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Fall 2010
                                               Alumni Newsletter of Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union

                               A New Na me for Schechter:
                               GOlDA OCh ACADeMy
Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union will                       Solomon
be renamed in memory of Golda Och, a school founder                        Schechter
and leader, following a ground-breaking challenge gift                     Day School         “Jane and I are thrilled
of up to $15 million through a grant made by The Jane
and Daniel Och Family Foundation.
                                                                                                 to recognize my
                                                                             “Most            mother’s decades-long
                                    Golda Och and her                        important,
                                    husband, Michael,                        the Golda Och
                                                                                               commitment to the
   “Golda personified               co-founded the                           Academy           Solomon Schechter
everything    that is best school in 1965 along with              will carry forward the
                                                                                               Day Schools of Essex
                                    several other families        educational, social and
 in our school,” said and played a pivotal role                   cultural mission that       and Union,” said Och.
                                    in Solomon Schechter’s        it has embodied since
Joyce Raynor, Head growth and development.                        1965, ensuring that
                                         son Daniel Och,
of School. “It will be Her chairman and chief
                                                                  future generations of students enjoy the best possible Jewish
                                                                  education,” said Och.
 an honor       for us to           executive officer of Och-
                                    Ziff Capital Management       Golda Och had an influential role in shaping Solomon Schechter,
   bear her name.”                  Group, a leading global       taking on many positions in the school over the years. She
                                    institutional alternative     served three terms as Board President from 1979 to 1982 and
asset management firm and one of the largest alternative asset    was the school’s business manager for 10 years. Mrs. Och
managers in the world, was in the school’s first kindergarten     also taught Jewish history and was a president of the Parents’
class.                                                                                              Association.

“Jane and I are thrilled to recognize my mother’s            “I am truly fortunate to             In addition to her formal roles,
decades-long commitment to the Solomon Schechter                                                  Mrs. Och was a valued advisor,
Day Schools of Essex and Union,” said Och. “I am              have been among the                 respected mentor and beloved
truly fortunate to have been among the first students         first students enrolled             friend to generations of
enrolled at SSDSEU and to be able to return the gift of                                           Schechter leaders, families and
my education by honoring both my mother’s legacy            at SSDSEU and to be able              students. “Golda personified
and my alma mater.”
                                                             to return the gift of my             everything that is best in our
                                                                                                  school,” said Joyce Raynor,
Golda Och passed away in January at the age 74 after         education by honoring                Head of School. “It will be an
a long illness. The school will be renamed “Golda                                                 honor for us to bear her name.”
Och Academy” at an official ceremony on December
                                                            both my mother’s legacy
6th, but will retain its mission and affiliation with the      and my alma mater.”

                                                   Visit our new website
                                      to be launched on December 6, 2010
Message From Head Of School                                          Message From The Development /
                         Dear Alumni,                                Alu mni Office
                         Our school has been extremely                                    Dear Schechter Alumni,
                         fortunate to have received a
                         generous challenge gift from the                                 Hello from school! These are certainly very
                         Jane and Daniel Och Foundation.                                  exciting times as our school prepares to
                         In recognition of this gift, our                                 accept a transformational challenge gift
                         school will be renamed “Golda                                    from Dan and Jane Och and be renamed
                         Och Academy,” in honor of Dan’s                                  the “Golda Och Academy” after a beloved
                         mother, Golda Och, who passed                                    founder, teacher and leader.
                         away this past January.
                                                                     you are probably wondering if our school will be changing. The
In addition to being one of our school founders, leaders and         answer is no. We will still be the same school that you graduated
teachers, Golda was a good friend of mine. She taught many           from providing the same top quality secular and Jewish education
of you and had a profound influence in shaping our school,           and affiliation with the Conservative movement and Solomon
impacting your Schechter experience even if you did not              Schechter Association. This transformational gift will help ensure
know her personally. I am honored that the school will bear          affordability and academic excellence for our school long into the
her name.                                                            future. There will also be a challenge campaign so stay tuned for
While we will have a new name, I assure you that we will             more details. We will need the support of our alumni!
remain the same school that you know and love. The
rededication gives us the opportunity to renew our                   Our Alumni Society will still be a major focus of connection that
commitment to our original mission: to prepare our                   keeps the school in touch with you, our over 1300 strong alumni,
graduates to take their place as dynamic, well-educated              who are out in the world doing amazing things! We are looking
leaders who will guide their community with Jewish values            forward to adding professional networking to the activities of our
as well as a deep knowledge of our texts and traditions. you,        Alumni Society.
our talented alumni, are our mission both fulfilled and in
action out in the world. We are dedicated to supporting and          It was quite inspiring for me to be present at this year’s Back
celebrating your personal and professional endeavors. Our            to School Benefit 2 on September 16 at Slate in NyC. What a
school will always be your home.                                     wonderful group of alumni you are! I was especially amazed to
                                                                     see three alumni from the West Coast who came in to be with us!
I am extremely excited about this opportunity to both
honor our past and to move into the future together as the           We are looking forward to a wonderful future for our school
“Golda Och Academy.” We will have an official renaming               under its new name the Golda Och Academy.”
on December 6th, in the spirit and value of rededication that
Chanukah embodies. I hope to see many of you then, as we             Kol tuv!
celebrate the next chapter in our school’s history together.

                                                                     Stephanie Bash-Soudry
                                                                     Director of Development & Alumni Relations

Joyce Raynor, PhD
Head of School

                                                        Calling all Schechter Alumni in Israel:
                                                          you are invited to a Schechter Alumni Mifgash in Israel on
                                                                     February 19, 2011, 7 pm in Jerusalem.
                                                           A mission of faculty, administrators and board members
                                                             will be traveling to Israel and they want to see you.
                                                               Let us know if you or your children are in Israel-
                                                           please contact Lilach Bluevise at

Fellow Alumni:

“If you will it,
it is no drea m.”
Theodor Herzl
In just two short years, we have blossomed into a robust
Alumni Society! We boast scores of active members, an
Alumni Scholarship Fund that has raised over $100,000
for tuition assistance and an annual, well-attended Back                   SSDSEU Wins Six Awards
to School Benefit for alumni and friends. Our impact has
been both immediate and long-lasting. Our work has not                             including
only been recognized by our SSDS community, it has
spread around the country and the globe, reaching as far
                                                                                 Excellence in
as Australia! None of these great strides could not have                    Alu mni Outreach Award
been accomplished without your continued and valuable
support.                                                            On October 23-26, over 1,000 Jewish educators, day
                                                                    school professionals and lay leaders gathered for the
The following are some recent pieces of great news that I           PEJE (Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education)
would like to share:                                                Assembly in Baltimore. We were proud that our school
    •	   We held the Second Annual Back to School                   won a total of six awards including Excellence in Alumni
         Benefit in September. More alumni attended                 Outreach. We appreciated that Lawrence Elbaum came
         this year than last year and we managed to raise           to PEJE to represent our Alumni Society and shared our
         some much needed funds for the school. The                 experiences at a session on Alumni Relations.
         event featured a wonderful silent auction as well
         as SSDS trivia. In the end, we created an infinite
         amount of good will for the Alumni Society, the
         Campaign and the School.
                                                                    Make a Difference
    •	   It is with special pride to impart that we recently
         accepted an award from The Partnership for
         Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE) for
                                                                   to Students in Need!
         Excellence in Alumni Outreach. This is a direct           Please join us in making a difference by
         result of and testament to our hard work.
                                                                   contributing to this year’s 2010 Alumni
    •	   We have been the subject of much press over                        Scholarship Campaign!
         the past two years and, most recently, we were
         the focal point of a major article in The Jewish             Make your donations online at
         News on the role of funding campaigns in the
         changing cultures of Hebrew Day Schools in
                                                           support Schechter.
         the MetroWest area. you can access the article             The students of today need us now.
         using the following link:                        Please say hineni!
         day-school-culture This is yet another great
         reflection of our hard work.
                                                                      For more information, please call
Mazel Tov to all on a job well done!
                                                                     (973)602-3612 or email to alumni@
A special thanks to Stephanie Bash-Soudry.
Without her undying inspiration and dedication,                                        Thank You!
the Alumni Society would not be where it is today.

yasher Kochachem!

lawrence S. elbaum, Class of ‘98
                                                                                     Donate now
Chair, Alumni Society

                                                   Alu mni Profiles
           Evan Majzner, Class of 2001,                                                   Lissy Carr, Class of 1999,
   Shares on Social Networking and How Schechter
                                                                                   Asking the Important Questions and
       Alumni Communicate in the 21st Century
                                                                                       Developing a New Website
It’s no secret that online social
networking has changed the world.                                                                     lissy Carr, who lives in Manhattan
With prospective, current, and recent                                                                 with her husband, Ben, has developed
Schechter students driving the change,                                                                a website that asks the all important
our Alumni Society is using technology                                                                question: What do you do?
to help members find, share and
communicate with others.                                                                                The concept for www.SoWhaddya
At the helm of the school’s rising social                                                      came out of Lissy’s own job
networking trend is Evan Majzner                                                                        search. After seven years of bouncing
(class of 2001), who began searching                                                                    around in the music, film, television, and
for better, faster ways to reach out to                                   marketing industries, lissy felt it was time to figure out what career
alumni while serving on the Schechter                                     would truly make her happy. So, she turned to the web for guidance
Alumni Scholarship Campaign Committee. he took over Solomon               and realized that there was not a single resource out there that
Schechter’s Alumni Facebook page last March and has upgraded
                                                                          featured professionals speaking candidly about their jobs, how they
Schechter’s alumni relations status with the click of a mouse and
some very innovative ideas.                                               arrived at their positions, and what steps would help others get their
                                                                          foot in the door! Lissy, the determined and hard-working individual
“We’re using Facebook to support our alumni committee efforts,”
                                                                          that she is, decided to create a resource herself.
Majzner says. “It’s easy to become complacent and lose touch.
There’s always talk of alumni programs but people loose a sense of        Her website, So Whaddya Do, is mostly geared toward college
community with high school and we are trying for a paradigm shift
                                                                          students and young professionals who are struggling with the
so people will support the school they went to and send their kids
there. Facebook helps create a positive sense of community toward         question, “what should I do with my life?”
                                                                          How are you supposed to answer that question without being
Schechter’s Facebook page connects alumni with each other and             familiar with all the possibilities out there? At So Whaddya Do, Lissy
the institution in novel, effective ways like ‘Flashback Friday,’ a
                                                                          and her team have done most of the work for you, by interviewing
Majzner-inspired idea that ties in a memory or event to encourage
                                                                          people in a variety of jobs who aren’t afraid to tell it like it is.
communication between alums.
Flashback Friday greets alums with memories, photos and trivia            The goal is to get people on the path to career happiness. When
pulled out of alumni archives to give Schechter’s Facebook                you visit So Whaddya Do, you have the option of watching any
community a sense of nostalgia.                                           number of video interviews with professionals in a variety of
“We do a variety of things to keep people informed and to get             careers from fashion to finance, medicine to marketing. each
people to remember,” says Majzner, who works as a litigation              Infoview (informational interview) provides an overview of what
attorney and lives in Manhattan.                                          goes on in each profession. Instead of reading about what it’s like
Since Majzner’s started working on our alumni Facebook presence,          to work in the medical field, you’re actually hearing about the day
the alumni page has grown from 200 members to more than 500               –to-day experiences of actual doctors (or lawyers, consultants,
‘friends.’ New members are joining daily. The popular page not only       entrepreneurs, etc.) The main goal at the moment is to build up
connects old friends and keeps track of alumni; it posts newsworthy
                                                                          the Job Archive, so we’re constantly interviewing professionals in
information about the school, notifies the community about school
                                                                          all kinds of jobs. Many Schechter alumni professionals have been
benefits and fundraisers, and serves as a vehicle to post exciting
school news.                                                              featured!

“We’ve gotten great feedback in terms of soliciting donations,”           Lissy says, “The site has been approached by total strangers who
he says. “We’ve had more people donate to the school by using             love their job and want to help a broader audience understand
Facebook in conjunction with our fundraising efforts and we’ve seen
                                                                          what they do, so we’re interviewing those folks. And we’re taking
an increase in the array of people who have been donating.”
                                                                          requests, since a lot of our fans want to learn about jobs that aren’t
Individual graduating classes have also created their own Facebook        yet featured on the site. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? I can
page. If your class doesn’t have one, please contact Evan!
                                                                          be reached anytime at . We’re also on
                         FIND US ON FACeBOOK:                             Facebook and Twitter – just search for So Whaddya Do!”
                         SOlOMON SCheChTeR DAy SChOOl
                         OF ESSEX AND UNION ALUMNI                        Check it out:

                              Alu mni In Their Own Words
My Schechter connection:                                       Jessica abramson:
Becky iSaacSon, claSS of 2004                                  ThoughTs on schechTer from
at a recent Schechter alumni committee meeting,                The back To school benefiT
we were asked to share who our favorite Schechter
teacher is. that’s an easy one for me – it’s Mrs. roth.        After I left for college, a
My fellow West orange lower School alumni all                  case of empty nest syndrome
agreed that she is fabulous. after i left the meeting,         encouraged my mother to take on
Schechter memories started to surface and i                    a project. She decided to track
decided to share with you why i love Schechter, and            down her elementary school
especially why i love Mrs. roth.
                                                               classmates and plan a reunion. I
alumni often center on the fact that Schechter                 couldn’t help but wonder what my
taught them Jewish values, but there is another side           first SSDS reunion might be like
to Schechter that is also important and very close to
                                                               and what friendships might be
my heart. i was in 3rd grade when my parents got
divorced, and it was a very difficult time for me. I
                                                               restored on that day.
thank my lucky stars that i was a Schechter student
                                                               Now, four years later, I attended my very first SSDS
at that time and that Mrs. roth was my teacher
that year.                                                     reunion event-The Second Annual Back to School Benefit.
                                                               On September 16, 2010, over 100 SSDS grads and
Mrs. roth was, and still is, the sweetest, kindest and         supporters came to Slate, a lounge in New York City,
most caring teacher i’ve ever had. She took me under
                                                               to reunite and raise money for SSDS. Schechter alumni
her wing that year and didn’t give up on me. She
watched out for me in and out of the classroom. She            and other guests mingled and noshed as they answered
called my mom frequently to find out how things                SSDS-themed “Then and Now” trivia questions including
were going at home and to tell her how i was doing             “Who is the current principal?” and “What is the SAR
in school. Mrs. roth knew that weeknight visitation            (Student Activities Room) used for now?” On a large
with my father was not easy for me, and it didn’t
                                                               screen above the bar, a slideshow displayed nostalgia-
leave me much time to do my homework. therefore,
i was excused from doing homework for her class
                                                               inducing photos of guests in their awkward stages. There
whenever i had visitation. She told me to do what i            were countless shots of smiling “tweens” huddled together
could, but not to worry about it. i felt as though a           in the Ulam, posing for the ever-popular lunch table shot.
huge burden was taken off my shoulders.
                                                               While the event’s main goal was to raise money for the
Both Mrs. roth and Schechter provided me with                  future of the Schechter students, I couldn’t help but
the nurturing and attention that i needed at that
                                                               think about how the event would affect the relationships
stressful time. had i been in public school, i believe i
would have gotten lost in the crowd. instead, i was a          of past Schechter students. There we were, older and
member of a close-knit community that helped out               wiser than at graduation where we stood nervously in
in any way that it could.                                      our blue caps and gowns, wondering about what life is
the Schechter community was there for me even
                                                               like outside the “Schechter Bubble.” Would people use
after i graduated. i attended Boston University as             the reunion aspect of the event to reconnect with old
an undergraduate, a school much larger than what               friends? I truly hoped that we can all use reunions to
I was used to. During my first semester at BU, I               strengthen old friendships and make the SSDS community
discovered that there was a group of Schechter kids            stronger.
(class of 2001) who ate Shabbat dinner together at
hillel every week. they welcomed me with open arms             As part of a new undertaking of the Alumni Committee
as i joined them for dinner with other BU-Schechter            to bring SSDS grads together, graduating seniors will
students. having this Schechter connection helped me
                                                               be assigned mentors, older SSDS grads, who attend the
transition into BU more easily.
                                                               college they will be headed to after graduation. It’s my
i received a wonderful education at Solomon                    sincere hope that programs like this, reunions, benefits, and
Schechter, for which i am very grateful. i am forever
                                                               other SSDS events will help keep our Schechter alumni
thankful to the school for always being there for me,
both inside and outside of the classroom.
                                                               community strong.

                                          College Alu mni

                                                              Attention Classes of
                                                             2010, 2009, 2008, 2007

                                                           SAve the DAte:
                                                                College Alumni
                                                    Basketball Game & Faculty Reception
                                                      December 23, 2010, 1:30 – 4 p.m.
                                                      eric F. Ross Upper School Campus
                                                                           1:30 Reception
                                                                       2:45 Basketball Game

Please RSvP to Becky Kestenbaum at
or Janet herman at

College Buddy Progra m: New alu mni see a friendly face on ca mpus
This fall when Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and             resources. Next, the buddies reached out to the new men
Union 2010 graduates arrived on college campuses, there              and women on campus, to invite them to Hillel on Shabbat
was a cadre of Solomon Schechter alumni to support them.             or otherwise introduce them to Jewish life on campus. The
                                                                     program is enhanced by the Finals Survival Kits sent each
“College is daunting and confusing at first, especially coming
                                                                     year by Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union to
from a small community like SSDS,” remarked NyU junior
Jessica Abramson. “I thought a familiar face would be                freshman in college or former students studying in Israel.
comforting to new freshmen.”
                                                                     The Alumni Society thanks the college buddies who have
Jessica partnered with Arielle Kramer, a junior at Muhlenberg        volunteered to make this connection between our school
College, and the idea of a College Outreach Program began            and their colleges. Many of these alumni, and others who
to take shape. This fall, SSDSEU graduates on 10 campuses            don’t have new SSDS former students joining them on
had a group of already established “buddies” on call to help         campus, have also volunteered to host current students who
them navigate their new surroundings and the challenges of
                                                                     are considering their college.
college life.

Outreach volunteers contacted the new freshmen before                We are hoping that this new, volunteer-led program will
school starts to ask them if they have any questions about           continue to strengthen our relationship with our alumni for
life on campus and give them tips about Jewish and general           years to come.

Alu mni and Friends at the Great Auction, May 16, 2010

        The Class of 2000 Ten Y ear Reunion
       Saturday May 8, 2010 at Antik in NY C.

        The Second Annual                                                 “Our school is really a community. I keep in touch with many of
T  he second annual Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex
and Union Back to School Benefit was a great success, both for
                                                                          my Schechter friends, and I value my Schechter education. I didn’t
                                                                          want children to miss out on that experience because of lack of
the Alumni Scholarship Fund and socially for the more than 100            funds,” he said.
alumni and friends who attended!
                                                                          Schechter has given out nearly $2 million in assistance to students
On September 16, 2010, SSDSEU supporters came to Slate, a                 for the 2010-2011 school year. The Alumni Scholarship Campaign is
lounge in New york City, to reunite and raise money for the               a great way for former students to connect with the school and
school. Alumni enjoyed the crayons and apples on every table, the         enable others to share the unique Schechter experience.
video montage of old photos and trivia questions playing behind
                                                                          The Back to School Benefit brought the total money raised for the
the bar, and the camaraderie of old friends.
                                                                          2010 scholarship campaign close to $45,000. Since it was started
The event also featured a raffle to benefit the scholarship fund.         in 2009, the Alumni Scholarship Campaign has raised more than
Tickets to a Jets game, private Pilates classes, several baskets of       $100,000 for the school.
fashion goodies and other items enticed the crowd.
                                                                          The scholarship campaign is still in full swing. We still need
Lawrence Elbaum, chairman of the 2010 Alumni Scholarship                  everyone’s support! To find out more information, email
Campaign, explained the reasoning behind the get-together.       or donate at our website at

Back to School Benefit

                                               Arts at Schechter
                    Beyond the Classroom:                                                         Why Benja min Akselrad
      Arts Department Takes Talent to the Top                                                        Never Sits Down
                                                                                                Benjamin Akselrad’s
       ‘Creativity takes courage.’ (Henri Matisse, 1869-1954)                                   resume is full of
                                                         An essential part of education,        interests and
                                                         the arts capture our world             accomplishments.
                                                         through multi-medium                   Published
                                                         experiences that communicate           playwright,
                                                         and transcend to all cultures in all   acclaimed filmmaker
                                                         languages. For the past two years,     and photographer,
                                                         the school has been building a         improvisational
                                                         comprehensive Arts Department.         comedian, thespian, New york Times
                                                         From dance and music to theater        Magazine essayist and avid traveler–
                                                         and the visual arts, Schechter         Akselrad hasn’t wasted a moment.
offers students a unique means of expression, capturing their passions and emotions and         A scuba diver with advanced adventurer
allowing them to explore new ideas.                                                             certification, the 2006 Schechter
“We are lucky that we have talented teachers and kids who are so invested in the arts,” says    graduate has explored 17 countries and
Arts Coordinator Jamie Mittleman. “We have an intense classroom curriculum at SSDSeU            completed 19 dives in exotic locales like
and this is where kids can share their creative side, where they can have fun and can explore   Iceland, Australia, and Thailand. While
themselves. Going to a Jewish school doesn’t mean you don’t have time for arts.”                studying entrepreneurship and Corporate
Mittleman recalls her first time seeing a student-performed show at SSDSeU and                  Innovation at Indiana University’s Kelley
thinking that there was so much talent but not enough resources for the production. She         School of Business, he traveled to India to
instinctively knew there had to be a better way to emphasize the arts and proposed the          explore its emerging economy and political
arts department, which has since grown exponentially one of the more noticeable changes         landscape. He also completed an economic
include a dedicated music room that has been retrofitted with a wall of mirrors, enabling the                                 fellowship in
dance team to choreograph performances.                                                              “I am now                Australia.
While the school has always encouraged students to create new clubs and activities that            benefitting              Though
the student body will be interested in, the exciting arts program has become a breeding
ground for new ideas and experiences. The student-created Arts Council meets weekly to
                                                                                                    from the                absorbs all he
brainstorm ways to improve the arts within the school.                                          discipline, vision          can from the
                                                                                                                            world around
“Kids are always coming to me with program ideas and thinking about where their particular      and confidence              him, he also
                            art form can be best used,” says Mittleman. “I really appreciate
  “Schechter is Schechter’s students because they don’t take what they have                      that Schechter gives back. He
  an incredible for granted. They use their talents and creativity to better the                      gave me”              has biked more
                                                                                                                            than 400 miles
  place,” says               Inspired by students, the school is starting a new program
                                                                                                raising money for charity and once spent
                                                                                                every Saturday for five months building
  Mittleman.                 called ‘Arts for Change,’ where SSDSeU will have a different art   houses for economically distressed families
                             form go out into the community each month. She is particularly
 “The kids are               excited to help her students run a drama workshop at a school
                                                                                                with Habitat for Humanity.
                                                                                                Since graduating college, he has directed
so enthusiastic              in Newark.
                                                                                                and produced a music video (starring
                             The incredibly talented staff in the department helps deliver
 and so active.              the well-rounded arts curriculum. New multi-media teacher
                                                                                                Jillian Rudnitzky—class ’04), created a
                                                                                                production company that promotes the
They’re always               Jordon Herskowitz has his own one-man show and teaches
                                                                                                Fair Trade Fashion of,
                             students about marketing the arts by using tools like social
  working on                 media. Music teacher and Choir Director Joshua ehrlich, who
                                                                                                is currently advising the growth strategies
                                                                                                and Business plan writing for two charities.
  things they                studied at yale, started a Music Theory club which teaches
                                                                                                “I am now benefitting from the discipline,
                             students about reading notes, music composition and decoding
feel passionate              the language of music.                                             vision and confidence that Schechter gave
                                                                                                me,” Akselrad says.
    about.”                    The importance of learning about what goes on behind the
                               scenes of a production, how technology works with theater         “Ironically, the book The Mafia Manager
and marketing the arts is reflected in the multi-media and drama classes at Schechter. As       succinctly captures one of the best
innovative classes capture the boundless energy and creative ideas students put forth, a        lessons Schechter teaches as it continually
bright future lies ahead for the Arts Department and SSDSEU students.                           encourages its students to grow, but never
“Schechter is an incredible place,” says Mittleman. “The kids are so enthusiastic and so        lets them get too comfortable— the book
active. They’re always working on things they feel passionate about. The amount of thank        says: “There’s plenty of room at the top—
you notes I get on a daily basis is unbelievable.”                                              though never enough to sit down.”
                                               Arts at Schechter
 Upper School Faculty Spotlight: Sandra Charlap                                    Lower School Faculty Spotlight:
                        Art teacher and artist Sandra Charlap infuses
                                                                                    Cassie Krauss: Art for Decades
                        creative energy into everything she touches.                                Remember Mrs. Krauss’ end-of-
                        From local galleries who display her artwork                                the-year art show? If you’re a
                        to high-end department stores like Barneys                                  Schechter alumnus chances are
                        and Bendels, which sell her decorative                                      you experienced that moment
                        ceramics, Charlap’s artistry adds color and                                 of pride upon first seeing
                        beauty to everything. It’s no wonder she’s                                  your artwork decorating your
                        turned her small classroom at Solomon                                       elementary school’s walls.
                        Schechter into a safe, artistic haven where
                                                                                                   Two decades. That’s how long art
she uses art to inspire students’ creativity.
                                                                                                   teacher Cassie Krauss has worked
“I like to think that my room has become an outlet and a forum for                                 at Solomon Schechter, where
all different kinds of kids,” she says. “Some already have an affinity     she’s touched the lives of so many Schechter families
for art. Others like to be around that energy and learn about art in a     through her work in the art room. From the children to
different way. Some come in and are open to new experiences. I try         their parents and grandparents who have saved special
to have an expansive curriculum that satisfies all of these needs.”        art projects over the years, Krauss’ artistic enthusiasm has
                                                                           sparked creativity among the Schechter community for 20
To teach art is to learn art, and through Charlap’s thirst for constant
creativity she continues to enrich Schechter’s art curriculum with
input from her students, viewing her expectations in the art room          “My entire life is art,”      “I still have
as a collaborative effort.                                                 says Krauss, who first
                                                                           worked at the Cranford        students who tell
“I listen to them as they listen to me. There’s a lot of mutual
                                                                           campus before moving
respect. The work they’re doing is sophisticated and the ideas I’m
                                                                           to the Lower School in
                                                                                                         me they weren’t
putting out there are ideas on a college level and they’re always
hungry for more. I urge them to never limit themselves,” Charlap
                                                                           West Orange.                  feeling well but
says.                                                                      Though the art
                                                                           room is a place
                                                                                                         they knew it was
The mother of two ‘tween girls, Charlap studied illustration at New
york’s famed Parson School of Design. She is currently exploring
                                                                           where students are            an art day so they
                                                                           encouraged to unleash
the art of print making at Montclair State University. This is her third
year teaching art at the Upper School.
                                                                           their creative side and       had to come to
                                                                           explore out-of-the-           school.”
“I was a painter for 25 years but I was looking for something with         box thinking, Krauss
more continuity,” she says of her decision to begin teaching.              treats her classes like
“Schechter fits right into my life. The kids are phenomenal and            an academic subject. Art appreciation and art vocabulary
the parents are great. The whole experience has been incredibly            come first. Projects, painting and productivity fall into
amazing.”                                                                  place thereafter.
                                   An avid animal lover with two           “Every year I try to add some new things but keep
                                   dogs adopted from a shelter,            what’s tried and true. I’m anxious to keep projects in my
     “The kids are                 Charlap uses her talent to capture      curriculum that children are very successful in, so they feel
      phenomenal                   the essence of pets in custom
                                   watercolor portraits. Her work is
                                                                           good about themselves when they’re done,” says Krauss,
                                                                           whose staple projects include lessons on Picasso and an
   and the parents                 displayed on her website, www.          Andy Warhol cat series for first graders.
      are great.         
                                                                           The grandmother of four is a student herself, having taken
     The whole                     Comfortable in her classroom,
                                   she expresses the importance of
                                                                           watercolor classes for years. She hopes to soon display
                                                                           her work.
   experience has                  working with great equipment
                                                                           A graduate of Queens College with a Masters degree in
                                   and materials, noting that she
   been incredibly                 is always looking to expand and
                                                                           elementary Art from Brooklyn College, Krauss started her
                                                                           career as a third-grade teacher before exchanging the
     amazing.”                     upgrade in the art room.
                                                                           traditional classroom for the art room.
                                   “Kids find their self esteem and
                                                                           “This has been my dream job. I am surrounded in art.
self worth in so many different ways. I love to be able to have this
                                                                           Every year as I move on, I still love it. I still have students
art room for those kids who haven’t really found their place yet to
                                                                           who tell me they weren’t feeling well but they knew it was
find a way to express themselves. I love having a kid who comes in
                                                                           an art day so they had to come to school. That makes me
and says they aren’t a good artist – they’re my favorite kind. They
                                                                           feel really good about teaching. They love coming and I
walk away at the end thinking they can’t believe they made that.
                                                                           love seeing their progress. It’s very satisfying.”
That’s a total win for me.”

                      Class Notes: News From Our Alu mni
Class of 2009                                  Good luck in your studies!                    Mazel tov to Jessica Meier on her
                                                                                             engagement to Jason Werner.
Natali Naveh, a sophomore at Franklin          We recently enjoyed watching a PSA
Marshall College in lancaster, PA was          on girls and self image publicized by
quoted in a national news story by Jewish      Risa Kotek who works for The Creative
                                                                                             Class of 2001
Telegraphic Agency entitled, “Small Rural      Coalition.     We recently heard that Julie Bressman has
Colleges Catering to Growing Jewish            we_are/advocacy/watchwhatyouwatch/            gotten engaged to Andrew Kozumplik.
Populations”. Mazel Tov, Natalie, you did      default.asp                                   Mazel Tov!
us proud!

Kudos to Josh Cooper, a student at the         Class of 2004                                 Kudos to Ariel Fixler who recently
                                                                                             launched a matchmaking service, Sweet
University of Pennsylvania for his Israel      Mazal Tov to Joel Yavelberg on his recent     Fix Up, They had
advocacy in light of a humus protest           marriage to Hana Suberi over the summer.      their first mixer on Tuesday, November 9th
against Israel on campus. He was featured      yoel and hana are both elementary school      at Inc lounge with proceeds benefiting
in an article in the Philadelphia Jewish       teachers. yoel teaches in South Orange,       Autism Speaks.
Exponent. We love to see our alumni as         and Hana is teaches at Solomon Schechter
leaders in Israel advocacy on campus! Kol      in Marlboro.                                  Class of 2000
hakavod Josh!
                                                                                             The class of 2000 held a reunion in May.
                                               We recently heard that Shai Romirowsky        The reunion was organized by Lauren
Class of 2008                                  married Abigail Mintz in August. High         Mechaly and Jodi Lipka. Mazel Tov on 10
                                               school friends, Avi Spielman and Matt         years!
Ethan Chaleff has just received an award
                                               Engler were groomsmen at the wedding.
given to sophomores at the Case School of
                                               Mazel tov to Shai and Abigail!                We recently got word that Joshua
engineering at Case Western in Cleveland.
he maintained straight A’s for the first                                                     Reisberg is engaged to Rachel Carlton.
three semesters. Kol Hakavod Ethan!            Class of 2003                                 Mazel tov Joshua!

                                               We recently read an interesting article       Mazel Tov to Nathaniel Wershultz and his
Class of 2006                                  in the New york Times written by Jeff         wife, Rebecca on the birth of their son
We recently heard from Ben Herzberg,           Yoskowitz, entitled “In Israel, a Pork        Isaac Jacob who arrived in March.
a Princeton graduate, that he will be          Cookbook Challenges a Taboo”.
attending Imperial College and University                                                    Yonit Golub Sirkin recently made aliyah
College in london this year, to earn his       Mazel Tov to Tara Strogov on her recent       with Nefesh b’Nefesh. Until now, yonit
masters degree in the History of Science       engagement to Joshua Kipnees (Class of        was an advisor to Michael Bloomberg.
and Medicine. After London, Ben will           2002)!                                        Bloomberg says: “If she were leaving
attend Harvard University Medical School.                                                    for any other reason other than to make
Mazel Tov, Ben and keep up the hard work!      Mazel Tov to Mallory Goldberg on her          aliyah, I would be a little upset, I’m sure
                                               recent engagement to Mark Fisch.              yonit can do a lot of good things in Israel.”
Jasmine Marcus recently moved to                                                             Good luck, yonit!
Ashkelon, Israel and is working for a sports
radio station. She moved, together with                                                      We heard that Jennifer Bercovici recently
her boyfriend, who plays basketball for                                                      wed Farbod Shakouri. Mazel Tov!
Ashkelon’s team. She is dusting off her
Hebrew, and credits her Neshama trip for
her language skills, and her love of the
country. Enjoy Israel, Jasmine!

Class of 2005
The Class of 2005 had a reunion on July        Class of 2002
8 at the Willow lounge in NyC. We hear
it was a great event with 35 alumni in         Mazel Tov to Yael Offer on her marriage to
attendance! Everyone had a great time          Eli Sperling!
catching up with old classmates and
reminiscing about their time at Schechter      Mazel tov to Jared Hutter on his recent
and on Neshama.                                engagement!

We got word that Emily Gray and Miriam         Mazel Tov to Joshua Kipnees on his recent
Langer will be attending the Sackler           engagement to Tara Strogov (Class of 2003)!
School of Medicine in Ramat Aviv, Israel.
                       Class Notes: News From Our Alu mni
Mazal tov to Rena Kaufman on her               Akselrad. Claire is still taking wonderful      a new baby girl, Aliza Gavriela Pelavin.
engagement.                                    care of children at the Lower school as our     She joins her big sister Liora. The family is
                                               School nurse.                                   living in Teaneck and Rachel is serving as
                                                                                               Director of Education and Outreach for
Class of 1999                                                                                  Rabbis for Human Rights-North America.
Mazel Tov to Ethan Bortniker on his recent                                                     Mazel Tov!
engagement to Alexis Finkelberg.
                                                                                               Mazel tov to Meira Cohen who recently
Elyssa Folk Friedland and her husband                                                          was married!
William Friedland welcomed a daughter,
Lila Sophia in April. She joins big brother                                                    Mazel tov to Ari Levine was recently
Charlie. Mazel Tov to the growing                                                              engaged!
Friedland family!

Joshua Haber is living and working in Israel                                                   Class of 1996
at the Supreme Court as a law Clerk. Josh                                                      We recently heard that Dov Goldman and
took the time to meet with Neshama             Class of 1997                                   his wife Melanie welcomed a baby girl,
students and give a tour. Thanks Josh, and                                                     Bryce Autumn, in September. Bryce joins
keep up the good work!                         We recently heard that Dr. Rachel Pessah
                                               Pollack and her husband, David Pollack          her big sisters Sadie and Emery as the
                                                                                               newest edition to the Goldman family.
Class of 1998                                  welcomed daughter Hannah Zoe Pollack
                                                                                               Mazel tov!
                                               to their family. Baby Hannah is named
Mazel tov to Jason Wilf and Cori Rothkopf      after her great grandmother. Mazel Tov!
                                                                                               We recently heard that Carly (Appelbaum)
on their wedding in Massachusetts
                                               Mazel Tov to Anna Gershkovich Dulin and         Goldberg lives in Philadelphia, PA with
on Labor Day weekend. We heard
                                               her husband, Oleg on the birth of their son     her husband Michael Goldberg and their
from Lawrence Elbaum, Class of 1998,
                                               Rafael Lev! Rafael arrived in March.            3 1/2 year-old son Oren. Carly is a licensed
that many Schechter alumni were in
                                                                                               clinical social worker and is currently
attendance including: Eric Lester, Class
                                               Mazel Tov to Natalie Ovadia Elizarov and        pursuing a doctorate in social work at
of 1998, Jocelyn Levine Klar, Class of 2001
                                               her husband, Dave on the birth of their son     the University of Pennsylvania’s School
and Greg Klar, Class of 1998, Barry Levine,
                                               Donnie Joshua! Donnie arrived in March.         of Policy and Practice. Additionally, Carly
Class of 1998, Gonen Paradis, Class of
                                                                                               has founded and is the director of the
1998, David Pantirer, Class of 1999, Eliot
                                               We recently heard that Jenny Labendz            Women’s Collaborative Circle.
Pines, Class of 2007, Justin Pines, Class of
2001 Marc Pantirer, Class of 2001, Nikki       completed her PhD in Talmud from JTS this
                                               past May, after which she spent two months      Mazel Tov to Marc Majzner and wife
Pines Lieberman (2003) and her husband.
                                               in England as a visiting scholar at Oxford      Jennifer who welcomed twin baby boys,
and others.
                                               University. In the 2010-2011 academic year      Alex and Max in the spring!
                                               Jenny will be an adjunct professor at Barnard
                                               College and at JTS. On July 25th, Jenny
                                               married Zalman Newfield, a PhD candidate in
                                               sociology at NyU, and the happy couple now
                                               lives in Hoboken, NJ. Mazel Tov to Jenny on
                                               all the exciting news!

Mazel Tov to Aviva Akselrad Zierler and
her husband, David Zierler on the birth
of their daughter, Sadie Vella. Mazel tov      Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster and her
to proud grandparents Claire and Abe           husband Paul Pelavin recently welcomed

                      Class Notes: News From Our Alu mni
Rachael Goldman, having just completed       Mazel tov to Margie Skeer on her             Class of 1988
her dissertation on Color in Ancient         graduation from Harvard University
Roman Literature and Art, traveled           School of Public Health with a doctorate     We recently heard that Marc Leibowitz
around Sicily. She was very excited to see   in Public Health in May of 2010. She is      is the president of the Columbia Club of
Palermo, Segesta, Agrigento, Syracuse,       currently pursuing postdoctoral studies at   Northern NJ! It’s great to see our alumni
and Piazza Armerina. Since graduating        Brown University. Her area of specialty is   in leadership roles in the state!
from Schechter, Rachael has taught all       teen substance abuse prevention. Keep
over, was a Dean at Rutgers College,         up the good work, Margie!                    Mazel Tov to Jeremy Sokolic, and his wife
researched at the American Academy in                                                     Sarah, on the birth of their daughter,
Rome and is resuming her teaching at         We just heard that Jessica Gorbis Martin     Arianna Eden. Arianna joins big brothers
CUNy in the fall. She currently resides in   and her husband Eric Martin have             Isaiah and Coby. Jeremy also received the
Bradley Beach, NJ.                           welcomed their second son, Colby Jason.      first Distinguished Alumni Award at the
                                             Colby joins big brother, Spencer. Mazel      Great Auction Celebration in May. Mazel
                                             Tov to the growing Martin family!            Tov to the Sokolic family on all the good
                                                                                          Class of 1987
                                                                                          We recently heard that Seth Schwartz
                                                                                          and his wife, Alla have welcomed a new
                                                                                          baby. Baby Jonah was born in May and
                                                                                          joins older sister, Maya. Mazel Tov to the
                                                                                          Schwartz family!

                                                                                          Class of 1984
Mazel Tov to Jason Ben’Ous and his wife
                                             Class of 1993
                                                                                          We recently heard from Michael Safran,
Leslie who welcomed a baby boy in April!     We recently reconnected with Dr. Nadine      “As for me, I’ve been living and working in
                                             Cohen who is a physician in Teaneck. She     Australia for the past 10 years. I’m a well-
Mazel Tov to Alison Joseph and family        and her husband have a two year old          established food writer based in Sydney,
who welcomed a baby boy in July.             daughter named Madeline.                     and am the contributing editor foe
                                                                                          Australia’s largest food title, Master Chef
Mazel tov to Ryan Enis and his wife,         We recently heard from Daniel                Magazine. My more recent news is that
Alison Taylor, on this birth of their son    Schlossberg who graduated from Hofstra       I’ve been signed by the country’s largest
Cooper Reid.                                 School of Law on May 16, 2010. Mazel Tov     and oldest literary agency, Curtis Brown,
                                             Daniel!                                      and am currently in negotiations with
Class of 1995                                                                             publishers to produce my first cookbook”
Mazel Tov to Daniella Korman Weinberg        Class of 1992
and her husband Andrew on the birth of                                                    Class of 1983
baby Jesse Daniel in May.                    Mazel Tov to Gianine Rothschild
                                             Handwerker and her husband, Gavin on         We recently heard that Andrew Strauss
                                             the birth of their son Jacob Justin! Jacob   married to Katie Buckels in Michigan in
Class of 1994                                arrived in June.                             August. Mazel Tov!
We recently heard that Rabbi Tracy
Kaplowitz and her husband Jonathan
welcomed their second child, Jacob.
Mazel tov to Tracy and Jonathan, and new       The Class of 1992 had a gathering in the summer.
big sister Jordana!

                     Class Notes: News From Our Alu mni
 Other Class News
                                             From faculty member Laura Roth, “My
                                             daughter Rachel was in the very first nursery
                                             class with Anne Brown back in 1984. She
                                             was at Solomon Schechter through the
                                             eighth grade and she had a wonderful
                                             experience. Rachel is now a chief resident
                                             in family medicine at New york Beth Israel
                                             Hospital. Rachel loves being a doctor and
                                             this has been her dream since the third
                                             grade. My husband, Alan and I are so very
                                             proud of her.” (Pictured: Rachel and her
                                             brother Michael)

                                             Mazel tov to Danielle Schwartz and
                                             Jonathan Auerbach on their recent

The Wingens family on the loss of Marion    of Shira, (Class of 2006) and Jonathan,          School Director of Athletics Janet Herman
Wingens. Marion was the beloved sister of   (Class of 2009)                                  and grandfather of Rabbi Jason (Class of
Gary Wingens and aunt of Andrew (Class                                                       1995) and Dr. Richard (Class of 1996).
of 2010), Jonathan (Grade 8), and David     The family of Dr. Philip Brien, beloved
(grade 4).                                  father of Dr. Michael Brien and                  The Needle family on the loss of former
                                            grandfather of Keith (Grade 11), David           SSDSEU Board President Emanuel Needle,
The Gallin family on the death of Herbert   (Class of 2005), Alexandra (Class of 2007)       beloved father of Daniel (Class of 1985),
Gallin. Herbert was the beloved father of   and Samantha (Class of 2008)                     Joshua (Class of 1988) and former SSDSeU
Frederic Gallin and grandfather of Cindy                                                     students Brenda and William.
(Class of 2007) and emily (Class of 2010)   The family of Herbert Gallin, beloved
                                            father of Frederic Gallin and grandfather        The Jacobs/Kahn family on the loss of
The family of Shimon Rosenzweig,            of Cindy (Class of 2007) and emily (Class        Shirley Jacobs, beloved mother of Rhonda
beloved father of Lower School Judaic       of 2010)                                         Kahn and grandmother of Zachary (Class
Studies Teacher Shoshana Hadef and                                                           of 1996), Rebecca (Class of 1999) and Ilana
grandfather of Helena Hadef Amkraut         The family of Ruth Robinson, beloved             (Class of 2002).
(Class of 1984) and former students         mother of Russell Robinson and
Rommy Hadef and Avi Hadef.                  grandmother of Alyssa (Class of 2009)            Former Cranford lower School principal
                                                                                             and teacher, Janice Naldi on the loss of
The family of Noah Landis, beloved son of   The family of Rita Butensky, beloved             her mother harriet Childers.
erica Kornspan landis (Class of 1986) and   mother of Dr. Arthur Butensky and
Hal Landis, and adored nephew of Darren     grandmother of Daniel (Class of 2004),           The Vinacour family of the loss of
Kornspan (Class of 1985)                    Adam (Class of 2008) and former student          Abraham Vinacour, beloved father of
                                            Rachel.                                          Mia Vinacour Gerstel (Class of 1990) and
The family of David Twersky, beloved                                                         former student Rebecca Vinacour.
father of former students Michael and       The Miller/Spinat family on the loss of
Anna Twersky.                               Gilda Spinat’s mothers and grandmother
                                            of yael Miller, Bess Ingall Spiro, who was                          Our school
The family of Mary Eig, beloved mother of   in her 100th year.                                                  mourns the
Cynthia Geller and grandmother of Jessica
                                            Gil Raviv (Class of 1988) and father Dan                            loss of friend
Zimbard (Class of 1998), and Adam Geller.
                                            Raviv on the loss of their beloved mother                           and school
The family of David Kempinski, beloved      and wife Adina.                                                     benefactor
husband of Eva Kempinski and father of                                                                          Eric F. Ross.
Sol Kempinski (Class of 1980)               The Fliegelman/Warm family on the loss
                                            of Evelyn Warm, beloved mother of Janet                             We wish
The family of Jane Appelbaum, beloved       Warm Fliegelman and grandmother of J.J.                             condolences
mother of Carly Appelbaum (Class of         (Class of 2007), Oren (Grade 11) and Mindy          to his children Barbara
1996)                                       (Grade 10).
                                                                                                Bermann and Peter Ross and
The family of Walter L. Hecht, beloved      The Herman/Rich family on the loss of               his seven grandchildren.
father of Michael Hecht and grandfather     Joseph Rich, beloved father of Upper

                                                                15                                  We apologize for any errors or omissions.
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Alumni Newsletter of Solomon Schechter
Day School of Essex and Union.

SSDSEU is accredited by the NJ
Association of Independent Schools
and is a beneficiary agency of United
Jewish Communities of MetroWest
NJ. It is affiliated with the Jewish
Federation of Central NJ, the Solomon
Schechter Day School Association, and
United Synagogue of Conservative
Judaism, NJ Region.

Upper School
Eric F. Ross Campus
1418 Pleasant Valley Way
West Orange, NJ 07052
(973) 602-3600
Lower School
Irving Laurie Building
122 Gregory Avenue
West Orange, NJ 07052
(973) 602-3700                                                 — ALUMNI PARENTS —
Stephanie Bash-Soudry
                                              If you are receiving this newsletter addressed to your children
Director of Development                             at your home address, please email us their current
& Alumni Relations
Donna Oshri                                               mailing addresses to
Director of Marketing
& Communications                                       Thank you for helping us to stay connected!
Jessica Glicker
Alumni Newsletter Writer
Rebecca Kestenbaum
Development Associate/                      SSDSEU ON FACEBOOK                 Keep in touch!
Alumni Newsletter Writer
                                             SSDSEU has its very own
Joseph Bier
Chair, Board of Trustees
                                             Alumni Facebook Page!            What’s happening in your life?
Dr. Joyce Raynor                                                               Marriage? A promotion? A new job?
Head of School                                    Find us on Facebook:
Julia R. Malaga                                                                     Moved to a new region?
Chief Financial Officer                     Solomon-Schechter Day School       Honors and awards? New degree?
Nancy Leaderman                             of Essex and Union Alumni and        New additions to your family?
Upper School Principal
                                              tell us how you’re doing on
Gloria Kron
Lower School Principal
                                            the ‘What have you been up to?’       Keep us posted!
                                                    discussion board.              Fill out the web form
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comments and suggestions by sending an                                              or send an e-mail to
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