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April 2018 : Nisan 5778 3 AMIT alums—the great minds of Brainsway Ulpanat Anna Teich’s diversity & drive to succeed How AMIT turned around once-struggling Sderot

When the Sderot municipality realized that a radical change was needed for its schools, it looked for an educational network that would raise the bar and offer the city’s children the tools for a better future. Read the full story on p. 7



05 President’s Message 06 Executive VP’s Impressions 07 Success in Sderot! 10 The AMIT brains behind Brainsway 14  A MIT Anna Teich Ulpanat Haifa’s diversity & excellence

18 The X Factor: A 9th-grader’s math odyssey 20 G oing for Golda: A Q&A with Francine Klagsbrun

24 Chef’s Special: Alon Shaya’s new cookbook 26 AMIT highlights & successes 28 Obituary: Micheline Ratzersdorfer, z”l 29 Dvar Torah by Rabbi Roy Feldman 30 Development news 40  A MIT and LaHaV: Jewish education meets the 21st century Signed articles do not necessarily represent the opinion of the organization. Reproduction of any material requires permission and attribution.

President Debbie Moed Executive Vice President Andrew Goldsmith Director General Dr. Amnon Eldar Vice President, Marketing & Communications Naomi Max

Chair, Marketing & Communications Cara Kleiman Director of Marketing & Communications Shelley Labiner Editor Anat Rosenberg Design Michael Shirey

AMIT enables Israel’s youth to realize their potential, and strengthens Israeli society by educating and nurturing children from diverse backgrounds within a framework of academic excellence, religious values and Zionist ideals. AMIT is an acronym for “Irgun Mitnadvot L’Ma’an Yisrael V’Torata” (organization of volunteers for Israel and her Torah) Visit us online at AMIT Magazine (ISSN 1085-2891) is published biannually, fall and spring, by AMIT. AMIT national office: 817 Broadway, New York, NY 10003 1.800.989.AMIT or 212.477.4720 Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and additional mailing offices.


POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: AMIT 817 Broadway, New York, NY 10003


What will be your legacy? Nothing ensures the growth and endurance of the State of Israel more than its children. They are the guardians of the future of the Jewish people. Create your AMIT legacy by including AMIT in your estate plans. The seeds of your generosity will grow forever. Become our partner in developing Israel’s youth and nurturing the leaders of tomorrow by exploring the giving options available to you. We will work with you to find a charitable plan that lets you provide for your family and will also impact thousands of young lives, fulfilling their dreams and the promise of a better tomorrow. These children—their hope, their promise and their future—will be your legacy.

BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS Not everyone wants to commit to making a gift in their wills or estates. Some prefer the increased flexibility that a beneficiary designation provides by using:

• IRAs and retirement plans

• Life insurance policies

• Commercial annuities

It only takes three simple steps to make this type of gift. Here’s how to name AMIT as a beneficiary: • Contact your retirement plan administrator, insurance company, bank or financial institution for a change-of-beneficiary form. • Decide what percentage (1 to 100) you would like us to receive and name us, along with the percentage you chose, on the beneficiary form. • Return the completed form to your plan administrator, insurance company, bank or financial institution.

Control Your AMIT Legacy It is wise to consult with your tax professionals if you are contemplating a charitable gift under the extended law. Please feel free to contact Robin Isaacson at 954.922.5100 or with any questions you may have.




hat do a young Israeli fashion designer, Bedouin teenage computer-science prodigy, the president of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, high-tech entrepreneurs, and an Israeli Nobel Prize winner have in common? They all appeared at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Leadership Mission in Jerusalem to showcase how far Israel has come in the last 70 years, and to discuss what we can anticipate for its future. Each panelist’s story was inspiring in its own right, but together they served to confirm what AMIT has known for nearly 95 years: that to build the State of Israel and ensure that our students are prepared to compete on the international stage, we must be at the forefront of educational innovation, providing our teachers with the training and skills to guide each student, from every segment of Israeli society, to live up to his or her maximum potential. Using the advanced pedagogical methods they learn at AMIT’s Gogya training center, our teachers lead by example and create change in their schools, whether that means using toys to make physics fun as teacher Rachela Turgeman does at Yeshivat AMIT Ashdod, or serving as inspirational figures who make a lasting impact on students, such as literature teacher Miri Westreich and Rabbi Yoni Difni from Yeshivat AMIT Kfar Ganim. They both were selected by former students, who are now Israel Air Force pilots, as the most influential people in their lives. Throughout the network, AMIT teachers are collaborating with one another to ensure that their students are equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century. They recently launched a “cyber community” to share teaching best practices and find new ways of encouraging students to pursue cyber and other leading-edge subjects.

AMIT teachers and principals across the country also motivate their students to take part in robotics, math, physics, and engineering programs. They know that these activities foster great cooperation and teamwork among their students— critical skills for the future—and they are reaping the rewards: In January alone, seven AMIT schools came in first place in various categories of regional robotics competitions, and four AMIT teams are representing Israel at international robotics competitions to be held in Estonia and the Netherlands. Each of these teams had to build, program, and test an autonomous robot that would tackle a real-world problem related to water, and they came up with some ingenious ideas, including a paddleboat that collects pollutants from lakes and rivers while those operating it take a leisurely cruise. In other words, these children are gaining the tools and expertise required to truly make the world a better place. Young women at AMIT schools are empowered to break the glass ceiling as well. AMIT Kiryat Malachi Jr. and Sr. High School girls won first place in a recent national mathematical thinking competition, beating out 27 other schools, and a student from Ulpanat AMIT Anna Teich, featured in the pages of this magazine for its academic excellence and diversity, is one of 100 girls taking part in an “engineers of the future” program run by Israel Aerospace Industries. Thanks to the AMIT education they are receiving, these children are not only going to be the engineers of the future, they are going to be the scientists, doctors, programmers, entrepreneurs, and—who knows?—maybe even the Nobel Prize winners of the future. I, for one, can’t wait to find out what the future holds for them. Wishing you all a Chag Pesach Sameach!




t’s not uncommon for me to come away from a visit to Israel inspired to do more. Nothing is more compelling to the AMIT cause than meeting our students and staff, witnessing their challenges, and celebrating their successes In many cases, long-term relationships develop between students and supporters. Perhaps it is the knowledge that we’re part of something amazingly altruistic and wholesome, of something bigger than ourselves, or the joy of knowing we have accomplished something measurable and meaningful. Whatever it is, it is the secret of our success. To that end, we’re proud of the “living bridge” we’ve built (and continue to strengthen) between the AMIT diaspora and Israel. There is a steady stream of AMIT supporters visiting our schools, following up on past dedications, and learning more about our impact on Israel’s next generation through what’s next. I urge all to call us before your next visit to Israel and share the simcha. What is rarer, though, is to experience that same inspiration on this side of the ocean. At a recent meeting of our Southeast Region Council—AMIT lay leaders in Florida who work tirelessly for the children of Israel—that’s the gift I was given. The council decided to raise funds to dedicate the auto mechanics workshop at the Elaine Silver Technological High School in Beersheva. AMIT’s technological high schools equip students with real-life skills that allow them to have more meaningful IDF service and, most important, good-paying jobs. Employment, after all, is the key to transforming the lives of those from underprivileged areas. For Evelyn Ellenbogen, a longtime AMIT supporter, such skills have special meaning. A kind-hearted and soft-spoken woman, Evelyn


asked to address the council. Evelyn shared her motivation for giving beyond her normal means for this AMIT project. In her words: “So now you may be asking, Where did my interest in auto mechanics come from? During the war, my dear late husband, Alfi, a Holocaust survivor, was in a slave labor camp named Transnistria. He was 14 years old; his formal education was interrupted. He hung around the garage where the Jeeps and trucks belonging to the Germans were being repaired. Talk about on-the-job training—it was the secret to his survival. He was given scraps of food which he shared with family members. He also had the opportunity to “trim” the edges of the rubber floor mats from the vehicles and could make insoles for his torn shoes and those of others. Alfi, the auto mechanic, eventually became a mechanical engineer and served with distinction in the IDF. He always remembered those dark days, and instilled in our family the idea to enable others who can benefit from mechanical training.” She then warmly urged others to join her with whatever means they could afford to “pave the road to success for kids whose future is in our hands.” The Haggadah teaches us that we were divinely taken out of Egypt as a people destined to become a nation. We were brought out together “with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm and with a great manifestation and with signs and wonders.” Wonders refers both to heaven and earth. A 14-year-old boy survives the Holocaust because he can fix cars. Rather than become bitter, he uses that same skill to live a life modeling ideals and values that ultimately inspire those closest to him to help another generation of boys he never knew have an opportunity to succeed. The wonders are still all around us. Chag Kasher V’Samaech.

Success in Sderot! In just over a decade, AMIT has made a community-wide impact on this periphery town that had been struggling



n the second night of this past Hanukkah, just as AMIT students in Sderot were presenting a scientific experiment they had researched to a panel of judges, an air-raid siren blared, warning of an incoming rocket from Gaza. Everyone in the room took cover, and soon after an Israeli missile intercepted the rocket. Miraculously, no one was hurt, even though rocket remnants were found on the school grounds the next day. Sderot, a city in southern Israel that is less than a mile from the Gaza Strip, has grown accustomed to the sirens and rockets, which have killed a number of Israelis, wounded dozens, and caused millions of dollars in damage. These attacks have profoundly disrupted daily life in Sderot. Studies have shown that the sirens and explosions have caused severe psychological trauma in some residents and some 75% of children under 18 in Sderot suffer from post-traumatic stress, including sleeping disorders and severe anxiety. So how is it that the schools in Sderot are improving

and the children are thriving? The one-word answer is AMIT. However, it is a much more complicated story. The Sderot municipality asked the AMIT network to take over the management of all eight schools in the city in 2006. At the time, several of the schools were failing their students and the community, and many families left Sderot for other cities with better high schools. Today, it’s a markedly different story. Bagrut (matriculation exam) rates are soaring, students are learning STEM, robotics, cybersecurity, art and music, and are winning all types of competitions. Partnerships between the schools and local tech companies (now a regular part of the landscape) are flourishing. In just a dozen years, AMIT has made a significant educational and community-wide impact in a periphery town that was previously struggling. Recently, I visited three schools in Sderot—AMIT HaRoeh, an elementary school, AMIT Sderot Recontinued on page 8


continued from page 7 ligious Jr. and Sr. High School, and AMIT Sderot Gutwirth, a secular high school. What stood out the most at HaRoeh elementary school was the enthusiasm of the principal and teachers. HaRoeh’s student body had dwindled to 65 kids and was almost closed five years ago. Now there are 260 kids in 1st through 6th grades with two classes per grade. The students hail from diverse religious, secular, and socioeconomic backgrounds, and the school accepts everyone. How did this happen? The principal told me that he empowered the teachers to change the school, and that is just what they did. For example, the art teacher turned the drab hallways into beautiful murals and the math teacher added multiplication tables to each step on the many staircases in the school. On the day I visited, the children were celebrating Tu B’Shevat with dried fruits and other tasty treats while learning about its significance in Jewish history. The joy emanating from students and educators alike was palpable, which is quite impressive considering that the children live and learn under the constant stress of possible attacks. To help them



The joy emanating from students and educators was palpable, which is impressive considering they live and learn under the constant stress of possible attacks. cope, the school provides them with art, sports, and animal therapy and teachers receive therapy as well. In addition, all the school buildings are bomb proof so that the students’ daily studies will not be affected each time a siren blares. English lessons begin in the 1st grade and the teachers have created four different lesson plans designed to teach based on the children’s needs. The school is a pioneer for the AMIT pedagogical system in Sderot with the teachers and principal determining the best way to implement the Gogya approach. Some of the classrooms have been transformed into Gogya-style classrooms, with soothing colors and new furniture. I was fascinated watching 4th grade students working on their individual robotics projects. In 3rd through

5th grades, the school offers an excellence program and has a partnership with Amdocs, a leading software company with a campus in the area. Students visit Amdocs weekly and learn advanced English and computer programming. The school has also created a partnership with Sapir College in Sderot, in which the children learn to write newsletters and papers. Sderot has been attracting more high-tech companies and the impact of better employment opportunities is noticeable. Everything I observed, from the way teachers are empowered to make change to the Gogya method of teaching is very impressive. In fact, HaRoeh recently was awarded the Education Ministry’s prize for outstanding education at a religious school. Need I say more?

bagrut rate and volunteerism is a core requirement to graduate. In fact, the students created a program called Café Gutwirth, which helps the elderly in Sderot with shopping, delivery of packages, and offers companionship. A few other noteworthy programs include the robotics program in partnership with the Elbit corporation and the SYL, senior young leadership program, in which girls study a few afternoons a week at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheva.

I also spent some time visiting the religious junior and senior high school, where there are four tracks—a yeshiva for boys, religious high school for boys, an ulpana, the equivalent of a yeshiva for girls, and a religious high school for girls. I met with some of the girls who are participating in the FTC—First Tech Challenge, a competitive robotics program. “It opened my eyes to new possibilities,” said Zeva, who takes part in the program. “Now I know I want to do something in high-tech.” Two boys who participate in the Space Lab program at school made it to the national finals, and they hope their experiment wins the chance to head to NASA and ultimately into space. Both boys were so excited by the prospect; one said the program has inspired him to become a scientist, while the other wants to be an engineer. The entire school (640 students) has an overall 88% bagrut graduation rate, with 40% of the student body studying math at 4/5 bagrut levels and 60% at 4/5 English bagrut levels. Next, I visited AMIT Gutwirth, the secular high school, one of 11 schools in Israel recognized for educational excellence. Years ago, the school was quite average, classes were all taught in a frontal presentation manner, and there was a dearth of STEM and advanced courses; now it has a 90%

Before AMIT took over the management of the Sderot school system in 2006, the municipality realized that a radical change was needed. It looked for an educational network that would raise the bar and offer Sderot’s children the tools for a better future. Thanks to AMIT, parents in Sderot want their children to attend a local school. With all the advanced courses in biotech, computers, engineering, robotics, and the arts, AMIT is leading the educational revolution in Sderot and beyond. Shelley Labiner is director of marketing & communications at AMIT.



Brainsway is changing the lives of people with depression—and three of the great intellects behind it were classmates at AMIT Ginsburg Bar Ilan 10


he revolutionary Israeli medical technology company Brainsway, a leader in the non-invasive treatment of brain disorders, capped off 2017 by breaking its quarterly earnings record and raising $8.5 million from Israeli investors. Brainsway’s unique, patented technology is used to treat major depressive disorder in pa-

Three of the great minds behind Brainsway— CEO Yaacov Michlin, and two of the company’s founding scientists, Professor Abraham Zangen and Dr. Yiftach Roth—were classmates at the AMIT school known for its strong emphasis on the sciences. Michlin, who took the helm of Brainsway in April 2017, has spent a decade creating and promoting Israeli startups and introducing their technology to a global audience. But he got his first real taste of science and technology when he entered junior high school. Born in Moscow, Michlin and his parents immigrated to Israel when he was 2 and settled in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak. He attended a religious elementary school, where he excelled, and when it came time to pick a middle school, Michlin became the only one from his peer group not to attend a yeshiva.

tients who have not responded to traditional medical treatment. Called Deep TMS, or deep transcranial magnetic stimulation, the device, which resembles a helmet that patients wear, applies brief magnetic pulses to the brain using an electromagnetic coil (the H coil). Those pulses stimulate nerve cells in the targeted area of the brain, working to alleviate the symptoms of depression and other disorders. To date, 20,000 patients, primarily in the United States, have been treated for depression using the company’s technology, and Brainsway is working to expand its use to treat other conditions including obsessive-compulsive disorder and addiction. In other words, the company aims to improve the lives of countless people around the world— and the seed for Brainsway was planted at AMIT Ginsburg Bar Ilan Gush Dan Jr. and Sr. High School for Boys.

“I specifically selected AMIT Bar Ilan because of their emphasis on sciences and computers that I really liked at that time,” said Michlin. “I was the only one from my school who went to AMIT, and it required me to go to school by bus, but I didn’t mind.” Milchin, now 48, said that what he most appreciated about the school was its approach to education. “The learning community there was productive and open, and there was no pressure,” he said. “That laid the foundation for taking initiative and flexible thinking—it was excellent.” He added that students were given the freedom to pursue the subjects that most interested them, and he remembers the teaching staff as outstanding, which helped inspire the students and motivated them to aim high. (That positive impression stayed with Michlin for so long that his two sons continued the AMIT tradition, attending Yeshivat AMIT Amichai in Rehovot.) continued on page 12


The company aims to improve the lives of countless people around the world—and the seed for Brainsway was planted at AMIT Ginsburg Bar Ilan Gush Dan Jr. and Sr. High School for Boys.

continued from page 11

Abraham Zangen and Yiftach Roth were in the same grade as Michlin, but they were in the school’s biotechnology program, which was considered a trailblazing course back then—so much so that an AMIT newspaper at the time ran a feature on it and pictured Zangen and a friend holding a test tube. “We were pioneers at that time in the 1980s in such a program,” said Zangen. Zangen, 48, knew even then, in the mid-1980s, that he wanted to be a scientist. Yet it was only in his senior year, after reading “Body and Mind: The Psycho-Physical Problem” by renowned philosopher and scientist Yeshayahu Leibowitz, that he decided to zero in on the human brain. After graduating in 1987, the classmates went their separate ways. Michlin became an officer in the Israel Defense Forces’ elite Unit 8200, which has been called “probably the best school for entrepreneurship in the world, spawning hundreds of game-changing tech startups.” Michlin took a break from technology after the army, pursuing law and economics at university before becoming a commercial lawyer, mainly for Teva, Israel’s pharmaceutical giant.


Zangen, meanwhile, went into the Atuda program, which allows participants to defer army service and attend university to pursue an undergraduate degree—in his case, a bachelor’s in pharmacology at Hebrew University. Zangen later earned his master’s and Ph.d., which focused on the mechanism by which antidepressant medications work, and went on to do a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. “During that time, I started to be interested in how electrical stimulation of specific brain regions can affect behavior related to addiction,” he said. Zangen found that stimulating sites in the brain’s reward system induced behavioral changes. When he began working on the early incarnation of the electromagnetic coil that today is at the heart of Brainsway’s technology, he realized he needed a physicist to help him refine the concept. He reached out to his old classmate Dr. Roth, in Israel, who by then had become his brother-in-law. Once Zangen and Roth perfected the coil and the NIH realized its great potential, the agency patented the coil in 2002 and a year later, it granted Brainsway, then a startup, the exclusive license to the technology.

As Brainsway continued to grow in the following years, Michlin would receive an invitation to return to Israel’s burgeoning hightech and startup scene as the president and CEO of Yissum, Hebrew University’s technology transfer company. “For me, this was a great step into the business world,” said Michlin, “because it was a bridge between scientific aspects, commercial aspects, legal aspects. In my eight years at Yissum, we created 120 startups and two investment funds— one in biotech and one in agriculture.” Michlin took on that role in 2009, and spent the next eight years creating and promoting Israeli startups and disseminating their technology internationally. He joined Brainsway as a board member in 2015, and when the company launched a search for a new CEO the following year, Michlin was an obvious choice. “The reason that I came to Brainsway is, first of all, because I highly believe in the company, but also because the scientific founders of Brainsway both studied with me at AMIT Bar Ilan,” he said.

L-R: Michlin, Roth, and Zangen

Two months after Michlin became CEO, Brainsway announced positive results in a multi-center study on the use of Deep TMS for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder, and filed for FDA approval to market the device for OCD this year. Brainsway also has its eye on tackling post-traumatic stress disorder, bi-polar disorder, smoking cessation, and addiction to everything from alcohol to opioids. Zangen, who currently heads the brain stimulation and behavior lab at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev, and Roth, Brainsway’s chief scientist, continue to work on applying their technology to other conditions, and are testing 14 different configurations of the electromagnetic coil. Zangen’s hope is that Deep TMS will become the leading treatment for psychological and neurological disorders, and that it will be the preferred treatment over medication in the not-so-distant future. While the scientists who got their start at AMIT Bar-Ilan’s biotechnology program are hard at work finding additional potential uses for their cutting-edge innovation, their old classmate Michlin is hard at work bringing it to the global marketplace and is looking to expand Brainsway’s presence in Europe, China, and other parts of Asia. “The nice thing about Brainsway is that we are dealing with cutting-edge technology, we are really helping the patients, and we are really helping the world,” said Michlin. “The company is growing, and the future is ahead of us.”


SQUAD GOALS The girls at AMIT Anna Teich Ulpanat Haifa come from vastly diverse backgrounds, but they all share a strong drive to succeed BY MICHELE CHABIN


AIFA – Maayan Nagosa, a 17-year-old senior at AMIT Anna Teich Ulpanat Haifa, already has the next few years of her life planned out. “First I’ll serve in the army and then I want to study law,” said Nagosa, who was born in Israel to parents who immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia. Seated next to her in a cozy grouping of chairs in the corridor, Nagosa’s friend Noga Ben-Ari, also 17 and Israeli-born, said she hopes to be accepted to the Technion—Israel’s equivalent of MIT—after completing her army service. Their friend Rebecca Naze, also 17, who moved to


Israel from France when she was 10, has her heart set on being a doctor. “I’m preparing by taking 5-point biology,” Naze said, clearly proud, referring to the highest level of Israeli matriculation exams. These students come from vastly different backgrounds but share a strong drive to succeed thanks to the years they have spent at the ulpana, or religious girls’ high school. Established in 1967 and part of the AMIT network since 1995, the Modern Orthodox school is known for its emphasis on math and science achievement, and for the fact that for the past few years, 98 to 100 percent of its students have passed their matriculation exams.

That’s a remarkable achievement for any school, but especially an Orthodox girls’ school with no entrance exams that accepts students from a wide range of academic and socioeconomic backgrounds. The 250 students who study in the ulpana’s middle school and high school come from all sectors of Israeli society. “On the one hand, we have girls from wealthy families, the daughters of scientists at the Technion, high-tech employees at IBM and Rafael, and doctors at Rambam hospital. On the other hand, we have girls whose parents clean houses or are unemployed,” said Moriah Shapira, the new principal, who took the helm last August, as she gave a tour of the school, which is distributed over nine – yes, nine – floors. “Welcome to Haifa, where you get a lot of exercise,” she quipped. This ulpana’s high level of diversity is “fairly unique,” Shapira said, even for Haifa, a city in northern Israel with an unusually diverse population. Regardless of a student’s home life, “when a student arrives at school we look for her strengths and address her weaknesses,” Shapira said. “Does she excel in art or music? Does she love literature? At the same time, we examine where she is in English, math, and science and help her fulfill her potential.”

only for the top 1 percent but the ones in the middle, too,” Kaplan said. Rotem Mattias, 16, said she hasn’t always been a stellar student, but that the school has helped her improve. “I’ve always been accepted for who I am, even when I had some behavioral problems,” she said with a sheepish smile. “When I asked for help in math and English I received it. And I’m a better student because of it.” The Leading Women to the Technion program, for example, exposes many of the school’s girls to Israel’s booming high-tech and science sectors as a way to encourage them to pursue careers in these fields. “We’re so lucky to be located in Haifa, because the program sends students on field trips to places like Rambam Hospital and Philips,” a leading electronics company, Kaplan noted. continued on page 16

Principal Moriah Shapira

In addition to their pedagogic duties, all of the school’s homeroom teachers devote two hours per week to one-on-one meetings with their students. “The teachers are like coaches. They ask, ‘What are you having difficulty with?’ Once this is known, they are able to build an individualized program to help the student progress,” Shapira said. Tami Kaplan, the school’s pedagogic coordinator, said the teachers “don’t give up on any student.” The school offers tutoring for struggling students and enrichment programs “not


continued from page 15 Danielle Lavie, a 10th-grader at the ulpana, has been in the Technion program since 7th grade. “My father was a professor at the Technion for many years and I know he’s had a meaningful career, the kind I want for myself. Being in the program has exposed me to different scientific subjects and given me the confidence that I can succeed,” Lavie said. The 10th to 12th graders at Ulpanat Amit Haifa have access to on-site biology, physics, and computer labs, facilities most Israeli high schools don’t offer. Although the principal is justly proud of her school’s high level of science and math courses, she plans to introduce more humanities courses within the year. “When you study Jewish and world history, philosophy and literature you end up developing


tolerance and become acquainted with other points of view,” Shapira said. “It helps you develop your own values.” Jewish values are at the center of life at the school, as they are throughout the AMIT network, but students and teachers are given the space to express them in ways that are meaningful to them. Although the school is Orthodox, everyone realizes that there is a “rainbow of observance” within Orthodox parameters,” said 12th grade homeroom school teacher Tzlil Shilemay. “There is an openness at this school that you don’t find in other religious girls’ high schools. There is room to ask questions,” Shilemay said. Bracha Enat, the school’s security advisor, said Ulpanat AMIT Haifa serves all the religious Zionist communities in the area, both in Haifa and beyond. “Our goal is that the girls will feel that Judaism is their home and not just something they inherited

from their parents. Today’s generation is searching for meaning and we want them to discover Judaism’s beauty and relevance to the world they’re living in,” Enat said. Students are required to perform many hours of volunteer service in the community, including visits to a nearby old-age home. They also undertake chesed projects. For example, on their own initiative, they recently raised money to buy heaters to keep needy Holocaust survivors warm during the winter.

AMIT keeps us five steps ahead of where education in Israel is today. Every Sunday (the first day of the work week in Israel), the students attend an assembly that tackles a particular issue. “The discussion could be about the best way to perform volunteer work or a more serious issue, like cutting classes,” Liat Mark, the school’s social coordinator, explained. “Not long ago the cousin of one of our students spoke to the girls about what it is like to have a disability. “There is much more to life than book learning,” Mark said. Shapira said she and her team of educators receive much of their inspiration from the AMIT network. “It’s a supportive community, like being part of a family. They keep us five steps ahead of where education in Israel is today. They’re at the cutting edge of educational innovation.” With the assistance of AMIT’s Gogya training center, Shapira is planning to transform the school’s dated library into a much more welcoming experiential learning center where groups of students from different classes will be able to work together and explore ideas in a non-traditional setting. “It will be an area where we can learn,” Shapira said, walking through the library, which was empty save

for the librarian. “The idea of Gogya is to break down the traditional structure of the classroom, to be creative, and teach differently.” Instead of teaching frontally in the library, teachers will help students tackle a topic by directing them to resources and encouraging them to do independent research. “Let’s say we want to learn about liberty. Fifty girls can research together in groups to study the laws related to liberty and discover which nations have liberty, and the limits of liberty. We want learning to be interesting and fun,” Shapira said. The ulpana’s reputation for excellence and warmth also attracts girls from outside the city. Lior Weissman, 15, said she travels quite a long distance from a Haifa suburb to attend the ulpana because it “feels like a family to me.” Standing in the hallway during a break between classes, Weissman said that “everyone is so accepting. Plus, we have a strong connection with the community center next door, where we volunteer with the new immigrant families from Ethiopia and Russia.” Michal Shpitzer, 16, said she appreciates the ulpana even more following the year she spent at a different school. “I returned to the ulpana because the level of learning and the conditions at the other school weren’t as high as they are here,” Shpitzer said. “And I’m not only talking about the classes. Have you been to the ulpana’s bathrooms? They’re clean!” The school’s high standards, whether educational or hygenic “says the teachers care about us and we feel it,” Shpitzer said. Michele Chabin, an award-winning journalist based in Israel, is a frequent contributor to AMIT magazine.


9th-grade whiz Niv Peleg is among the prodigies taking part in Odyssey, a university-level program focusing on math and cyber studies


srael takes great pride in its reputation as “StartUp Nation” and its culture of innovation. Yet as Dan Senor, co-author of the book “Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle,” once said, “a key lesson from Israel is that innovation is not just something that goes on inside companies; it comes from a wider culture that fosters both innovation and entrepreneurship.” More and more, that culture can be found in Israel’s educational system, including the AMIT network, which encourages students to focus on STEM subjects, as well as in extracurricular programs that work to nurture gifted and talented students, particularly in math, science, and technology fields. One of those students is Niv Peleg, a 9th-grade student at AMIT Gwen Straus Jr. and Sr. Science High School for Boys, who is on the national team for youth mathematics and is also enrolled in a program in which he takes high-level courses in math and computer programming at the university. The program, called Odyssey, is a joint initiative run by the Maimonides Fund’s Future Scientists Center with the Education Ministry’s department for gifted and talented students and the National Cyber Bureau within the Prime Minister’s Office. It was originally the brainchild of former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, and it aims to foster a new generation of Israeli leaders in the fields of science and technology.


Peleg is certainly up for the challenge. “If it were easy, I wouldn’t be doing this,” he said of his participation in Odyssey, which requires him to attend 10 hours of class at Tel Aviv University, do 15 to 20 hours of homework per week, and take exams—and that’s in addition to his regular school work. “I really enjoy mathematics, and thinking about problems for days until I solve them,” he said. Peleg’s gift for math has been apparent since the 5th grade, when he and his family were living in California and his father was among the many Israelis working in Silicon Valley. That’s when he first took part in a mathematical Olympiad and was a member of his school’s math club. After he finished 7th grade, Peleg’s family moved back to Israel, where he chose to enroll at AMIT Gwen Straus, in the science and technology track, because he heard the school was strong in math and the sciences. Last year, when he was in the 8th grade, Peleg signed up for a math competition at the school, where he saw fliers for the Odyssey program and similar extracurricular activities. He decided to apply—a process that entails submitting the application and a recommendation and taking several rounds of tests—and was accepted.

“We take the bagrut material to a higher level,” said Peleg, who at this point sees himself deferring military service for a year in order to obtain a degree. “We solve questions and problems that are much more complex and require more outof-the-box thinking.” Peleg’s participation in Odyssey takes up a great deal of his time—so much so that he said he hardly has any time to do his schoolwork. “I do my homework during breaks, and I barely study for my exams, but thank G-d my grades are good.” He also said that his teachers at Gwen Straus, especially his math and computer teachers, are extremely supportive of his participation in Odyssey, and even allow him to leave class so that he has extra time to devote to his homework for the program. At the same time, they also see beyond his academic excellence and commend him for his inner strength and Jewish values.

He is a wonderful student in math, but above all he is a wonderful person, friend, and ben Torah. Peleg recently completed his first semester of the program, focusing on mathematics and cyber. This year, he and his classmates are learning discrete mathematics, the Python programming language, computer communications, and also about subjects like Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Participation in Odyssey continues through 12th grade, and also includes workshops and intensive seminars during vacations. Students who take part acquire knowledge, research skills, and the ability to deal with complex problems, while accumulating academic credit. They can choose to defer army service for one year and continue the program in order to complete their undergraduate degree.

“Niv returned to Israel after almost nine years in America, when he was in 8th grade, which is not an easy feat and yet he integrated into the class beautifully,” said Rabbi Sagi Rosenbaum, principal of Gwen Straus’ science and technology track. “He is a wonderful student in math, but above all he is a wonderful person, friend, and ben Torah. He is a high achiever, but very modest.” So when does this 14-year-old have fun? Peleg said that he plays soccer or hangs out with friends on Thursday nights. He also takes part in the Bnei Akiva youth movement, and used to play basketball with a local Ra’anana team. “I stopped playing basketball when I started Odyssey,” Peleg said. “I miss it because it was fun, but I prefer to be in the program because I wasn’t that good. I have a future with what I’m learning in the program; I definitely didn’t have a future in basketball,” he said with a laugh. —AR


Going for

GOLDA Author and National Jewish Book Award winner Francine Klagsbrun talks to AMIT about “Lioness,” her new biography of Golda Meir


olda Meir, the fourth prime minister of Israel and the only woman ever to hold that title, was way ahead of her time. Born in Tsarist Russia in 1898, she grew up in Milwaukee and immigrated to mandatory Palestine in 1921. A die-hard socialist, she joined a kibbutz and then took on various public-service jobs that brought her to the attention of David Ben-Gurion, propelled her into the political limelight and ultimately into the prime minister’s seat. Golda, as she insisted everyone call her, held her own in Israel’s patriarchal society. While her legacy has been marred by the Yom Kippur War, author Francine Klagsbrun, in her new book “Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel” writes that the war “does not define Golda Meir.” Klasgbrun, who won the National Jewish Book Award for “Lioness,” spoke with AMIT about Golda the politician and the woman, and about what we can still learn from her today.


AMIT: Congratulations on the National Jewish Book Award. Do you feel that it affirms your view that it’s time to give Golda Meir her due? Francine Klagsbrun: Yes, I do indeed. I mean it’s very lovely for me, but it’s also great for Golda—I don’t know how, but the word got out in Israel, and I’ve gotten notes and emails congratulating me from Israel and that makes me happy—because that lets them see that she’s important. AMIT: Why did you decide to write about her in the first place? What drew you to her? FK: Well, what drew me to her was that the publisher asked me to do it [laughs]. But as soon as it came up, I thought, this is something I really do want to do, because here she is, this woman head of Israel, of the government—that has not happened since then in Israel and certainly hasn’t happened here in the United States—and I wanted an answer to who was this woman? I got very caught up in who was she? Why, how did she get where she was in that very male-oriented society that she lived in? I wanted to learn more about Israel, actually, even though I’ve gone there a million times. Once I got caught up in that, it was so fascinating. AMIT: You had access to a lot of recently published archival materials—how did you get your hands on those?

FK: Once they open an archive, anyone can use it. There are materials that were kept closed for 30 years or more, so once they were opened, I hired an Israeli researcher who is also a historian, who was extremely helpful, because I spent a lot of time in Israel, but I couldn’t live there. AMIT: You spent about eight years on the book. What were some of the more interesting or unknown things that you discovered about Golda? FK: Some of it was personal things that I really didn’t know much about—family issues. By now everybody knows that she had lovers, but I found letters that had not been published from lovers to her, and letters from her husband, who was suffering [and] wanted her back, so that was fascinating. There’s a cache of letters that some family member gave me that were her husband’s family writing about him and about her that nobody’s ever seen before, so that was really interesting to me. Then, you know the workings of the government. The arguments in the cabinet. I mean if you read the cabinet meetings, it is very interesting, because Golda, her chief weapon was sarcasm, and she could be really sarcastic to people who disagreed with her, and they could be pretty rough, all of them. So that was extremely interesting, to read original material like that. AMIT: You also interviewed her two children. FK: Yes, I got to know her children really well. AMIT: What was that like for you? FK: Well, that was very important for me, and actually they both died since then. But her son, Menachem, took the lead in all this. At first, he said, ‘We’ve decided as a family we’re not going to cooperate with you, because there have been too many negative things written about our mother.’ But he sort of checked me out, and I guess I checked out okay, so at first [they agreed to cooperate] tentatively, and then they really came to trust me. I said, ‘I’m telling you now I’m not

Francine Klagsbrun. (Credit: Joan Roth)

going to cover up her faults. I’m going to present her as she was, but I’m not going to go out of my way to be negative. My goal is to be fair, and I promise you I will be as fair as I could be.’ And they accepted it. I think they were glad that somebody was trying to be fair to her. AMIT: Obviously, because of the Yom Kippur War, Golda gets quite a bad rap. But why do you think that there is such a discrepancy about her legacy in the U.S. versus Israel? Is it just because the war hit closer to home in Israel? FK: I think that’s a very large part of it. There were 2,600 casualties, and that’s a lot of people for Israel, so everybody knew somebody who was killed or wounded or in the war, and they felt that, ultimately, she was responsible continued on page 22


continued from page 21 for them being taken by surprise, although her generals kept assuring her that everything was going to be okay and there would not be a war. I think another part of it really is misogyny, a kind of sexism—that maybe from the war, they sort of went backwards and began criticizing her style. Instead of confident, now she was self-righteous. Before you might have said fearless, now she was arrogant. Israelis also blame Moshe Dayan, but his reputation has not suffered as much as hers.

Golda always thought, yes, Israel absolutely needed America and needed American Jews, and they still do.

AMIT: Do you think that she’s held to a higher standard than men like Moshe Dayan or other colleagues or peers? FK: I do. I think Moshe Dayan and particularly Eli Zeira who was the head of AMAN, the military intelligence, kept reassuring her. Whatever signs there were of war, it was always no, there was a low probability of war, because they had what they called the “conception” [“conceptzia” in Hebrew] that if Egypt didn’t get the weapons from the Soviet Union that would allow it to strike Israel, then Egypt would not go to war and Syria would not go to war without Egypt. Her mistake was listening to her generals. But what would another head of state do? Was it because she was a woman that she listened? People have said that. ‘Well, you know, she listened to her male generals,’ But I don’t know. If you were a man head of state and your generals kept telling you there’s not going to be a war, would you go ahead and prepare for the war anyway?


AMIT: You also wrote that she knew that if she were to launch a preemptive strike that she wouldn’t have gotten aid from the United States, so it seems like she really was stuck between a rock and a hard place. FK: People criticized her for not preempting, but the fact is that [Henry] Kissinger did warn her against preempting. She knew she would need the United States one way or another, so she didn’t want to do that. The one thing she always blamed herself for was that she had this intuitive feeling, certainly close to when the war was going to break out, and that she did not listen to her own intuition at the time. AMIT: Do you think that Israeli leaders today can learn something from her about bridging gaps between Israel and American Jews and the Diaspora? FK: Golda was the first to really develop a very close relationship between Israel and the United States on a governmental level, and also on a people level. She was here a great deal. She came almost every year, and Americans were very proud of her. She was one of us, and made good. They were very taken with her. She was a very charismatic person. I think her attitude to America was not one of arrogance that we often see now. You know, ‘Israel has prospered and we don’t need America.’ I mean, I’ve been told this. ‘We don’t need America. We don’t need American Jews.’ She always thought, yes, Israel absolutely needed America and needed American Jews, and they still do. AMIT: You also said that one of the more puzzling aspects of her life was her rejection of the women’s movement. Yet her actions and behavior clearly would be described as feminist by today’s standards. Were you able to decipher that at all? FK: I think there are two parts to that. One was that she was a socialist, and saw society in socialistic terms—that they didn’t need separate

Golda Meir with Yitzhak Rabin, then Israel’s ambassador to the United States; Henry Kissinger, then Richard Nixon’s national security adviser; and Leah Rabin, at the ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C., February 1973. (Credit: Moshe Milner, Government Press Office, State of Israel)

movements for any one group, because under a socialist state you’d all be equal. The other, quite frankly, was that she wanted to make her way in this man’s world, and even today, female leaders do not announce themselves as feminists. You never hear the word ‘feminist’ being used to describe Theresa May, for example. But they didn’t go out of their way to say ‘those crazy, bra-burning women,’ as she did. She was a little excessive in that. But I think she was living in this man’s world, and even as prime minister, just to hold that position and to get ahead, she was not going to identify with the women’s movement. AMIT: You cover her personal life in great detail, including the fact that her marriage dissolved even though they didn’t formally divorce, and that she had affairs. Was that a conscious effort to try to humanize her? FK: I was not writing a political bio, although it does have a lot of politics in it. I really thought a biography of somebody should have their life. It’s interesting to learn what a person is like, you know?

AMIT: Finally, with the 120th anniversary of her birth coming up, what would you want Israelis and American Jews to remember about Golda or to take away from your book? FK: I’d like them to remember that she was really, truly instrumental in the founding of the state. Ben-Gurion was the vision behind it, there’s no question about that. He was the great force. But she did an enormous amount to make that happen and worked very hard and raised money, and I think Israelis particularly should know that, because I don’t think they do. The other was that she had enormous integrity. Whatever other criticisms you have about her, she lived modestly. One time she gave a check to the government because she thought that she had spent more money than she should have. That would never happen today. There was an integrity and a modesty, and I think that’s a really important lesson to keep in mind today. —AR This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


Chef’s Special Israeli-born, American-raised chef Alon Shaya describes his life’s journey in a new cookbook that’s also part memoir BY DEBRA KAMIN


ew Orleans is definitely having a moment, and it tastes delicious.

The Big Easy, this year named by the New York Times as destination number one in its annual 52 Places to Go list, is celebrating its third centennial this year. And at the ripe young age of 300, its restaurant scene has never looked better. Among the notable young chefs bringing edgy fusion fare to this city by the bay is Alon Shaya, the Israeli-born, American-raised wunderkind whose marriage of Israeli and Cajun kitchens earned him a James Beard Award in 2015. Shaya is a celebrity chef with humility and heart. He recently left his namesake restaurant, which showcases the bright flavors of Tel Aviv staples (lamb kebabs, chicken schnitzel) and singlehandedly turned gumbo-loving New Orleans onto the flavors of elevated modern Israeli cuisine. With that appetite whet, he has plans, he says, to open a new Israeli eatery in the city in the next year. Shaya’s a chef who takes risks, who isn’t afraid to go against the grain, and when his debut cookbook hits bookstores this month, his most devoted fans won’t be surprised to learn that the book itself is as unconventional as its author. “Shaya: An Odyssey of Food, My Journey Back to Israel” is equal parts cookbook and memoir. Depending on your perspective, it’s either a collection of 26 recipes or an anthology of 26 short stories, with each


mini-narrative offering both a glimpse into Shaya’s own personal story and a template for cooking a dish whose taste and flavor encapsulates that emotional experience in an edible way. “It’s like a collection of short stories that I wanted to tell about the journey I’ve taken through my life, and of course food has always been a huge factor, every step of the way, since I was a kid,” he said in a phone interview. “I thought it would be interesting to compile, in chronological order, a list of all these short stories where food impacted me and changed my direction, and from those stories I wanted the recipes to reflect that moment in my life.” Shaya was born outside of Tel Aviv, and at the age of 4, he moved to Philadelphia with his parents and older sister. His childhood in America, he says, was a study in assimilation and exoticism, with the kitchen as the magnet that always pulled him back to his Israeli and immigrant roots. In school, he learned accent-free English and ate sloppy Joes for lunch; at home, he stirred hummus with his mother and watched his visiting grandmother roast peppers and eggplants for lutenitsa, a Bulgarian puree he would eat with pita bread. That lutenitsa, and the potent sense memories it invokes, serves as both beginning and end to Shaya’s story in the book. It’s a dish that many Shaya devotees are already familiar with, even if they haven’t had the good fortune to book a seat at his restaurant. The chef served it to Phil Rosenthal in the recent Netflix series “Somebody Feed Phil,” and Rosenthal gushed, “Believe it or not, that Israeli restaurant is rated the number one restaurant in

New Orleans. In a place famous for Cajun and Creole food, this is rated the best. So that’s incredible.” There are plenty of other tastes of Shaya’s childhood in the volume as well. Readers will be given a recipe for a peach and marscapone hamantaschen, the traditional triangle-shaped Purim cookie elevated with punchy stone fruit and creamy white cheese. And the accompanying story? Shaya shares with his readers how, at the age of 7, this child of divorce learned to experiment alone in his kitchen, tentatively opening a can of peach preserves with a can opener and folding the dough with his own hands. There’s a fancy take on a turkey sandwich, made with whole grain bread with avocado and real sliced turkey, but the roots of this sandwich are also much simpler—it’s based on the white bread-andturkey sandwiches Alon would eat while fishing with his father in the years after his parents split. Fish roasted with brown butter and bay leaves also makes an appearance and is linked to those same pivotal moments with his dad. The writing process, which Shaya shared with co-writer Tina Antolini, was cathartic, he says. “As I would write, the memories would start pouring in that I hadn’t thought about in years,” he says. “I try to keep everything in my personal life to myself, but this was really therapeutic for me, and I found that I could express myself in a manner that I had never done before. I was super emotional.” After tracing his childhood, the book travels with Shaya to Italy, where he apprenticed for a year, mostly in Parma, traveling, cooking, curing, baking, and peeling tomatoes. The food in these pages of the book may not be Israeli, but it’s an undeniable part of Shaya’s journey to developing his own imprint as a chef, and so he felt it had to be included. “Another really important recipe for me in the book is the risotto,” he says, “because that’s a dish that I had when I was living in Italy and I would

Alon Shaya. (Credit: Rush Jagoe)

cook a family meal with the lady who owned the restaurant where I was working,” he explained. “They would take all the scraps [from cooking] and add it to the risotto and it was their lunch... to me that is the pinnacle of my joy when I get to experience food in a way that really means something to somebody.” Notable in the selection of recipes and memories in this book is that some veer more bitter than sweet. Others are undeniably difficult. And that was important, Shaya says, because the story of his life, and the moments that brought him to where he is today, has been utterly complex and without filter. “I like to cook food that has a story,” he says. “And I don’t think sadness has anything to do with flavor. You could be sad and still make something that tastes good. What makes food special is that it’s honest and it’s part of what I am, whether it’s good or bad. There’s a story to tell.”

Debra Kamin is an American journalist in Tel Aviv.



Israel gets a gifted track for Orthodox girls AMIT Renanim Jr. and Sr. Science and Technology High School will offer a gifted track for Orthodox girls in the upcoming school year, marking a first for the educational landscape in central Israel. Renanim Principal Ofra Pe’er, along with her colleagues Varda Shalom and Esti Friedman, spearheaded this initiative by going directly to Education Minister Naftali Bennett with a request to open the unique track at the school. Gifted students account for 2-3% of students across Israel, and they wanted to offer the same standards of academic excellence to religiously observant girls. Bennett, together with the Ra’anana municipality, approved the initiative for the coming school year.

A master class in music and tolerance Some 40 students at the AMIT Bienenfeld Hevruta Yeshiva enrolled in a specialized music track recently welcomed a unique visitor: virtuoso blues pianist and lecturer Daryl Davis. Over the last 30 years, Davis has been on a mission to promote dialogue and understanding through music. He has met with KKK members and persuaded them to abandon their racist beliefs and organizations. He came to Israel to foster dialogue between the diverse segments of Israeli society. While at the yeshiva, he gave the AMIT students a music lesson and jammed with some of them.

Three AMIT alums soar to the air force The Israeli air force is considered among the best in the world, and three AMIT alumni recently joined its ranks after completing their flight course and earning their coveted wings. Two of the freshly decorated pilots are graduates of Yeshivat AMIT Kfar Ganim, and both named teachers at the school as the most influential people in their lives. Y. expressed his appreciation for literature teacher Miri Westreich, and invited her to the ceremony at Hatzerim Air Force Base. C., the second graduate of the same class, also chose a teacher, Rabbi Yoni Difni from the yeshiva, as the most influential person in his life. The third graduate to complete the prestigious air force course is A., an alumnus of AMIT Gwen Straus Jr. & Sr. Science High School for Boys, who also invited the school’s principal and one of his teachers to the ceremony.


HIGHLIGHTS & SUCCESSES 4 AMIT teams to represent Israel in international robotics competitions AMIT students continue to chalk up huge successes in robotics competitions, with four schools advancing to international competitions in Europe. Out of the schools that competed in the FIRST Lego League competition, the junior high team from the Mr. and Mrs. Lester Sutker AMIT Modi’in School for Boys is headed to the international competition in Estonia, along with 12 other teams from Israel. Additional AMIT schools competed in the FIRST Tech Challenge robotics competition, with three schools advancing to international competitions. The team from AMIT Sderot Gutwirth clinched first place in the national competition and will go on to compete on the international stage in the Netherlands. Two schools in Yerucham, Yeshivat AMIT B’Levav Shalem and the Kamah School, are also on the way to an international competition.

Meaningful army service is a top priority at AMIT The Israel Defense Forces’ Manpower Directorate recently published its annual ranking of cities and schools that “contribute more” to military service—meaning that their recruits join combat units and serve as officers. Yeshivat AMIT Nachshon, in Mateh Yehuda, ranked No. 4 out of all the boys’ schools in Israel (religious and secular), with a 100% enlistment rate; 87% of AMIT Nachshon graduates serve in combat units in the army, with 20% of those serving as officers. In addition to the yeshiva, several AMIT girls’ schools also made the list of Top 10 religious girls’ schools with the highest enlistment rates. AMIT Bellows Ulpanat Noga came in at No. 7, AMIT Technological High School, Karmiel came in at No. 8, and AMIT Renanim came in at No. 10.

AMIT Bar Ilan leads the country in science and technology The Education Ministry selected AMIT Ginsburg Bar Ilan Gush Dan Jr. and Sr. High School for Boys as the leading school in the country for scientific and technological studies for 2017. AMIT Bar Ilan has the highest percentage of graduates completing their bagrut at the highest level (5 units) in math and 10 units in technological subjects. The school ranked No. 1 out of the 280 schools that take part in Atuda—the Scientific and Technological Leadership Reserve, a prestigious excellence program aimed at increasing the number of students who complete 5 units of study in math as well 5 units in technology subjects and 5 units in natural sciences (physics, chemistry, and biology).




Micheline Ratzersdorfer, z”l

he entire AMIT family was profoundly saddened by the passing of our longtime devoted benefactor and tireless volunteer Micheline Ratzersdorfer. Micheline’s name will forever be linked with the AMIT magazine, which she transformed from a simple newsletter to a significant Anglo-Jewish publication by virtue of her personal commitment and extraordinary journalistic abilities. Micheline was editor of the magazine for 17 years, starting in 1976, and was editor emerita from 1993 until her passing. Micheline was a professional volunteer, spending four days a week writing, editing, proofing and laying out countless editions of the AMIT magazine. She mentored a generation of volunteers who were imbued with her journalistic integrity, passion for precision in the use of language and, of course, commitment to the highest standards of Zionist ideals, Torah values, and love of the children under AMIT’s care. Her sharp and incisive mind set a high bar for all of us who were privileged to work with her.  


A life member of the Naomi Chapter for over 50 years, she served on the Executive Board of AMIT as a Vice President, and was a member of President’s Circle since its inception. After making aliyah, she  joined Chug Ayelet in Jerusalem and served on the board of AMIT in Israel.  Along with her beloved husband, Marc, z”l, she devoted her life to the children of AMIT, striving always to strengthen Israeli society through its young people.   Her sharp mind and wit will be sorely missed by all who had the privilege to know her and work alongside her.   May her children, grandchildren, and greatgrandchildren be comforted in the knowledge that she, indeed, made a difference in the lives of so many.   May her memory be a blessing for Klal Yisrael.

Why is the Seder So Long? “


hat time did your Seder finish?”—that is the most commonly heard question on Pesach morning. Divrei Torah  shared throughout the Seder by children, dramatic presentations by grandparents, and annual  schtick from uncles can make the Seder last long into the night; that one’s Seder lasted longest is a source of pride for some. It’s not for naught. Early on the Haggadah notes, “The more one tells about the Exodus, the more he is praiseworthy.” But why? A plethora of actions may reveal a person’s merit: one who gives tzedakah, performs mitzvot, or studies Torah clearly shows that he is praiseworthy. How long or how many times one tells about the Exodus seems inconsequential when compared with those truly laudable acts. The Sefat Emet (Rabbi Yehuda Leib Alter, 18471905) sharpens our reading of the Haggadah phrase and, in doing so, offers an interpretation that is characteristically ahead of his time. It’s not that praiseworthy people tend to tell more about the Exodus; how long someone spends telling the story does not shed light on that individual’s merits. Rather, the very act of telling about the Exodus serves to improve us. One becomes praiseworthy through it because telling about the Exodus makes us better suited to practice Judaism. “Just as the Exodus served as preparation for the Israelites to receive the Torah, telling the story of the Exodus prepares us for the Torah.” And the more we tell it, the better prepared we are. Science has caught up to the Sefat Emet’s idea more than a century later. Unlike lists of facts or rules, stories stimulate our brains in ways that change our perspectives and even the way we


act. In his research, Princeton neuroscientist Uri Hasson has shown that telling stories causes listeners’ brains to synchronize with each other in a process he calls “alignment.” Moreover, the brains of the listeners also align with those of the speakers. The greater the alignment—the more similarly the brains are processing information— the better the communication is between the speaker and the listeners. They become more likely to understand each other and to be moved by what the other is saying. Remarkably, hearing a story yields almost the same brain activity as actually experiencing the event. In other words, the more families tell each other the story of the Exodus, the more likely they are to share similar perspectives on it, to identify with those who experienced it, and to be receptive to the messages contained within the story. In the words of the Sefat Emet, the more people tell each other about the story of the Exodus, the better prepared they are for Torah.  So as you sit down to your Seders, encourage words of Torah, dramatic scenes, and activities that add depth to the experience (though perhaps inform participants in advance that they may want to grab an afternoon snack). Telling our story develops deep connections between members of our family and between our family and the rest of our people going back thousands of years. Rabbi Feldman is rabbi of Congregation Beth Abraham-Jacob in Albany, N.Y. He studied, among other places, at Yeshivat AMIT Orot Shaul, and his grandmother lived in an AMIT youth village upon immigrating to Israel from Turkey in the 1940s.




Dedication of the Gloria and Henry I. Zeisel and Family Junior College Gloria Zeisel has always considered education as a paramount value in creating opportunities for children and ensuring their success. Throughout their life together, Gloria and her husband, Henry, z”l, emphasized chesed and having a positive impact on their local community, the Jewish community at large, and the State of Israel. Gloria decided to combine all of those elements and, together with her children, Cheryl and Abe Kramer, Elliot and Mary Zeisel, Howard Zeisel, and Debbie and Sam Moed, create a lasting legacy by making a generous gift to establish the Gloria and Henry I. Zeisel and Family Junior College at Kfar Blatt.  Gloria had long thought about making a gift that would provide children with  opportunities  they might not have otherwise, and decided on the junior college because it would have been incredibly meaningful for Henry. As Gloria said, “My husband greatly valued vocational training and the prospects that a good education can provide.” Gloria and Henry’s vision of chesed and self-empowerment will be carried on in the junior college. Run in conjunction with the Israel Defense Forces, this state-of-the-art facility trains students in auto-tech, a highly specialized field that helps the army maintain and repair its most sophisticated machinery. In fact, half of the new recruits into the IDF’s Technology and Maintenance Corps arrive from the Zeisel Junior College. After receiving their technical bagrut, graduates enter the army equipped with the knowledge and training that enables them to become officers. The advanced technical training also opens doors for them within the high-tech and startup industries and other remunerative sectors. 


Elliot & Mary Zeisel, Howard Zeisel, Cheryl Kramer, and Debbie & Sam Moed and family

Gloria & Henry I. Zeisel, z”l

Henry Zeisel, z”l, would have been gratified that this dedication will have a transformative effect on AMIT students. Henry’s mother was involved in Mizrachi Women, AMIT’s previous incarnation, and Gloria was a chapter president of Mizrachi Women in Brooklyn. “I knew Bessie Gotsfeld well,” said Gloria. “She had wonderful, innovative ideas that resulted in the founding of Mizrachi Women, now AMIT.” The Gloria and Henry I. Zeisel and Family Junior College, under the dynamic directions of Moshe Uziel, is an extension of those wonderful, innovative ideas. Gloria said she hopes this gift will inspire others to do the same.



A Bat Mitzvah Dedication with the children of AMIT and Jordana Stonehill The students of Karmiel, a city in northern Israel, were excited at the prospect of a new dance studio as their hometown is known as the “city of dance in Israel.” Karmiel hosts a dynamic dance festival, and the students felt they had the opportunity to be a part of this unique aspect of their beloved city.

The Stonehill Family

After witnessing her older sisters, Brooke and Emma, choose to mark their bat mitzvahs by dedicating a basketball court in Sderot and a music room in Acco, it was no surprise that Jordana Price Stonehill would want to celebrate her own bat mitzvah in a similarly meaningful way. What Jordana did not know was that she already had a personal connection to the students of AMIT, which began over 12 years ago. In celebration of Jordana’s birth, her father, David, dedicated a math classroom at AMIT Ma’ale Adumim in honor of his wife, Robyn. Combining past and present celebrations, Jordana and the entire Stonehill family traveled to Israel this past November to mark her bat mitzvah. Jordana visited the school to see for herself where her connection to AMIT had started. This visit re-enforced Jordana’s personal connection to AMIT and her decision to mark her next milestone in life with AMIT. In celebrating her bat mitzvah, it was important to Jordana to fulfill a need of the students. Remarkably, Jordana was not only able to accomplish this goal, but she was also able to combine her passion for dance by raising money for a dance studio for the students at the Karmiel Junior and Senior High School.

After a tour of the school, Jordana and her family joined in a hip-hop dance master class in the new dance studio and then performed what they had learned. The family took a tour of the school and got a firsthand glimpse of the STEM subjects the students are learning, and then they joined the students in a pre-Hanukkah chesed project. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the students and family broke out into song and dance. In addition to celebrating Jordana’s special day, she shared the day with an Israeli girl who was also celebrating her bat mitzvah. The girls formed a quick and deep connection and hope to remain in touch. During the dedication ceremony, Jordana addressed the students in flawless Hebrew and shared her thoughts for the future. She hoped that the dance studio would provide the students with a great space to give them hours of fun perfecting their dance sequences. “I have always felt a special connection with the students at AMIT, but I am truly overwhelmed by the love, warmth, and friendship of the AMIT community,” Jordana said. Jordana added that she felt lucky to have met and celebrated her special day with the students of AMIT.




Dedication of the Menachem Stern Learning Center at Beit Hayeled It has been nearly a year since the opening of the new Learning Center at AMIT’s Beit Hayeled children’s home, and this specially designed, multiroom space has quickly become a vital part of the facility. It is used throughMenachem Stern, z”l out the day for a variety of learning-based activities, and is a favorite place for the kids to spend free time, reading or watching a film with friends on the brightly colored, comfortable couches. If a child can’t attend school for any reason, he or she will often be found in the Learning Center, catching up on homework or reading quietly. For the first time ever, the children of Beit Hayeled have a beautiful and inspiring space that is conducive to learning, and this has transformed the environment for the better for the children. This beautiful space was dedicated in loving memory of Menachem Stern, z”l, by his family. The Learning Center at AMIT Beit Hayeled embodies many of the values that were dear to Mr. Stern. A Holocaust survivor from the town of Sighet, Romania, Menachem Stern stayed true to his faith after the war, and continued to learn Torah throughout his life. Education, and Jewish education in particular, were important values for Mr. Stern and he would be proud to have his name associated with Beit Hayeled. For the children of Beit Hayeled, most of whom come from unstable homes, the Learning Center


serves as an “educational haven,” promoting good learning habits and serious study. The Learning Center is also used for private lessons, with volunteers from the community working one-onone with the children, giving them extra help with schoolwork. Homework sessions are held there, as are study-skills training groups for the older children, who learn how to be organized, take and review class notes, and acquire strong, life-long study habits. The young women participating in Midreshet AMIT, who come to Israel for this unique gap-year program that combines Torah study with hands-on community service, use the Learning Center as a study space in which they help their “little siblings” with homework and tutoring. The staff at Beit Hayeled is already seeing an increase in the students’ interest and focus in their studies. The students’ progress academically and socially is being tracked to see how to build upon that success for the future. From the children’s perspective, the Learning Center is a place created especially for them. One young student said, “I love that that I can do my work in the Learning Center, because it is a quiet and comfortable place for me to study.”



AMIT’S 5th Annual Broadway Fantasy Camp One hundred supporters came out for AMIT’s New York Broadway Fantasy Camp in January. The pre-event featured four stars of the Broadway musical “Come From Away.” The cast shared a behind-the-scenes look at how the show came about, the backstories of some of the characters, and the emotional impact of telling this 9/11-related story. The event was co-chaired by Esther and Jack Goldman and Anne and Sheldon Golombeck. Thank you to the sponsors, Andrea and Bryan Bier, Ria and Tim Levart and Eva Zilz.

L-R: Bruce & Debra Buechler and Andrea & Bryan Bier

It Was a Full House for AMIT!

Shawn Langer, center, and other Monte Carlo players

AMIT of Greater Teaneck’s Monte Carlo Night was a huge success, bringing together 120 supporters and raising over $25,000 to benefit our students in Israel. The event was graciously hosted by Annie and Yale Baron and chaired by Chana and Dan Shields, Abby and Elad Cnaan, Rachel and Shawn Langer, and Meital and Howie Teitelman. The winner’s circle included Yehuda Feldman, Adam Leffel, and Ronnie Weinblut.

A Wonderful Evening at the L.I. Gala AMIT supporters on Long Island came out in force to pay tribute to a distinguished group of local residents who have been trailblazers in supporting AMIT’s mission of L.I. Gala honorees building Israel through education. Two hundred and fifty AMIT supporters gathered to honor six special women at AMIT’s annual Greater LI Gala: Suri Kufeld, Ilene Feldstein, Aviva Hoschander-Sulzberger, Mona Stern, and Debra and Daniella Haft. Event cochair Sami Schindelheim, emceed the evening. Honoree and Midreshet AMIT alumnae Daniella Haft presented a Dvar Torah about the profound impact her experience at the seminary has had on her life.




AMIT’s 2017 Annual Dinner AMIT’s Annual Dinner brought new meaning to the word “Heroes,” as hundreds of AMIT supporters came to Pier Sixty in New York City to pay tribute to honorees Audrey and Max Wagner, Sharon and Sol Merkin, Martin Elias, and Jordana Alpert. The evening started with a sumptuous buffet dinner overlooking the Hudson River, but the real treat was the program that recognized L-R: AMIT Heroes Nili Block, the hard work and dedication of the honorees. In addition, atHila Yemini, and Ron Vanunu tendees got to meet three real-life AMIT Heroes—Nili Block, Ron Vanunu, and Hila Yemini—who embody the organization’s core values of academic excellence, Jewish values, and personal self-fulfillment. Performers from three Broadway shows wowed the audience with renditions of songs about overcoming obstacles and breaking barriers.

L-R: Sol & Sharon Merkin and Debbie Moed

L-R: Sean Elias, Martin Elias, and Steven Elias


L-R: Jordana Alpert and Sophia Alpert

Max & Audrey Wagner


A Benefit for Bar Mitzvah Boys

Amian Kelemer, Yael Zelinger, and Diane Hawk


Baltimore AMIT gathered at the Knish Shop in December to raise funds for bar mitzvah ceremonies for boys with autism attending Lotem Special Education School. The boys work with students from AMIT Hammer Jr. and Sr. High School for boys to achieve this milestone experience. Russell Hendel, Sarah Ribakow/ Tikvah Chapter President was the charming emcee. Keynote Speakers Yael Zelinger, Coordinator of JADE: Jewish Advocates and Inclusion Associate at the Center of Jewish Education, in Baltimore, and Amian Kelemer, CEO of the Center for Jewish Education, spoke about innovative ways of educating children with learning differences and disabilities.



Tribute to Educational Excellence Over 75 people attended the AMIT New England Council/Ra’anana Chapter’s Tribute to Educational Excellence honoring Rabbi Daniel Lehmann, president and professor of pluralism and Jewish educaJonathan Sarna, Lynne Heller, Ethlynne Brickman, Sarah Okon, tion at Hebrew College in Newton, MA. Keynote speakers Jonathan and Phyllis Hammer Sarna, professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University, and Miri Gil, principal at AMIT Rehovot Jr. & Sr. High School for Girls, were informative and compelling. Guests were treated to rousing musical entertainment by Cantor Elias Rosemberg and sons Michael and David, with Jeremiah Klarman accompanying on the piano. Rabbi Lehmann joined Cantor Rosemberg on stage for a moving duet.

AMIT Philly’s Annual Gala In November, over 100 AMIT supporters attended the annual AMIT Philadelphia Council/Shira Chapter Annual Gala honoring Linda Sagman for her dedication to AMIT’s children and for bringing interesting programs to our community. Young Leadership honorees Karen and Jonathan Friedman were an inspiration to all. A warm welcome was bestowed on keynote speaker Miri Gil, principal of AMIT Rehovot Jr. and Sr. High School for Girls. She spoke passionately about her success in elevating the level of education in Rehovot. It was an inspiring and Karen Friedman, Karen’s daughter, Linda and Shira Sagman Sara Blanc, and Jone Dalezman informative evening for all!

Dedication Event in Baltimore AMIT supporters gathered at the lovely home of Donna and Jeffrey Lawrence celebrating a campaign dedication event in November. Miriam Friedman gave the Dvar Torah and the guests enjoyed an inspirational discussion with Miri and David Gil, Danelle Rubin, and AMIT student Hila Yemini. Everyone enjoyed Chinese food from David Chu’s of Baltimore.

Gail Gerstman, Diane Hawk, Etta Friedman, Miri & David Gil, Sandy Wilner, Danelle Rubin, Hila Yemini, and Barbara Bloom




Kort Foundation Dedication Enhances STEM Learning The Barbara and Fred Kort Foundation in Los Angeles, California, made a generous gift to dedicate and fund an electronics classroom at the AMIT Nordlicht Technological High School in Jerusalem and a chemistry lab at AMIT Renanim Jr. and Sr. Science and Technology High School for Girls in ‫"ה ַּמ ְל ָא ְך ַה ּ ֹג ֵאל א ִֹתי ִמ ָּכל ָרע‬ ַ ‫יְ ָב ֵר ְך ֶאת ַה ְ ּנ ָע ִרים‬ Ra’anana. The foundation’s gifts will help to enhance the ‫ְויִ ָ ּק ֵרא ָב ֶהם ׁ ְש ִמי ְו ׁ ֵשם ֲאב ַֹתי‬ ‫ַא ְב ָר ָהם ְויִ ְצ ָחק‬ level of STEM education for the students at these two schools "‫ְויִ ְדגּ ּו ָלרֹב ְ ּב ֶק ֶרב ָה ָא ֶרץ‬ )‫ טז‬,‫(בראשית מח‬ and will equip them to thrive in the 21st century—in school, DeDicateD by in the army, in higher education, and later in life. Fred, z”l, a the barbara anD FreD Kort Holocaust survivor, and his wife, Barbara, z”l, created a sucFounDation cessful toy business and were active philanthropists whose passion for education, cancer treatment, and Holocaust remembrance is carried on by the work of their namesake foundation. AMIT is grateful to the Kort Foundation for making these impactful projects happen and for investing in the lives of our students and in the future of Israel.



Midwest Council of AMIT’s 2017 Annual Gala

L-R: Beth Alter, Miriam Neuman, Tami Drapkin, Molly Zwanziger, Rachael Gelman, Jessica Robinson, Hila Geller, and Liz Towb


More than 150 guests gathered to honor Molly Zwanziger and Rachael Gelman at the Midwest Council’s annual gala dinner in November. Molly was presented with the Bessie Gotsfeld Award, given to a member who embodies the spirit of AMIT’s founder. Molly became active in AMIT after moving to Chicago 15 years ago, and she and her husband have volunteered at an AMIT school in Netanya. Rachael received the NewGen Leadership Award for her years of work chairing the Chicago-area NewGen Board. Committee chairs for the 2017 dinner gala were Beth and Bradley Alter, Miriam and Bernard Neuman, and Jessica and Dov Robinson.



AMIT Chicago’s 2017 Annual NewGen Event AMIT Chicago held its annual NewGen event in December at the Great Room Escape in Morton Grove, IL. Fun was had by all as they put their super-sleuthing abilities to the test trying to escape a Zombie Room, an abandoned terminal, and the ghost of Harry Houdini. Yasher koach to the Harry Houdini team, which succeeded in escaping its room in the allotted time. The event was chaired by Rachael and Asher Gelman and Erica and Josh Legum.

L-R: Erica & Josh Legum and Tzvi & Rena Harris

AMIT Chicago’s First Annual Men’s Poker Night

L-R: Daniel Rosenthal, Zev Geller, and Avi Loewenstern

The First Annual AMIT Chicago Men’s Night was held in September at Evita Steakhouse in Chicago. The evening was a tremendous success! This would not have been possible without the diligence of our stellar co-chairs: Zev Geller, Avi Loewenstern, and Daniel Rosenthal (who suggested the “Buy Back,” which generated additional fundraising dollars), as well as our committee members: Scott Berman, Mike Dalezman, Josh Goldman, Jonathan Korman, Noah Mishkin, Ari Nussbaum, Dov Robinson, Michael Shiner, and Adam Silverstein.

Cleveland Cooking Demo with Chef Zach Ladner AMIT Cleveland hosted a cooking demonstration with Zach Ladner, executive chef of an upscale local Italian restaurant, in February. The event was hosted at the home of local AMIT Cleveland member Juliana Sclair. Everyone in attendance had an amazing time. The food was top notch, the experience was superb, and the display was extremely professional!

Getting a taste of Italy with Chef Ladner

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AMIT SE Annual Dinner 2017 The room was filled with love and support of family and friends for honorees, Marilyn and Ed Kaplan. Also recognized were Helen Ciment, recipient of the first Arline Reinhard Leadership Award, and our AMIT Young Professionals Board accepting the Emerging Leader award. The attendees enjoyed a delicious dinner and an evening filled with the latest outstanding AMIT accomplishments.

Marilyn & Ed Kaplan and family

Fall into Vegetables with Dini Klein Famous food Blogger Dini Klein shared her expertise with a standing-room-only NewGen crowd. Everyone there learned some cooking secrets, tasted delicacies, had all their questions answered, and went home with a copy of the recipes prepared that night. The evening was chaired by Talia Lamet, Esty Jungreis, and Aliza Bixon.

Cooking demo with Dini L-R: Talia Lamet, Esty Jungreis, Dini Klein, and Aliza Bixon

AMIT and Greet

L-R: AYP Board, Roy Esh, Benisa Levin, Jayny Bengio, and Avi Simon


Hosted by Fancy and Jimmy Saka, the Miami Beach crowd met AMIT President Debbie Moed, Director General Dr. Amnon Eldar, and AMIT students Ron Vanunu and Nili Block. After some background on the students and their brief presentations, the crowd had an opportunity to ask questions and speak individually with the students, Debbie, and Amnon. The evening was repeated the next night for the AYPs at the home of Avi Simon.


Israel Annual Doda Luncheon

The annual Doda Luncheon of the Ayelet & Dvorah Masovetsky Jerusalem Chug was held at the AMIT State Technological High School in January 2018. Attendees were treated to an outstanding dance performance by the school’s hip-hop troupe, as well as interactive lessons in cosmetology and music by some of the school’s talented teachers. Attendees at the annual luncheon The principal explained to everyone that the high school is geared toward underprivileged students who receive therapeutic treatment as part of the curriculum, which prepares them for army service and professional careers upon graduation.

Chug Ayelet Visits Junior College in Rehovot Chug Ayelet sponsored a day trip to the Pre-Army Junior College at AMIT Hammer Rehovot, which was followed by a tour of Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot and Mikve Israel in Holon. Participants witnessed how the faculty customizes the program to meet the needs of the varied student body, which left a lasting impression on all. They were able to see how the school truly changes the lives of the students by teaching them skills that enable them to enter the army and participate productively in daily Israeli life. A special treat was observing the students in the dog-training program.

Visiting Pre-Army College at AMIT Hammer Rehovot

#Spin4AMIT in Jerusalem

Spnning for AMIT

Dozens of young women came out to support AMIT at #Spin4AMIT, a fun evening of spinning in Jerusalem to benefit AMIT children, in February. The event was run by well-known spin instructor (and member of AMIT’s Executive Committee) Tamar Benovitz. Participants had a great time learning about AMIT and participating in a high-energy spinning class, which was followed by delicious healthy fruit smoothies.


ing to develop an online platform where teachers can exchange materials and communicate with each other,” said Stein. LaHaV’s cutting-edge approach to Jewish education aligns with AMIT’s game-changing pedagogical developments in Israel that foster collaboration, creative and critical thinking, strengthening students’ values and identity.


nyone with even a slight interest in education knows that the global educational landscape is undergoing enormous changes at lightning speed—not only are teachers’ roles changing, but pedagogical methods are being tailored to a world in which information is accessible 24/7 at the touch of a smartphone, computer, or tablet. These changes are also making their way into the realm of Jewish education, where innovative new initiatives are taking shape. One of the most exciting projects for the AMIT network is its recently formed partnership with the LaHaV program at the Shalhevet High School in Los Angeles. LaHaV develops content and curricula for schools focusing on Gemara, Tanakh, Jewish philosophy, Israel education, and other Judaic studies subjects. It provides Jewish schools across the United States with educational content and the technology with which to share that content, including a communal digital platform. “The goal of the project is connecting students to Judaic studies,” said Rabbi David Stein, who founded the LaHaV Curriculum Project with Dr. Noam Weissman. “We provide content and support for teachers in the U.S. and Israel. We’ve built and are continu-


The partnership between AMIT and LaHaV “is like a bashert,” said Stein. AMIT is supporting LaHaV’s training and expansion in the U.S. as well as adapting it and learning from it for the teachers and students within the network. But it is also sharing with LaHaV the network’s innovative pedagogical methods developed at the Gogya training center, where the focus is on “bottom-up” change led by the teachers collaborating and thinking outside of the box, together. Aviezer Gellman, director of AMIT’s Division of Diaspora Jewry, said, “No longer will Jewish educators, especially those in small communities, be on their own. Rather, they will have an international group of colleagues with whom to brainstorm, share best practices, and develop new skills.  Ultimately, this will strengthen the teaching level of participating schools in the U.S. and the AMIT network in Israel.” One of the upcoming joint initiatives from the AMIT LaHaV partnership is an inaugural conference in Israel from June 25 to 28 for schools and educators interested in implementing a groundbreaking Israel education curriculum in the coming school year. The goal is to better prepare students for “the realities of BDS, Apartheid Week, and other anti-Israel challenges they will face on campus and beyond in the coming years.” For more information about the conference, visit

Ellen and Emanuel Kronitz, Israel Leon and Gloria, Edward, Sari, and Howard Miller, NY Yeftah NPO, Israel

Alice Levi, z”l, NY


Sharon and Solomon Merkin, NJ

Anonymous, NY

Debbie and Samuel Moed, NJ

Hadassah and Marvin Bienenfeld, NY

Barbara and Jules Nordlicht, NY

Barbara Bloom, MD

Kailly Sass, z”l, PA

Elaine Brimer, z”l, NY

Trudy and Stanley Stern, NY

Suzanne and Jacob Doft, NY

Robyn Price Stonehill and David Stonehill, NY

David Goldman Charitable Trust, Israel

Joyce and Daniel Straus, NJ

Shari and Jacob M. Safra, NY

Harvey Goodstein Foundation, PA

Trump Foundation, Israel

Ethel and Lester Sutker, IL

Norma and Emanuel, z”l, Holzer, NY

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc., MD

The Kolatch Family Foundation, NJ

The Maurice and Viviene Wohl Philanthropic Foundation, London

Ria and Tim Levart, NJ

$1,000,000 + Ellen, z”l, and Meyer Koplow, NY The Moise Y. Safra Foundation, NY Ellen and Stanley Wasserman, NY Gloria Zeisel, NY


$100,000-$249,999 Anonymous, NY

Cheryl and Abraham Kramer, NJ Seed the Dream Foundation, PA

Canada Foundation, Israel


Harriet and Heshe Seif, NJ

Lee and Louis Benjamin, NY

Yedidut Toronto, Israel

Gazit-Globe, Israel

Laurie and Eli Bryk, NY

Howard Zeisel, NY

Kirsch Foundation, Israel

Kitty Hoory, z”l, Israel

Mary and Elliot Zeisel, NY

The Barbara and Fred Kort Foundation, CA

Sarena and David Koschitzky, Canada

Molly and Jack Zwanziger, IL

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Ike, Molly and Steven Elias Foundation, NY

Hamifal Education Childrens Home, Israel Russell Jay Hendel, MD Sylvia Holder, z’l, NJ Sarah Liron and Sheldon Kahn, CA Sandra and Evan Roklen, CA Helena Inga and Marc Singer, Israel

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Mitzi Golden, NY

Charitable Trust, NY

Blackman Foundation, CA

Harwit Charitable Trust, CA

Adina Straus, NY

Selma and Jacob Dyckman, NY

Laura and Jonathan Heller, NY

Zahava and Moshael Straus, NJ

Amy, z”l, and Jimmy Haber, NY

Mildred, z”l, and Alvin Hellerstein, NY

Audrey and Chaim Trachtman, NY

Robert Kent, z”l, PA

Audrey and Max Wagner, NY

Kirkland & Ellis LLP, NY


Ari Wexler, Israel

Anonymous, CA

Kislev Tuvla Veschar, Israel

Yoreinu Foundation, Israel

Anonymous, Israel

Brenda and Albert Kalter, NY Evelyn and Lawrence Kraut, NJ Sharon and Morris Silver, CA Walter Silver, FL

Gitta and Richard Koppel, Israel Nancy and Josh Korff, NY


The Joan S. and Leon Meyers Foundation, NY

Anonymous, FL

Barbara and Joel, z”l, Rascoff, NY

Anonymous, MA

Micheline and Marc Ratzersdorfer, z”l, Israel

Anonymous, NY Anonymous, MA

Norman and Bettina Roberts Foundation, NJ

Jewel and Ted Edelman, NY

Rose and Kurt Stanger

Rita and Eugene Schwalb, FL Shirley and Morris Trachten, z”l, Family Foundation, Israel

Anonymous, NY


Trudy and Ted, z”l, Abramson, FL

Debbie and Michael Alpert, NY

Max & Anna Baran, Ben & Sarah Baran and Milton Baran, z”l, CA

Grace, Shua, Jacob Ballas Charitable Trust, Israel

Debbie and Julio Berger, NY

Adena and Ezra Dyckman, NY

Zelda and Solomon Berger, NY

Glencore Foundation, Israel

Daisy Berman, NY

Tamar and Eric Goldstein, NY

Anne Bernstein, CA

Pnina and Jacob Graff, CA

Helen and Henry Bienenfeld

As of February 26, 2018. We apologize if your name was inadvertently left off this list.


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Anonymous, NJ

Deborah Stern Blumenthal and Michael Blumenthal, NJ

The Dorothy Phillips Michaud Charitable Trust, CA

Anonymous, NY

Lotte, z”l, and Ludwig Bravmann, NY

Judy and Albert Milstein, IL

Anonymous, NY

Ethlynne and Stephen Brickman, MA

Moskowitz Foundation, Israel

Eliyahu Maccabi Carraso, Israel

Marilyn and Leon Moed, NY Ilan Nissan/Goodwin Procter LLP


Foundation, PA

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Anonymous, NY Anonymous, PA Lisa Bellows Ablin and Jason Ablin, CA

Alan Docter, FL Elaine and Lewis Dubroff, NY Hattie and Arthur Dubroff, NJ Susan Ederson, NY Linda and Barry Eichler, PA & NY Sherry and Aaron Eidelman, NY Iris and Stephen Feldman, NY Sheila and Kenneth Fields, NJ Sylvia and Carl, z”l, Freyer, NJ Gabriella and David Fridman, NY Lilly and Alfred Friedman, NY Marisa and Andrew Gadlin, NY

Sarah and Maurice Aghion, MA

Shifra and Perry Garber, NY

Nicole and Raanan Agus, NY

Linda and Norman Garfield, PA

Randi Schatz Allerhand and Joseph S. Allerhand, NY

Rita Geller, IL

Daniel Altshuler, CA

Lakie Gilden, z”l, CA

Amdocs, Israel

Leelah and Joseph Gitler, Israel

Ann and Hy Arbesfeld, NY

Abigail and Ari Glass, NY

Asher Foundation, Israel

Miriam and Felix Glaubach, NY

Lolly and Harris Bak, NY

Shari and Maurice Gluckstadt, NY

Rachel, z”l, and Martin Balsam, NY

Paulette and Max, z”l, Goldberg, NY

Joan and Shael Bellows, IL

Esther and Jack Goldman, NY

Ruderman Family Foundation, MA

Tamar and Ethan Benovitz, Israel

Anne and Sheldon Golombeck, NY

Shirley and Milton Sabin, FL

Phyllis and Edward Berkowitz, NY

Lucy S. Gonda, CA

Erica and Robert Schwartz, NY

Vivian and Stanley Bernstein, NY

Gruer Family Foundation, CA

Shemesh Foundation, Israel

Andrea and Bryan Bier, NJ

Sandra E. Goodstein and Arthur Rosenblatt, PA

Debbie and David Isaac, NY

Judy and Isaac Sherman, NY

Evelyn and Isaac Blachor, NY

Ithaca United Jewish Community, NY

Deena and Adam Shiff, NY

Beth and Reuben Blumenthal, NY

Salia and Ruven Silia, Israel

Bnei Akiva, Israel

Rabbi Arthur Jacobowitz, z”l, Israel

Marilyn and Herbert, z”l, Smilowitz, NJ

Sari and Stuart Braunstein, NY

Suzanne and Norman Javitt, NY

Sondra and Myron Sokal, NY

Ruth and Hillel Kellerman, CA

Nellie and Aharon Stavisky, Israel

Carol and Arnold Caviar, KS

Keren HaYesod, Israel

Ina and David Tropper, NY

Kibbutz Mishmar HaEmek, Israel

Judy and Morry Weiss/SapirsteinStone-Weiss Foundation, OH

Vanessa and Raymond Chalme, NY Michael Cleeman, NY Rosa and Isaac Cohanzad, CA Marion Crespi, NY Jone and Allen Dalezman, MA Brett Elias and Sean Elias, NY Trudy and Sol, z”l, Englander, NY Ruth and Gene Fax, MA Lisa Rosenbaum and Ronald Fisher, MA Rosalyn and Ira Friedman, NJ Layla and Evan Green, CA Paula Yudenfriend and Arlin Green, PA

Edith and Herman Itzkowitz, PA

Ruth and Daniel Krasner, NY Rochelle and Seymour, z”l, Kraut, NJ Ruth M. Finglass and Kevin A. Kubach, MD

North American Conference of Ethiopian Jews, Israel Or Peace for Children and Youth, Israel Owl Rock Capital Partners LP, NY Regina Peterseil, NY Lauren and Mitchell Presser, NY Price Waterhouse Cooper/ Andrew Cristinzio, FL Jerald Ptashkin, CA Marsha Roth, Israel Jennie and Avi Rothner, IL

Western Wall Heritage Foundation, Israel

Adrianne and Leon Brum, FL Margaret and Chaim Charytan, NY Michelle Chrein, NY Barbara and Melvyn Ciment, MD Trina and Paul, z”l, Cleeman, NY Sherry and Neil Cohen, NY

Nazim Zilkha/Dechert LLP, NY

Shevi and Milton Cohen, NY

Helene and Gerald Zisholtz, NY

Diane and Howard Cole, NY Steven Cooperman, NY

Ruth and Robert Lewis, NY

Randi and Alan Gelman, Israel

Gorlin Family Foundation, MD Sara and Ronald Gottlieb, FL Sharon and Melvin Gross, NY Phyllis Hammer, MA Debbie and Robert Hartman, IL Howard Heller, MA Debbie and Eddie Herbst, CA Hertz Family Foundation, CA Aviva Hoschander-Sulzberger and Vernon Sulzberger, NY Max and Sunny Howard Memorial Fund, NY Shulamit and Joakim Isaacs, Israel Peggy and Robert Insel, NY Sonia Bodenstein-Izenstark and Ira Izenstark, CA

Jennifer and Marc Lipschultz, NY


Elissa and Neil Crespi, NY

Rita Lowi, CA

Anonymous, CA

Melvin S. Cutler Foundation, MA

Zipporah and Arnold Marans, NY

Anonymous, FL

Lisa Dardashti, PA

Debra Jakubovitz-Fletcher and Tim Fletcher, CA

Etella and Haim Marcovici, NY

Anonymous, Israel

Emily and Paul Dauber, NJ

Barbara and Manfred Joseph, NY

Lauren and Ezra Merkin, NY

Anonymous, Israel

Selma Daye, CA

Connie and Alan Kadish, NJ

Elaine and Robert Jacobs, NY

As of February 26, 2018. We apologize if your name was inadvertently left off this list.



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Nancy and Benjamin Sporn, NY Francine and Aaron Stein, NJ Blimie and Joel Strauss, NJ Randi and David Sultan, NY Nechama and Howard Taber, NY Talpiot Religious Children’s Village, Israel

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Rose and Jacob Levine, z”l, CA

Evelyn Reichenthal, TX

Hermann Kaiser, NJ

Sylvia and Norman Levine, FL

Reut Foundation, Israel

Ruth and Jerome Kamerman, NY

Dorothy and Robert Lewis, NY

Rose Rich, z’l, CA

Stacey and David Kanbar, NY

Mindy and Seymour Liebman, NY

Ruth and William, z”l, Kantrowitz, NY

Audrey and Haskel Lookstein, NY

Fritzie and Sheldon, z”l, Robinson, IL

Harriet and Joel Kaplan, NY

Rita Lourie-Galena, PA & NY

Elissa and Michael Katz, NJ

Malka Lozowick, Israel

Keren Limudai Hemshech, Israel

Adama Makhteshim, Israel

Keren Roi, Israel

Meira and Solomon Max, NY

Deborah and Alan Kestenbaum, NY

Manette and Louis Mayberg, MD

Rochelle Stern Kevelson, NY

Benay and Ira Meisels, NY

Diane and Barry Kirschenbaum, FL

Myra Mitzner, NY

Chani and Steven Klein, NY

Sylvia Nadel, z”l, OH

The Klibanoff Family, NJ

Gloria and Burton Nusbacher, NY

Beth Chiger and Neil Sambrowsky, NY

Jane Klitsner, Israel

Carole Nussbaum, FL

Tammy and Kenny Schaum, NY

Joyce and Jeremy Wertheimer, MA

Laurie and Robert Koppel, NY

Bea and Irwin, z”l, Peyser, NY

Jan and Sheldon Schechter, NY

Booky and Jerome Wildes, NY

Ethan Kra, NJ

Hedy and Paul Peyser, MD

Esther and William Schulder, NJ

Stella and Samy Ymar, MD

Shani and David Kramer, NJ

Suzy and Paul Peyser, NY

Deanne and Leonard Shapiro, Israel

Esther and Dov Zeidman, NY

Mark Kristoff, NY

Vicki and Jerry Platt, NY

Ruth and Irwin Shapiro, NY

Tamar and Benjamin Zeltser, NY

Suri and David Kufeld, NY

Esther and Donald Press, NY

Chana and Daniel Shields, NJ

Charles Zeluf, Israel

Edy and Jacob Kupietzky, IL

Tzippi and Ira Press, NJ

Jane Shiff, NY

Eva Zilz, NY

Donna and Jeffrey Lawrence, MD

Judy and Jerry Pressner, NY

Mollie Siegel, NJ

Nathan Zussman, Israel

Diane and David Lent, NY

Rose Ptashkin, CA

Rosalyn and Richard Slifka, MA

Kari and Joshua Levine, NY

Joyce and Stanley Raskas, NY

Sara and Gabriel Solomon, MD

Kristina Reiko Cooper and Len Rosen, Israel

Lilly Tempelsman, NY Sandra, z”l, and Max Thurm, NY Susan and Fred Toczek,CA Marilee and Michael Tolwin, CA Bertie and Fred Tryfus, NY

Vivian and Solomon, z”l, Rosen, FL

Amy and Jeffrey Verschleiser, NY

Miriam and Howard Rosenblum, NJ

Paula and Leslie Walter, NY

Gale and Eric Rothner, IL

Anne and Mark Wasserman, NY

Elizabeth and Gidon Rothstein, NY

Marion and William Weiss, NJ

Leah and Arnold Rotter, CA

Roselyn and Walter, z”l, Weitzner, NY

Hedda Rudoff, NY

Linda and Stanley Weissbrot, IL Linda and Steven Weissman, NY

As of February 26, 2018. We apologize if your name was inadvertently left off this list.

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Inside AMIT (April 2018)  
Inside AMIT (April 2018)