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Young Israel of Great Neck

Burn the Mortgage Campaign

The YIGN is grateful to the following members for their generous donations to the “Burn the Mortgage” campaign.



To contribute to the Campaign, please complete the form below. If you would prefer that your contribution not be displayed in the scroll please enter "Anonymous" in the Name field. Thank you for helping YIGN achieve our goal!



Lag Ba'Omer BBQ May 26

YIGN 2016 Dinner

The 2016 Annual Dinner was a great success.  Special thanks to our honorees Sarah & Etan Walls and Barrie & Eliot Peyser as well as to the entire Dinner committee.  

The following are links to two videos presented at the Dinner plus photos from the event.

2016 YIGN Dinner Photos

2016 YIGN Dinner - Rabbi Lerner

2016 YIGN Dinner - Twins


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 Lynne and Nessim Tammam on the engagement of their son Avi to Perri Goldberger.

Mazel tov to Myra and Brian Turkfeld on the birth of their daughter.

Mazel tov to Rina and Yossi Weisberg and Rabbi Yaron and Abby Weisberg on the forthcoming marriage of their granddaughter and daughter Rachel to Moshe Aharon Rabin.


Mark Gold and Family would like to thank Rabbi Yaacov Lerner and Rabbi Shmuel Ismach and the Young Israel community for their outpouring of support and kindness following the loss of Mark Gold’s father, Joseph Gold z.l.


The YIGN is having its annual graduation kiddush on Shabbat, June 18th.  Whether your child is graduating from lower school, high school, college or graduate school, the YIGN community would love to partake in your simcha. To participate as a sponsor, the shul is asking for a $100 contribution per family, which can be dropped off with Shoshana in the shul office. In addition to the $100 contribution, please include a baby picture of your child so that we can create a poster for shul that day. Please let us know if you wish to honor your graduate. You can send an email to or call the shul office at 829-6040.

The Young Israel of Great Neck will be marching proudly in the Great Neck Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 30th.   We will line up between 9:00 and 9:15 a.m. at Middle Neck Road and Pont St. (north of the Best Market (Waldbaums) shopping center).   Whether we are Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Liberals or Conservatives, we have an obligation to remember those who died serving in the United States Armed Forces.   After we pass by the reviewing stand on the Village Green, there will be a short and special ceremony to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country in their effort to safeguard our freedom. The parade begins at 9:30 a.m. T-shirts and American flags will be distributed.   Children and grandchildren are most welcome!  

There will be a Shabbat afternoon shiur with Yoetzet Halacha Lisa Septimus this Shabbat afternoon, May 21st at 6:45PM.  The shiur will take place at YIGN and is entitled, "What Came First - the Chicken or the Egg: A Mikvah Dilemma." Light refreshments will be served. 

Mazel Tov to Debbie Spilky on being given the YHT Lifetime Achievement Award at its Annual Spring Supperette, which will take place Tuesday May 24 at Har Torah at 7:00 PM. Please RSVP as soon as possible if you wish to attend by contacting the YHT Office at 718-343-2533 or by emailing

Our Annual Lag B’Omer BBQ Kumzitz Extravaganza will be held on Thursday, May 26th at the Lustbader’s home, 40 Nassau Drive, beginning at 7:00PM.

Netti and Ari Herman
 will be Guests of Honor at Nishmat’s 26th Anniversary Gala Dinner, featuring Nishmat Dean & Founder, Rabbanit Chana Henkin, on Wednesday, June 1, at the Harmonie Club, NYC. To share the celebration, contact co-chairs Karen & Jason Hammerman, Tovah & Josh Marmer, Lisa & Eli Schilowitz or log on to 

The June women's monthly shiur will take place on Tuesday, June 21st at the home of Netti and Ari Herman (2 Saddle Rock Terrace) at 8:00 PM and will be given by Professor Elisheva Carlebach. Details to follow. 

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.

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 eandch. Please call the shul office if you would like to participate. The available date is June 4.

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, sexuality 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

Malka Ismach - 917 373 4883


Many thanks to Tova and Josh Marmer for sponsoring group snacks in honor of the birthdays of their daughters Jackie and Violet.

Remaining dates are:

May: 22, 29
June: 5, 19

9:30-10:30AM   2nd-3rd grade

10:30-11:30AM   K-1st grade

$15/session pay-as-you-go

Please contact for more information


The Emunah Spring Luncheon will take place May 24, 2016 at 11:30AM at the Prince George Ballroom, 15 East 27th Street in New York City. One of the luncheon honorees is Daniella Muller from Great Neck. The keynote speaker is Lea J. Goldman, Executive Editor, Marie Claire.

Created (and delivered) for Shabbos by Eliana.

In preparation for Eliana Sobel’s upcoming Bat Mitzvah, she is excited to launch her very own flower delivery service (a fundraiser which will continue weekly). All proceeds will be donated to The Alzheimer’s Association. Place your order via email/text:  OR 516-967-8627. Fresh bouquets (in a glass vase) cost $15 and will be delivered Friday afternoons.      שבת שלום


The following donations have been made to the Young Israel of Great Neck:

Adele and Azriel Genachowski in memory of David Wagner; In memory of Dr. Donald Heisler

Joan and Henry Katz in memory of Murray Setton

Bonnie and Michael Orbach in memory of Murray Setton

Helene and Ted Kravitz in honor of Drs. Shana and Marc Wilkenfeld’s accomplishments

Sandy and Mark Gold in honor of Abby Lerner’s being honored at  the Yeshiva University High School dinner

Rabbi Lerner's Weekly Parsha Shiur


Parshat Behar

           There is a lot of overlap between the Shmitah and Yovel restrictions – there is no planting or harvesting in either year. In Yovel there is a great deal more, with a release of all slaves and the return of inherited lands that had been sold.

            Abarbanel: These Mitzvos are God’s way of highlighting to us two of His giant acts of Chesed in this world – firstly the creation of the entire world, with nature, and with man at the pinnacle of this creation. The second great thing He did was to give us the Torah which is the pathway to spiritual perfection. We show our Hakoras Hatov to Hashem for these two acts of kindness through these two Mitzvos. In terms of the creation of the world, the Torah makes it clear that God created the heavens and the earth in six days, and he rested on the seventh; likewise with Shmitah, we work the land for six years while the seventh year is a year of rest, a year termed in 25:4 as Shabbas Shabbaton, where we acknowledge God’s creation of the world; we shut down for the full Sabbatical year as opposed to just the single Sabbath day. It is a reaffirmation of God’s creation of the world. With Yovel the Torah does not the use the word Shabbos, because this does not have anything to do with the creation of the world – this mitzvah is only for us, the Jewish people; there is no connection to the rest of the nations of the world, because only we were given the Torah. The key number connecting us to the Torah is 50 – we counted 49 days after the first Pesach and on the 50th day we were given the Torah; so here too, we count 49 years and then celebrate the Torah on the 50th. We usher in the year with the sound of the shofar, just as was done at Sinai, where it had signaled the descent of God’s Shechina down to Har Sinai.

            Rabbeinu Bachya: God uses the lashon of Shabbos in 24:2 and 24:3; Rabbeinu Yonah says that we have a concept of what Shabbos stands for – it is the notion that only God rules the world; He has complete control over the world; the Shmitah transmits this lesson forcefully, to show that we are not in control of this land – God insists that we recognize we are not in control, and we do not plant whenever we want; by letting go of the land we recognize that there is a greater power than us; we were given the land as a long term lease, but it is not ours – it belongs to God, and He continues to be in charge. We shut down for a full year to acknowledge that God is in charge.

            Meshech Chachmah: we apply these two concepts to holy days: and while shabbos and holidays are holy days, there is a difference between the kedusha of shabbos and that of Yom Tov. Hashem made shabbos holy by creating the world in six days, and then resting on the seventh – He sanctified the shabbos; its kedusha has nothing to do with Bnei Yisrael. In contrast, the kedusha of Yom Tov has everything to do with us; we create the calendar by looking for the new moon each month, and the Sanhedrin then declare the new months and the holidays that follow. Everything was dependent on the power of the Sanhedrin. When we lost the Sanhedrin we did the calculations for all of the future, but we, the Jewish people, create the kedusha of the Yomim Tovim – we say the bracha of Mekadesh Yisrael Vehazmanim on Yom Tov, not like what we say on Shabbos, Mekadesh HaShabbos. We were given the tremendous power of setting up the calendar. It had to be an act of Bnei Yisrael – we are in control of the Kedusha of Yom Tov. This is the difference between Shmitah and Yovel. Shmitah happens by itself – Beis Din does nothing to bring the year; it is a de facto situation. Yovel however, is the opposite – we count the 49 years, and then we proclaim the Yovel on Yom Kippur of the 50th year – it is our sanctification that makes Yovel holy – we have to engage in this act. God is Mekadesh the Shmitah as He does the Shabbos, while we are Mekadesh Yovel as we do for all of the Yom Tovim.

            Kli Yakar: the rationale behind the Shmitah year is to teach us Bitachon, putting our complete trust in God. We stop planting, so the farmer cannot plant to make a living; anything that grows is hefker. This helps us understand why God refers to Shmitah as shabbos. The year places within us deep roots of trust; God was concerned that when we arrived into the land and begun working the land, we would be successful and would forget about God and think that all of our success was dependent on us. We would believe that we can work within nature and not need God. Therefore, Hashem tells us not to work the land for a year, after working the land successfully for six years; this will highlight that a special richness of the land that God endows – normally it is only for three years that one can work any land without letting it rest – God will let us have success with great amounts of produce for a full six years – this is a miracle – so God will then highlight this with Shmitah, because we might again think it is all our power and skill. The produce of the sixth year will be amazing, contrary to what is natural, and will last for three years – the sixth, seventh and eighth year. It is a tremendous miracle. God will imbue the holy land with a special energy for the produce of that sixth year – that the wheat will provide enough food for three years – it will be a great, open miracle. Through this it will be evident that God is in control of the land, and it will cause us to turn towards Hashem. The miracle is not just the triple portion of food, but it will be the exact same amount in that sixth year – the measure of food will be the same as in a normal  year; but God will imbue a special power to the grain, in that we will eat a small amount and be nourished as if we ate a full, larger amount – we will be able to eat one third of the normal amount and be full; only in the sixth year will we have grain with this special quality. The proof of this is in 25:20-2: And if you will say: What will we eat in the seventh year? Behold we didn’t plant or harvest in our crops! I will ordain My blessing for you in the sixth year and it will yield a crop sufficient for the three year period. You will plant in the eighth year, but you will eat from the old crop; until the ninth year, until the arrival of its crop, you will eat the old. We would normally think that the harvest will just be three times normal; but, in fact, it says Ve’Asah HaTevuah to say that it is the same quantity which we are accustomed to, but God will have imbued this miraculous power into the soil that will enrich the food so that a small amount will be sufficient to satisfy us each day – in the same number of bushels we will be sustained for three years. Because of this, God would be furious if we break the laws of Shmitah – it is only justice that God would exile us if we do not honor this concept, and we don’t treat the land as God ordained. It shows we don’t have faith in God and His miracles. The wheat will be miraculous in the sixth year, and if we don’t believe in it and trust God, and instead plant in the seventh year, we will lose the land. The Sforno said this earlier – on 25:19 it says The land will give its fruit and you will eat your fill. It means that the fruit that grows in the sixth year will be high in nutrition and satisfaction; it will be like the miraculous manna that fell from the heavens while they traveled in the desert, where they were told to take just a small amount each day – an Omer of food – and it would be enough for everyone for three meals each day, even if someone was much bigger – everyone was satiated. The Midrash says that during Shmitah we would eat a tiny amount and it satisfied all our needs during the seventh year – the food had triple its normal potency – it was an incredible miracle that God created in the food; there would be no famine in the land; we would not repeat the terrible tragedy of having to descend into Egypt.

            Rav Baruch Simon: quotes Rav Yehuda Copperman from Michlalah: it is not that the miracle occurs internally in the intestines – the miracle occurs within the food that is growing – the food itself will be packed with incredible nourishment, allowing even a small amount of food to be equivalent to three times the amount. The lesser miracle is having the land produce three times as much prior to each Shmitah – but a bigger Nes is that the same amount of food will be produced and will sustain us for three years. God shows His great power with this more impressive miracle. Why does Hashem show this favored nation status to Israel when the Torah says He doesn’t play favorites? God responds: How can He not show them favoritism? The Torah says we should bless Him for providing a full meal – Ve’Achaltah, Vesavatah, Uverachta – and yet we bless God in our benching for even a Kezayis of food – this shows that we can be satisfied with much less – we feel full even with a Kezayis – God is so impressed with us for that, that He takes the food this year and imbues it with special power as a reward – he shows how a small amount can satisfy us for a long time because we showed our gratitude by thanking Him for even a small amount of food when we bench after a small amount of food, telling God that we are satisfied with even a Kezayis.




Thu, 26 May 2016 18 Iyyar 5776