If you sadly missed our Annual Dinner honoring the Legacy of Sam Menlo, ז״ל – don’t fret – you can experience the camaraderie, the excitement, the deep emotions and the kiddush Hashem, right here, right now (and as often as you like) at our Virtual Annual Dinner.
If you want a quick recap of the evening, you can watch the highlight reel below (don’t forget to keep on scrolling down so you don’t miss anything important).
We knew that this year would be special! Sam Menlo dedicated himself to make Valley Torah the best it could be. Today, thanks to Mr. Menlo, ז״ל – and his family עמו״ש – Valley Torah has two state-of-the-art buildings and we are the school of choice for a large swath of the Los Angeles community.
The Los Angeles Community certainly responded. Nearly 500 of our closest friends attended the Annual Dinner!
Promptly, at a few minutes before 7:00 the doors opened to the ballroom. The decor, the lighting, all exquisite!
The salad course was waiting at our table. The efficient wait staff promptly removed our salad and served the prime rib of beef (this is where virtual reality leaves something to be desired – I’m afraid you can’t taste just how delicious that steak was!) Just as we put down our forks… the wait staff magically appeared and removed our plates. The program was about to begin.
The program started off with a fast-paced overview of some of last-years accomplishment – the We Are Valley Torah video:
Solly Hess, Valley Torah class of 2002 and Regional Director of Western States for the Orthodox Union, served as the evenings MC. Solly introduced a video that told the story of four Valley Torah alumni.
Solly then introduced Dr. Dor Markush, a Valley Torah graduate and a pediatric cardiologist and Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Dor told of how is family came from Israel with very little knowledge of Judaism. Valley Torah embraced Dor and his two sisters and two brothers. The entire family was deeply impacted by the love and the education they received at Valley Torah and today they are leaders in their respective communities.
After Dr. Markush, Rabbi Stulberger took the stage. He movingly distilled the essence of Sam Menlo’s dedication to the rebuilding of Torah Judaism after the destruction of European Jewry.
Rabbi Stulberger introduced a video that detailed Mr. Menlo’s life both before and after World War II. The identity of the narrator of the video was perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening.
As soon as everyone wiped the tears from their eyes, Moshe Storch came on stage to sing a song composed especially in Sam Menlo’s memory.
Mr. Menlo’s son, Frank Menlo, was then called on stage and thanked all in attendance.
The next surprise was now unveiled: Rabbi Stulberger announced that Valley Torah has commissioned a sefer Torah to be written in memory of Sam Menlo, ז״ל. This Torah will kept in the Valley Torah beis medrash and will be an eternal remembrance of Mr. Menlo’s dedication to our school and to the learning of Torah.
A table was brought on stage. Rabbi Shimon Kraft had with him the first section of the new Torah with him. Rabbi Kraft helped Frank Menlo fill in the the first words of this new Torah right on stage. Festive dancing broke out on the stage – the culmination of a very emotional evening.
After the dancing, anyone that choice to join Valley Torah in dedicating a significant portion of the Torah, came up to fill in a new letter on the parchment.
Dessert was served and everyone lingered over coffee, tea and good conversation with close friends.
Visit the VTHS Annual Dinner Online Photo Album to see all the pictures from the Gala.
View the Digital Ad Journal shown at the Dinner below. The support for our school and the honorees was spectacular.