From Vilna to Lakewood through Margate

A journey of Harbotzas Torah

“I went to my Mesivta farher with a green sweater, suede yarmulke, necklace with sand from Eretz Yisroel and khaki pants” recalls Kollel Halocho Member R’ Yosef Trocki.

“I was born near Atlantic City and grew up there. I went to a Jewish school with my own name on it – the Trocki Hebrew Academy School. My grandparents were holocaust survivors from Vilna. They came to South Jersey after the War and my grandfather and other survivors built the first Orthodox Shul in the area with their bare hands. Then he founded the school. He was also very involved in tzedoko and chesed.”

“The school hired many teachers from Lakewood and I got good foundations there. My family and I also got positive influence from a local early mekarev and his Rebbitzen. My parents opened an upscale Kosher restaurant there for a period and during Summer I waited tables. There was a good couple from Lakewood who befriended me and invited over to Lakewood for Shabbos which had positive impact.”

“Although I had these positive influences locally – there weren’t many others who were as into their Yiddishkeit as I was and so my 9th grade Rebbe in my school suggested that I go to Yeshiva of Deal. That’s where I went for my farher in my green sweater. I got accepted, learned there and in no time I was dressed like everyone else. It was a Yeshivishe place with Lakewood Rebbeim and I loved it there.”

“From 10th Grade and on a Rebbe there encouraged me to go to Camp Agudah. HoRav Belsky Zt”l who was very active there was a big treasure – I especially enjoyed the zemiros and the special trips. He ended up being my mesader kidushin.”

“When I was at the end of 12th grade Rav Velvel Mintz’s Bais Medrash was there in Deal and so I learned there and after a year went to learn by Rav Zvi Kaplan in Eretz Yisroel. From there I learned in Bais Medrash Govoha in the Rav Zvi Kaplan oilom chaburah for about 4 years and after my main chavrusa moved away from Lakewood I decided to learn in Bais Medrash L’Torah’s Rav Jankelowitz Halacha Chaburah.”

“I’ll never forget the first time I walked in. The Rosh Yeshiva Rav Yisroel Goldblatt who knew me somewhat saw me from the other end of the Bais Hamedrash and in trademark style he opened his arms wide and strode across the Bais Hamedrash to give me a big hug – I knew right then it would work out well.”

“The Rosh Yeshivah encouraged me to be marbitz Torah first through a daf yomi shiur and then through a weekly program I ran in Margate. In the last year or so I have been zocheh to open a second seder halacha kollel in which we learn what I learn first seder with Rav Jankelowitz and in which I say over Rav Jankelowitz’s shiurim to the oilom there. My grandfather was marbitz Torah in Margate and thanks to Bais Medrash L’Torah I am now zocheh to have my own cheilek in harbotzas hatorah right here in Lakewood”.