I Am HTC! - HTC Celebrates 91st Anniversary Banquet

Hebrew Theological College Celebrates 91st Anniversary Banquet

189On a snowy Sunday in January, Hebrew Theological College celebrated its 91st Anniversary Banquet at the Westin O’Hare Hotel. On January 5, 2014, HTC presented the Lev V’Nefesh award to Rabbi Dr. Jerold Isenberg, Chancellor Emeritus, for his decades of service to our Yeshiva.

The theme of this year’s banquet was “We are HTC”. Throughout the evening, the point was conveyed that so many of HTC’s alumni have translated their years of Torah and General Studies at HTC into vibrant, active involvement in many aspects of Jewish life throughout, not only the Chicago area, but the broader Jewish community worldwide. On display at the reception were memorabilia from the old days of the Yeshiva as well as yearbooks dating back over four decades. Everyone who attended received a deck of trivia cards about the Yeshiva! The video, aptly titled “We Are HTC”, highlighted many alumni who identify strongly with HTC, not least of whom was this year’s honoree, Rabbi Dr. Jerold Isenberg, Chancellor Emeritus.

The event opened with a warm welcome from Dr. Mark Goldenberg of Los Angeles, a Fasman Yeshiva High School alumnus and close friend of Rabbi Isenberg. Mr. Brian Levinson, Chairman of the Board of HTC, offered greetings to the crowd and welcomed Dr. Alan Kadish, President of Touro College. Attendees were inspired by words of chizuk about miracles from our very energetic Rosh HaYeshiva, Rabbi Avraham Friedman.  A message of HTC’s illustrious past and even brighter future was delivered by newly appointed Interim Chancellor, Rabbi Shmuel Leib Schuman.

Both Mr. Levinson and Rabbi Schuman spoke enthusiastically about HTC’s new alliance with Touro College. In addition to the many new course offerings, majors and degrees, this new partnership will hopefully provide greater opportunities for our young men and women to prepare for their future careers on a foundation of genuine Torah values. Rabbi Schuman stressed that HTC is embarking on a mission that will result not only in a partnership with Touro College, but in an alliance which will positively impact and change the face of Torah Judaism in the Midwest and beyond. 

188Later in the evening, the Lev V’ Nefesh award was presented by Rabbi Shabsai Wolfe, Vice Chairman of HTC Board of Directors. Rabbi Wolfe told of his personal connections to Rabbi Isenberg at HTC, dating back to the time Rabbi Isenberg was a student in his math class. Their friendship was strengthened as they became parents of boys who together attended Fasman Yeshiva High School. During his presentation, Rabbi Wolfe proudly announced the dedication of the Rabbi Dr. Jerold Isenberg Plaza on the Skokie campus. To which Rabbi Isenberg proudly exclaimed, that he is now part of the landscape at HTC! Rabbi Isenberg, with a wide smile and tearful eye accepted his award, and spoke about how the yeshiva has been his life for so many years. He relayed how he would not have been successful without the support of his family and the talented group of Rabbeim and staff who dedicate their lives to their students and our Yeshiva. 

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Without exaggeration, Rabbi Isenberg has truly been “part of the landscape” at HTC since 1967. From its Fasman Yeshiva High School he graduated into HTC’s Beis Midrash/College program, earning a BHL from HTC and, concurrently, a BSc in Mathematics from Roosevelt University. He began teaching at HTC in 1974. In 1977 he received Semicha and was appointed HTC Assistant to the Dean of Students. That same year he married Miriam Yocheved Mayefsky, and, until her untimely passing in 2009, they raised their two sons, Moshe and Yehuda. Rabbi Isenberg was soon given increased responsibilities, first as Assistant Dean and then Associate Dean and Registrar. In 1985, he became Academic Vice President. During that time he earned an MSc in Mathematics from Northeastern Illinois University and an MBA with a concentration in Information Systems from Roosevelt University. In 1988 he received his DHL from Jewish University of America.

On August 31, 2013, Rabbi Isenberg retired from his position as Chancellor of Hebrew Theological College, where he devoted 24 years of heart and soul to the Yeshiva. He currently serves HTC as a consultant and as a professor in the college and is looking forward to spending more time with his wife, the former Jocelyn Miller Schultz, and their children and grandchildren.

HTC thanks its parent body, alumni, friends and myriad supporters who donated their time and resources to make this year’s banquet so successful. The collective effort ensured that the fire of Torah will continue to burn in our Yeshiva.