YIHP Kollel Boker: 16 Years and Going Strong


Rabbi Arye D. Gordon

It is early morning in Los Angeles. The sun has not risen yet and there is a chill in the air. A dedicated and determined group move about getting dressed and preparing to start a new day in the same manner they have done over the last 16 years. It is hard to imagine that it is already 16 years!

Michael Kest, Founder of the Kollel, enthusiastically described how the Kollel came about. “I had recently returned from Yisroel and was looking to formalize a learning schedule for myself. I had stopped at Shaar Yoshuv and met with a friend of mine, Benny Stein z”l, and he told me of the Kollel Boker he had started. I liked the idea, so when I returned to Los Angeles I met with Rabbi Krause, he connected me with Rabbi Altusky and so it began.”

All it takes is desire and fortitude and one can initiate a world of learning. And Rabbi Altusky? A marbitz torah for many years as a Rebbe in the Yeshiva Gedolah of Los Angeles, he took excitedly to the task of this early morning learning as an addition to a full and busy schedule, without a moment’s hesitation.

YIHP Kollel Boker

clockwise from Left, Jerry Cohen, Shalom Katz, Rosh Kollel, Rabbi Yitzchok Altusky, Michael Boldt, David Shadowicz, Itzhak Panitz, Greg Meyer, Yaakov Schuster, Gershon Spiegel and Kollel Founder Michael Kest. Photo: Arye D. Gordon

Jerry Cohen, a prominent Los Angeles attorney and longtime member of the Kollel, wanted me to know about the Rosh Kollel. “Rabbi Altusky is always there before any of us. We never have to wait for him. His behavior inspires us to emulate him and be there on time. And his teaching. He has clarity of thought, tremendous patience, and an uncanny ability to make it all understandable. He is the fuel that keeps us going.”

As for the members of the Kollel boker, ask Rabbi Altusky and he will tell you. ”They are a dedicated and sincere group and among them are those looking to advance their level of Torah learning while others are reconnecting to their yeshiva learning days. It is a privilege and pleasure to part of this endeavor. ”

So on the second night of Chanukah 5776, the Kollel Boker gathered to celebrate another year of learning. Words of Torah, inspiration, camaraderie and achdus were expressed by Rabbi Altusky, Hymie Barber, Dr. Arnie Ross and Rabbi Krause.