Congregation Beth Jacob’s Heritage Hall was the place to be Monday, June 20, as Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael of Atlanta graduated eight young men.

Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael is a high school for boys with a student body of fewer than 50. Among its students are native Georgians, as well as boys from other states and other countries, for which the school arranges boarding. The school blends a traditional Talmudic curriculum with a secular college prep program.

The graduates of the Class of 2016 are Daniel Filreis, Yoyo Grossblatt, Avrumi Lewis, Naftali Maman, Yehuda Oppenheim, Chagai Perez, Simon Schoen and Herschel Siegel.

Rabbi Yechezkel Freundlich, the outgoing head of school, thanked faculty members for a successful school year and for the positive impressions they made on the students.

In a d’var Torah, Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Mayer Neuberger compared the school’s mission to Talmudic imperatives and lessons from the Tanach. He alluded to Ruth’s solidarity with her mother-in-law, Naomi.

“We are supposed to follow Ruth’s example in establishing a covenant with Hashem,” Rabbi Neuberger said, “to reinvigorate our commitment to His mitzvot.”

Rabbi Freundlich used the phrase nefesh b’nefesh (soul in soul) to understand the school’s mission and to prescribe a lifestyle to each graduate.

The graduates individually addressed the crowd, reflecting on their time at the yeshiva with humor, insight and nostalgia while exuding confidence in the ability to succeed in the future.

Rabbi Shimon Wiggins, the school’s principal, presented the boys with diplomas and sent them off as ambassadors of the school and representatives of the “sweetness” of Hashem and His mitzvot.

Photos by Zach Itzkovitz