It is common practice in schools nationwide to take 8th grade students on a trip in celebration of their impending graduation. Chicago’s Veitzener Cheder is no exception; however, Cheder graduating classes embark on a trip that is in effect a preparation for their next step in the world of Torah, a prelude to Yeshiva High school. It is not the typical Graduation Trip, but in reality a Torah Trip, where the students visit fabled institutions of Torah and prayer, hear inspiring words of encouragement, are tested on their learning, and are given heartfelt brochos by luminaries of the Torah World. It is not merely a trip of celebration: it is a tour of inspiration. In addition, the boys spend four days of bonding with their Rebbe, Rabbi Eliezer Aron, and the Cheder’s Mashgiach, Rabbi Yissocher Ehrman. This year’s trip to the Torah and Chassidic centers of Brooklyn, Lakewood, Monsey, Monroe, and Skver was no exception. However, it included a unique aspect – the trip was advanced to the beginning of Chodesh Adar, to afford the talmidim with a special opportunity – to visit a matzah bakery and actively participate in some steps of the baking process, from grinding wheat to carrying raw matzos to the oven. One of the most important aspects of this four-day trip was the set daily times for learning Torah. The bochurim learned with zeal in various Botei Medrash – whether in Bais Medrash Govoha, Bobov, Satmar, or other venues, every opportunity to learn Torah was utilized; even while waiting in the airport and traveling in the car and airplanes, the boys were occupied with Torah study. The talmidim visited venues carefully selected to achieve maximum inspiration, chizuk (moral fortification), and unity. They included a guided tour of the Living Torah Museum, where the bochurim saw displays of animals mentioned in Tanach and ancient artifacts from various periods of Jewish History; a visit to the offices of Adopt-A-Kollel; seeing step-by step demonstrations of making tefillin and tzitis from experts whose yiras shomayim is palpable; and davening in shuls and yeshivos where exemplary levels of intensity and spirit are reached. They were privileged to visit, and receive brochos from, the Roshei Yeshiva and Mashgiach of Bais Medrash Govoha; the Rebbes of Vizhnitz, Satmar, Skver, Rachmistrivka, and Bobov-45; Rav Avrohom Schorr, Rav Ephraim Wachsman and Rav Simcha Bunim Cohen; hear Rav Yisroel Dovid Schlesinger’s shiur on Mishlei; and gain insights from the noted Skverer talmid chochom Rav Shia Cohen. The bochurim impressed these Rabbonim, shlit”a, and virtually all whom they encountered, with their impeccable derech eretz and enthusiastic ahavas Torah. In addition to visiting all these spiritually inspiring edifices, the boys managed to fit a tour of the aircraft carrier Intrepid and other famous New York and New Jersey landmarks into their almost non-stop schedule. They returned home exhausted, but exhilarated, with memories and inspiration that they will certainly treasure in the years to come.

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