at You may also contact us at, or call us at 516-253-1035. Chag Sameach!

We are once again able to offer the purchase of beautiful shtenders for your siddurim and chumashim. A sample is in our showcase in the lobby near the beit midrash. If you are interested in purchasing a shtender at the cost of $100, please call the shul office.

Please remember to send in your Yom Tov seating requests along with your financial obligation.

Once again YIGN is collecting new school supplies.  These supplies will be distributed to needy families.  As you are buying school supplies for your own children, please remember those that are less fortunate.  For more information please contact Gina Aharonoff, Abby Weiss or Roya Samuels.

Bella's Hats Pre-Yom Tov Sale on Wednesday, September 28th at 40 North Drive from 9:30 am - 3:00 pm. Evening available by appointment only. Come shop for all your headwear needs, dressy and casual hats, fascinators, doilies and more! *Portion of proceeds to benefit YIGN.

A women's study group is being held at the Young Israel of Great Neck every Monday morning until Yom Kippur. BE"H. The class is from 10:00am to 12:00pm reviewing the Parsha, the Haftara and Siddur with no prior knowledge of Hebrew necessary. Each session is a self-contained module so you do not have to commit to attend each week. Feel free to arrive as late and to leave as early as your day's schedule allows.

We are looking for sponsorships for our Shabbat Mevorchim kiddushes. If you would like to celebrate a simcha, acknowledge a yahrzeit or celebrate any occasion, a Kiddush is a nice way to do so. We are looking for sponsorships of $300 each. Please call the shul office if you would like to participate. The available dates are October 1, October 29, November 26 and December 24.

PLEASE NOTE - IF YOU MAKE A STOCK DONATION, YOU MUST NOTIFY THE SHUL OFFICE, SINCE FIDELITY WILL NOT SAY WHO SENT THE STOCK TRANSFER. YIGN has established an account at Fidelity Investments to facilitate stock donations. You can pay your Shul dues, pledges, or any other obligation by stock, which may have tax advantages to you. For example, if you donate stock with a long term capital gain, you may be able to avoid paying taxes on the capital gain while getting a charitable tax deduction for the full current value of the stock.  Please call the Shul office for stock transfer instructions.  Of course, you should check with your accountant to understand your specific situation.

In order to enhance the observance of taharat hamishpacha in our community, we are excited about welcoming Yoetzet Halacha, Lisa Septimus, as an additional resource for answering questions. 

Like all Yoatzot Halacha, Lisa has been  certified by a panel of Orthodox rabbis to be a resource for women with questions regarding taharat hamishpachah (an area of Jewish Law that relates to marriage, intimacy and women's health). This role was devised to assist women who are more comfortable discussing very personal issues with another woman, with the option of remaining anonymous during the call. In preparing to become Yoatzot Halacha, women devote two years (over 1000 hours) to intensive study with rabbinic authorities in taharat hamishpachah and  receive training from experts in modern medicine and psychology, including gynecology, infertility, women's health, family dynamics and sexuality.

Below is Lisa's contact information, as well as for our rabbinical team, all of whom remain available to answer questions and provide guidance: 

Yoetzet Halacha Lisa Septimus - 516 415 1111

Rabbi Lerner - 516 318 0141

Abby Lerner - 516 661 1072

Rabbi Ismach - 516 250 8202


Join AMIT at their annual LI Gala as they pay tribute to Sari and Marisa Braunstein on Tuesday, September 27 at 6:30 at the Sephardic Temple, Cedarhurst, NY. For more information and to make reservations go to or call 212-477-5465

Announcing the Zelda and Tzvi Hirsch Discount Seforim Gemach at Utopia Parkway Jewish Center! All proceeds directly support Tomchei Shabbos of Queens! Most seforim sell for $5 or less. If you have older seforim, Jewish childrens books or English language works you would like to donate, (no shaimos please), please contact Rabbi Steven Moskowitz via email at or by cell at 516-220-7177. Tizku lemitzvot!

Ann Greenfield is once again eagerly ready to pick up your very good clothing to benefit the people of Israel’s neediest communities, and the YIJE shul, sponsor of events for Israel. Desired clothes are men’s and women’s  clothing in fine condition: suits, slacks, coats, dresses, gowns, and skirts – (please put clothing on hangers if possible).  Fine sweaters, hats, shoes, and handbags also are acceptable.

Please call Ann at  516-487-0940  to arrange for pickup. Ann will give you a tax receipt at the time of pickup. Thank you for caring.

Rabbi Lerner's Weekly Parsha Shiur


Parshat Nitzavim

The Mitzvah of Teshuva


After speaking about the ups and downs of Jewish history, the parsha tells us that there will be a big wake up call, with national redemption as all of the Jews turn back to Hashem and there will be the ingathering of exiles.

30:11-14: For this commandment that I command you today – it is not hidden from you and it is not distant. It is not in heaven, for you to say, “Who can ascend to the heaven for us and take it for us, so that we can listen to it and perform it?” Nor is it across the sea, for you to say, “Who can cross to the other side of the sea for us and take it for us, so that we can listen to it and perform it?” Rather, the matter is very near to you – in your mouth and your heart – to perform it.

What is this Mitzvah that we are talking about here? There are three different opinions about this: Rashi says the Torah was given to us both in written form in Tanach and in oral form as the Mishnah and Gemorrah. Rashi believes that the Mitzvah being discussed here is Talmud Torah – we are given all of the tools to do this – God gave us the manual to perform this Mitzvah with both written and oral instructions – we have all of the learning tools at our disposal to perform this Mitzvah. It is in our mouth because we can just read the words. We have the ability to understand what it means (in our hearts), giving us a life of incredibly good fortune. This jives well with other ideas found in the Gemorrah – such as the Gemorrah in Megilla which says if one claims to have toiled in Torah and was not successful in understanding what the Torah is all about, we don’t believe that person – he was given the tools to succeed – it is very close to us; we don’t have to cross the oceans or ascend to the heavens; we all have the ability to do it in some fashion, and here God is promising that to us with the tools He has given us. There is the pasuk in Chukas of This is the Torah regarding a man who would die in a tent; it refers to a person who wants to acquire Torah – if you put in the toil, you are guaranteed to succeed at some level. Everyone is capable of mastering some level of Torah. The Vilna Gaon says that it is only through our toil that we will succeed – we cannot rely on supernatural ways of acquiring Torah. There were times that the Gaon had received visions from above or angels, with attempts to reveal to him things that were beyond his grasp, including secrets of the Torah – and he turned them down (as opposed to the Bais Yosef who accepted and publicized them); he wanted to acquire Torah only through his own effort and intellect. We all have what we need to learn – it just requires our effort and desire – Torah is accessible to all of us. A proof of this is from the Netziv who was known as a youngster as being nothing special, possibly even with a lower IQ than other students – most people thought he was below average and even his father-in-law was embarrassed by him; but then some exceptional Torah manuscripts with incredible brilliance were found in the Bais Medrish and were determined to be written by him to everyone’s shock, and he ultimately became the Rosh HaYeshiva; he accomplished all of this with tremendous effort – he was not blessed with inherited brilliance – it was all due to perseverance and effort. The Rambam in Hilchos Talmud Torah says that this chiyuv of Talmud Torah is given to all, whether rich or poor, healthy or sick, suffering or not, young and old – everyone is obligated to study Torah; even the poor person going from door to door to collect money – all are obligated to learn day and night.

A second possibility for the Mitzvah being discussed here is by Rabbeinu Bachya who says that this really means all of the Mitzvos which are being commanded in the Covenant on that day – it is a reference to all 613 Mitzvos. The system of Mitzvos are not hidden and too impossible – Hashem is telling us here that the system is not beyond us – everyone can be a religious Jew – it is not across the heavens – humans are all capable of observing the Mitzvos – it is not beyond our ability to handle all of the Mitzvos. Rav Moshe Feinstein said that the expression of Shver Tzu Zein a Yid – that it is hard to be a religious Jew – is nonsense and parents should not say that in the presence of their children – it is the wrong message – it is a delight and privilege to be a Jew.

The third opinion is that this is the Mitzvah of Teshuva. The Ramban says that some say the peshat of these pasukim is that it is referring to the whole Torah; but what is correct is that it refers to the singular Mitzvah that was commanded that day, and that is the Mitzvah of doing Teshuva. These pasukim should not be looked at in a vacuum – everything that came before them from the beginning of the perek says that history will end well because we will return to Hashem – 30:2: and you will return unto Hashem, your God, and listen to His voice, according to everything that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and all your soul. It is not a command – it is a prophecy that we will return to Hashem after all of the horrors of Jewish history. We will come back to our land after surviving thousands of years of suffering and exile. There is a lot of mention of Teshuva – pasuk 2, 3, 8, and 10. It is all about mass Teshuva. What our pasukim are saying is that we can and should do Teshuva earlier to avoid much of the suffering of history. Why does it say about this Mitzvah that it is close to us? The Torah is creating a Mitzvah De’Oraysa to do Teshuva. The Minchas Chinuch says that the Rambam does not even count it as a Mitzvah – he counts it as a special gift to us, enabling us to wipe out our sins, it does not have to be turned into a Mitzvah. The Ramban says that it is a Mitzvah that could have allowed us to avoid so much of the misery throughout history – God is commanding us to save ourselves from all of the horrors by returning to Hashem; as a parent who loves us, He doesn’t want us to go through all of the suffering.

This chiyuv must end with Vidui, confession. Hashem then will recognize our sincerity and forgive us. It is an obligation to do this Mitzvah. Sforno: the Teshuva has to come when we are still in Galus in order for Hashem to save us; there must first be a return to Hashem to warrant the Ge’ulah. This happens in 30:1 It will be that when all these things come upon you – the blessing and the curse that I have presented before you – then you will take it to heart among all the nations where Hashem, your God, has dispersed you. We will start having stirring and we will be contemplating Teshuva when we are still among the nations of the world; then God will do His part; it cannot be a complete ingathering of the exiles without a national movement of Teshuva. Then we will enter the land and build a model society that will sweep across the world.

Rabbeinu Yonah in his Sha’arei Teshuva: this whole notion of Teshuva has to come from an inner stirring that comes from our insides – we have to have some type of reawakening – we have to realize how we have ruined our lives. Proof for this comes from a story in the Gemorrah Avoda Zarah: Elazar ben Durdaya had not missed out consorting with a single prostitute in the world; he heard about a particular prostitute on an island; he took coins and traveled over seven different rivers to get to her; after consorting with her, at some point she passed gas – she said that just as this gas will never return to its source, so he will never return to be part of the Jewish nation. He was shook up and sat between two mountains and begged them to pray for him; they refused, saying they had to pray for themselves; he asked the heavens and earth to intercede on his behalf, and they too said they need to pray for themselves. This goes on with other heavenly objects until he finally realized he cannot have anyone intercede for him and he must do it himself; he burst out in tears so heavily that it caused him to die – a Bas Kol came out and then said that he has a place in Olam Habah, calling him Rabbi Elazar ben Durdaya – his Teshuva was accepted. When Rebbi Yehuda Hanasi heard this Bas Kol, he said some people have to wait years and years to acquire Olam Habah, others in a moment because of their Teshuva. Rebbi Yehuda said it was not enough to only accept these people into Olam Habah, but they even are called Rebbi. Rav Chaim Freidlander said it means that a Rebbi teaches us something – we learned from Rabbi Elazar that Teshuva can be done even when we are far gone, even at the last moment. He taught it us it is never too late – we can always do Teshuva that can be accepted. 

Tue, 27 September 2016 24 Elul 5776