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B U I L D I N G I S R A E L . O N E C H I L D AT A T I M E .

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AMIT Kfar Blatt

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winter2015 By Debbie Isaac

I OFTEN FIND THAT IT IS DIFFICULT TO explain to people unfamiliar with AMIT what exactly it is that we do. As with any good non-profit organization, we have developed what is euphemistically called “the elevator speech,” which refers to how we describe our mission in the time that one might during an elevator ride. For many organizations, especially those that have a single focus, this may in fact be enough time to acquaint someone with their mission. With AMIT, this is not the case. How does one distill 90 years of achievement into a two-minute spiel? How does one convey the breadth and depth of the work that we do? In fact, it took me some time after becoming involved to get a really good feel for the impact that we have. I am fortunate in that I have been able to see first-hand the results of the work that we all have put in. One example: I have visited Kfar Blatt Youth Village many times. Kfar Blatt is home to over 400 students, including grades seven through twelve, as well as those attending our mechina program and our junior college. The students are generally either escaping difficult home situations or seeking to mend a troubled past. In most cases, Kfar Blatt is the first caring, normal home life that they have experienced. The students live with surrogate families who encourage them and nurture them, and they are motivated to succeed by the caring educational and therapy staff. It is especially heartening to meet with young people who have gone on to build wonderful families and successful careers of their own. (An article on Kfar Blatt can be found on page 14). On the other end of the spectrum is Midreshet Be’er in Yerucham, way down in the southern part of Israel (see article on page 22). Midreshet Be’er is one of only three hesder-like programs for women in the country, and some of the best and the brightest vie for spots there after finishing high school. Students spend time on their own high-level Judaic studies

while working with students at the Kamah School (an AMIT high school for girls in Yerucham) and working in the community as part of their service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Perhaps most important, in this issue we introduce “Ellen’s Kids,” a program dedicated to the memory of our Board member and dear friend Ellen Koplow, z”l. Ellen made many trips to Israel to witness the success of AMIT programs and was especially taken with the efficacy of the program we originally called “Tochnit 80.” Now renamed to memorialize Ellen’s commitment to it, Tochnit 80 was designed to provide additional teaching and coaching hours for students who were having difficulty passing the all-important bagrut exams. In order for a young person to obtain postgraduate education, to serve in a meaningful way in the army or to just gain decent employment, he or she must have passed a minimum number of bagrut exams in various subjects. Today, as a result of the Ellen’s Kids program, 83% of AMIT’s students achieve a basic bagrut as compared to just 62% nationally. AMIT is defined by all of these programs and by many others in between, each of which provides an educational opportunity for a young person that would not otherwise have been available to her or him. For most of our students, this means a level of education not usually offered in their cities and communities. AMIT strives to ensure that each child reaches his/her full potential and has the foundation for a happy and fulfilling life. I hope that through reading various editions of this magazine, as well as through visiting our facilities and programs, you, our supporters, have a good feel for our successes and are able to make known to all of your friends and relatives the value of our efforts. During Chanukah, we gave beautiful gifts to our children. Consider giving the children in Israel the opportunity to soar high and live the best life they can.  Winter 2015 :: AMIT MAGAZINE :: 3

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winter 2015 – choref 5775 Vol. LXXXVII No. 1



FEATURES 10 :: ELLEN’S KIDS. THE GIFT OF KINDNESS The extraordinary life of Ellen Koplow, z”l, her love of AMIT and her family’s generous donation in honor of her memory. By Ethan M. Segal



AMIT Kfar Blatt’s post-high school mechina program prepares AMIT’s most vulnerable male graduates to serve in the IDF, master a profession and live meaningful, independent lives. By Michele Chabin


Recent events, student stories, school projects, chesed initiatives and more.


By Cheryl Shaanan and Robert E. Sutton


Pioneering a new form of hesder yeshiva for girls. By Helga Abraham


B U I L D I N G I S R A E L . O N E C H I L D AT A T I M E .

About The Cover


Kfar Blatt high school building in Petach Tikva.

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Reaching the most vulnerable and changing their lives.


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National Office 817 Broadway New York, NY 10003 1-800-989-AMIT (2648) 212-477-4720 Fax: 212-353-2312 email: Baltimore/Boston/Washington DC 2800 Stone Cliff Drive, Unit #112 Baltimore, MD 21209 410-484-2223 410-370-9411 Call for Fax: 410-484-2223 email: Chicago 3856 B West Oakton Skokie, IL 60076 847-677-3800 847-372-8702 Fax: 847-982-0057 email:

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Cleveland 23743 Greenlawn Avenue Beachwood, OH 44122 216-382-4441 email: Southeast Region 2700 North 29th Ave. Suite 203 Hollywood, FL 33020 954-922-5100 Fax: 954-922-5199 email: Los Angeles 1122 S. Robertson Blvd., #9 Los Angeles, CA 90035 310-859-4885 Fax: 310-859-4875 email:

Philadelphia P.O. Box 342 Wynnewood, PA 19096 410-484-2223 410-370-9411 Call for Fax: 410-484-2223 email: AMIT UK Friends of AMIT Women UK 152/154 Coles Green Rd. London NW2 7HD Phone: +44-208-438-6353 email: AMIT FRANCE c/o: Mrs. Carole Hannaux 20 Chemin des Brasseurs, 57500 Saint-Avold, France phone: +33-611-487-314 email:

AMIT Kfar Blatt

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AMIT Switzerland c/o: Jennifer Osborn Unter Altstadt 10 6301 Zug, Switzerland Phone: + 41-41-729-0808 email: AMIT Israel – Petach Tikva 28 HaMaccabim St. Petach Tikva 49220, Israel Phone: +972-3-912-3171 Fax: +972-3-912-3166 AMIT Israel – Jerusalem Migdal Ha’ir 34 Ben Yehuda St. 8th Fl. Jerusalem 9423001, Israel Phone: +972-2-673-8360 Fax: +972-2-673-8359


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:: President’s Message


:: Dor L’Dor A Letter from Jerusalem By Judith Mandelbaum, z”l


:: Dvar Torah By Rabbi Steven Burg

DEVELOPMENT NEWS 26 :: AMIT 2014 Annual Dinner 28 :: Greater Long Island Gala 29 :: Challenge Accepted


29 :: Fourth Annual AFLI Bowl 30 :: Guys Night Out 30 :: Tamar Erlbaum Twinning 32



:: Israel Annual Dinner

34 :: Philly Generations in Israel 34 :: A Night at Nordstrom 35

:: An Evening with Daniel Silva

34 :: N.E. Nordstrom Event 35

:: Philly Gen-in-Israel


:: Tyler Edwards Bar Mitzvah

36 :: Chicago Annual Dinner 37

:: Spanning AMITworld

38 :: President’s Circle

34 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. Some 70 percent of AMIT students live in development towns or other “peripheral” areas of the country. AMIT approaches each child as an individual, maximizing his or her potential, and enabling our students to become vital, productive members of Israeli society. The AMIT schools promote religious tolerance, service to the state and the recognition that every child is blessed with unique talents and abilities. Founded in 1925, AMIT operates 108 schools, youth villages, surrogate family residences and other programs, constituting Israel’s only government-recognized network of religious Jewish education incorporating academic and technological studies.

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President Debbie Isaac Executive Vice President Andrew Goldsmith Vice President, Marketing and Communications Chana Shields Editor in Chief/Creative Director Robert Ephraim Sutton Director of Marketing and Communications Ethan M. Segal Design Game6Media Editor Emerita Micheline Ratzersdorfer Signed articles do not necessarily represent the opinion of the organization. Reproduction of any material requires permission and attribution. To view us online visit AMIT Magazine (ISSN 1085-2891) is published quarterly; Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer by AMIT. AMIT National Office: 817 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10003. 1-800-989-AMIT, 212-477-4720, Fax 212-353-2312 email: Periodicals postage paid at New York, N.Y., and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to AMIT: 817 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10003.

AMIT, founded in 1925, has a proud history of service to Israel and the Jewish people.

Our name, in English, stands for “AMericans for

Israel and Torah.” In Hebrew, AMIT is an acronym for “Irgun Mitnadvot l’ma’an Yisrael v’Torata” (Organization of Volunteers for Israel and Her Torah).

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DOR L’DOR THIS COMING YEAR, AMIT celebrates its 90th anniversary. To mark this milestone, AMIT magazine will present a series of articles and special sections beginning with a “Letter from Jerusalem,” by Judy Mandelbaum, z”l. Although the letter was written in 1958, it’s content rings true today. 

repainted and renovated. In neighboring Raanana, beautiful Kfar Batya thrilled us as it has so many people by its pleasant gardens, the many modern buildings which included a cobbler, where two Ethiopian boys were learning to make shoes, its carpentry and weaving and handicraft rooms (here we bought a hand-made Tallis for our son Joel’s Bar Mitzvah), as well as the lovely dining hall and synagogue. Three hundred and fifty children live there and are completely self-sufficient due to the flourishing and fertile 300 dunams of farmland.

Letter from Jerusalem

Perhaps the most touching sight was the little preschool nursery in Tel Raanan. In a rented Arab house live some 50 children from the ages of three to six. Brought here from broken or maladjusted homes, they learn to live happily again. Seeing their dormitories with the clean little cots, watching them play outdoors or at arts and crafts, observing them at lunch eating hot soup, singing cute little nursery songs for our benefit, it was hard to remember that this was not just a normal nursery school set-up. But when I looked at them, many the same age as my own twins; at the little boy with the big brown eyes and running nose; at the little girl with the front tooth missing; at another girl who kept right on spooning up her soup while all the others stopped to sing because she was a new child whose father had remarried and had locked her out of the house, then I knew that these children could be given some measure of physical and emotional security only because of Mizrachi Women in America. How quickly we forget that every meeting we attend, every show we go to, every luncheon we buy a ticket for, is the clean sheets, the hot soup, the very health and happiness of these children and all the children in every project of Mizrachi Women.

July 25, 1958 Dear Florence, I am certain that you must have felt, as I did, when you heard and read reports of people returning from Israel. Everyone uses superlatives, everything is wonderful, marvelous, thrilling. Well, Florence, I must admit that I fall into the same category. Israel is one place where the realization measures up to and even surpasses the expectation. There is no question that the impact of Mizrachi Women is strongly felt by the tourist who see their work for the first time. Just as important, the impact is felt and appreciated by every resident of the land. I am, however, disturbed by the frailty of the human mind – and I speak for myself – that with all of our concentration on working to support the wonderful projects of Mizrachi Women the real issue escaped me. I never clearly translated to myself the idea of – MONEY BEING RAISED into the reality of CHILDREN BEING HELPED. In Jerusalem I saw Zeirot – the first Mizrachi building in Israel, and was greatly impressed by the immaculate and modern appearance of the building where girls are taught many vocations and which now houses a kindergarten, too. Then we visited the Mercaz Schunati, a day camp for children from Iraq, Morocco, Hungary, etc. The boys and girls swarmed about us in eager-eyed fascination to hear about America, our plane trip to Israel, and our own children at home. Friendly and alert, they were delighted that we could converse with them in Hebrew. Bet Zeirot in Tel Aviv was also most impressive, despite the fact that we saw it in the midst of being

I’m glad I was there to see it and I’m proud of our Far Rockaway women for doing so much so well. I know that this New Year will see a continuation and expansion of our wonderful work. Regards to all, Judy

Judy Mandelbaum was a longtime member of Mizrachi Women (AMIT) as was her mother Freda Werber, z”l. Judy’s daughter, Debbie Lyman continues that tradition as a member and as the Director of Operations for AMIT. Winter 2015 :: AMIT MAGAZINE :: 7

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F KINDNESS By Ethan M. Segal


ast year, the light shining upon the world dimmed ever so slightly with the passing of a special soul—Ellen Koplow, z”l, a devoted Board Member at AMIT and one of the kindest

people one could ever meet. Fortunately her legacy lives on with the dedication of a landmark program named in her honor, known as Ellen’s Kids, thanks to a $6 million endowment made by the Koplow family. This is the largest gift made in AMIT’s 90-year history, and it will affect not only the current generation of Jewish children and adolescents living in Israel, but generations to come. To understan how this gift will have such far-reaching effects, one must first understand how Ellen’s Kids came into existence. Ellen came originally from the Greater Philadelphia area. She attended college at Boston University, where she met her future husband, Meyer Koplow. Meyer transferred to Brandeis University,

and they were married the week before his college graduation in 1972. They then moved to New York, where he attended NYU School of Law. Following his graduation in 1976 from law school, Meyer was hired at the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz where he has remained at until today—38 years later. A few years later, the Koplows moved to New Rochelle, N. Y., where they joined the local AMIT chapter after becoming friends with some of the chapter members in the community. They had three children, all of whom are adults now, and all are active with AMIT in their respective communities. Meyer is proud of his five grandchildren and is expecting a sixth grandchild (due next spring). continued on page 12

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continued from page 11 Over time, Ellen became increasingly involved in AMIT as she learned more about the important work AMIT accomplished with Israeli children. She joined a mission to Israel, where she saw the success AMIT achieved firsthand. As AMIT moved higher on Ellen’s list of priorities, it also rose to the top of the Koplow’s contribution list. Then, approximately 10 years ago, Ellen and her husband Meyer led the AMIT President’s Circle dinner as co-chairs. At the dinner, Ellen addressed the need to form different levels of giving opportunities within the President’s Circle in an effort to increase overall support to AMIT. That dinner marked the beginning of what would become the multi-tiered President’s Circle. To demonstrate their commitment to encouraging different levels of giving to AMIT, Ellen and Meyer spontaneously offered to match all increased President’s Circle contributions that the dinner attendees would make in a threeminute period. Well over $100,000 in new contributions were made by

attendees at that dinner, which the Koplows matched dollar for dollar. The contributions immediately advanced the donors into new levels of recognition within the President’s Circle. During a recent interview, Meyer Koplow recalled one of his fondest AMIT memories when he traveled to Israel alone in 1995 and visited the AMIT Nordlicht Technological High School in Jerusalem. Seeing the appreciation from AMIT students who were learning skills that would help them lead prosperous lives and make a positive impact on Israeli society made him feel elated to be supporting AMIT’s work. “I remember the hugs I received from these high school boys— it was such a great feeling to see how

The wedding of Jonathan and Jen Koplow

Meyer and Ellen they were being empowered to lead happy and successful lives despite the challenges many of them were facing,” Meyer recalled. Ellen and Meyer later helped establish the Harvey Goodstein Sports Complex at the AMIT Kfar Batya youth village in Ra’anana in memory of Ellen’s father, Harvey. They considered periodically how they could make a larger gift to AMIT that would have a broader impact. For a number of years, they were at the top level of AMIT’s annual donors. And for a time, Meyer was very involved with getting a new synagogue built in his community, where he invested significant funds and time. When Ellen became ill, Meyer asked her if they were ever to underwrite a major project at AMIT what she would want it to be. She expressed that she wanted it to be used toward programming that would directly affect the lives of AMIT schoolchildren because, “Ellen not only cared about the little cute children who were easy to get attached to, but all the kids at AMIT,” noted Meyer. Both were interested in AMIT’s Tochnit 80 program, which aims to enable at least 80% of the students at every AMIT school to earn a bagrut (matriculation) diploma. Ellen and Meyer were impressed by AMIT’s ability to conceive and execute a program for these kids, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds,

12 :: Winter 2015 :: AMIT MAGAZINE

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so that the bagrut success rate in the schools could be moved from the 50% to 60% range to 83%. Earning a bagrut is a sine qua non for living a comfortable and rewarding life in Israel. Those who do not pass the exam cannot become officers in the army or receive a post-high school education; their futures are markedly different from those who do. After Ellen’s untimely passing, Meyer decided that securing and expanding the Tochnit 80 program with a $6 million gift and dedicating it as “Ellen’s Kids” would be the ideal way to memorialize Ellen and her unlimited generosity. She was known for extraordinary kindness and generosity to everyone—she wasn’t particular regarding those she helped. She treated everybody with the same kindness and respect. One of Meyer’s hopes is that the students will ask who Ellen was, and that her spirit of kindness will be conveyed to generations of AMIT kids. According to Meyer, “Given the difficulty of educating children who come from very different backgrounds, elevating the bagrut pass rate well above [that] of the national pass rate is nothing short of astounding—and to be able to know that, by supporting this program, Ellen and I will help ensure that not only this generation, but future generations of kids who otherwise might not pass the bagrut exam have every opportunity to do so, is really a privilege.” Meyer sees the Ellen’s Kids program as potentially having a much broader impact on not only the future of Israel, but the world. “Given the advanced research and technology developments that have originated from Israel, it is highly conceivable that one of these kids may even find a vaccine against cancer one day,” suggested Meyer. And he recalled a popular advertisement that declared that a mind is a terrible thing to waste. “That’s what happens when kids don’t get the type of attention and extensive support that enables them to excel in school,” said Meyer.

Ellen and Meyer back in the day. He is hoping the lessons that AMIT has learned in developing this program will be shared and transferred to communities in the U.S. that face similar educational challenges. Meyer thinks it likely that his gift will inspire other people to make similar contributions to AMIT and toward an endowment to further the AMIT educational system. His fond expectation is that others will be motivated to join him by adopting the Ellen’s Kids program in their own names within individual schools throughout the AMIT reshet (network of schools). By making gifts toward the program, donors will join him in experiencing the great joy of directly affecting AMIT kids and seeing the outcomes of their support on a regular basis. Said Meyer, “There’s nothing like the feeling you get when you visit Israel on an AMIT mission or on your own, and someone in medical/law school or in an officer’s uniform comes and tells you that they never would have been able to accomplish this without the special attention from AMIT. You have impacted their lives and their kids and

grandkids and impacted contributions toward the greater Israeli society. Given the things that regular Israelis contribute on the education and research front, the potential to change lives around the world is enormous.” Meyer concluded the interview by mentioning that Ellen passed away on erev Rosh Hashanah last year and that the funeral was held after the conclusion of the three days of Yom Tov and Shabbat. After the funeral, people told him that, after listening to the story of her life, they realized that they could “do better” and that they were inspired to perform more acts of kindness. And Meyer affirmed that “It’s not only easy to be kind, but it’s the right thing to do, and it’s contagious.” He hopes that by renaming the program Ellen’s Kids, people will be reminded of, and influenced to emulate, Ellen’s kindness.  Ethan M. Segal is the Director of Marketing and Communications for AMIT.

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ETACH TIKVA, Israel – Given his difficult upbringing, no one in the social services department of this city just east of Tel Aviv would have been surprised if Gil Nahari, now 19, had fallen prey to crime or drugs.

Abused by his mother, he was handed over to his grandparents at the age of seven. At age ten he moved in with his divorced father but ended up in a boarding school at twelve and another one at thirteen. Back with his father at fourteen, he enrolled in AMIT Yeshivat Kfar Ganim as a day student, and, at fifteen, at the AMIT Kfar Blatt Youth Village in Petach Tikva. continued on page 16

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continued from page 15 A self-described trouble-maker, Nahari, now 19, said he wasn’t ready to take responsibility for his actions until near the end of high school, despite the efforts of AMIT Blatt’s dedicated staff, who saw his pain but also his potential. It was then that he decided to enroll in AMIT Kfar Blatt’s post-high school mechina program, which prepares AMIT’s most vulnerable male graduates to serve in the IDF, master a profession and live meaningful, independent lives. The 18-month-long mechina program combines religious studies, Jewish studies, training in auto mechanics and industrial management along with lifeskills training at the village’s michlalah (junior college). Studies at the mechina are coordinated with the IDF and fall under the supervision of the Ministry of Education. Female students in the midrasha— the mechina’s sister program—receive comparable life-skills training in addition to classes in Jewish studies and training to become legal or medical administrative assistants. A whopping 98 percent of michlalah students, who live on campus in dormitory buildings, enlist in the IDF or do National Service. “In the mechina I’ve learned how to take control of myself and how to gain self-confidence and prepare myself for the army and beyond,” Nahari, now a dedicated student with a passion for learning, said on a warm autumn day on AMIT Kfar Blatt’s leafy campus. “And I’ve even learned how to be a good husband and father, things I could never learn from my own parents.” While not all of the youth village’s students face the same difficulties Nahari has overcome, “all of our children come from homes with severe economic and/or social problems,” said Maya Avivi, AMIT Kfar Blatt’s principal. Every one of the youth village’s students, from seventh grade through junior college, come from dysfunctional families dealing with deep socioeconomic problems, absorption problems, chronic physical and mental illness, violence, sexual abuse, drug addiction, prostitution, imprisonment

or abandonment. Nearly 200 of the village’s 500 students are from Ethiopian families. Said Avivi, “Our goal is to ensure that every student who leaves the village will do so with self-confidence and the tools, whether it be a partial or full matriculation exam, to succeed in life.” AMIT Kfar Blatt’s kibbutz-like campus, full of expansive lawns and low-set buildings, houses a middle school, a high school and the junior college. Middle-school students receive a full school day and after-school activities but return home every evening. Depending on their situation, middleschoolers have the option of living at home (external students) or in one of the campus’s twelve group homes, called mishpactonim. Every group home has a set of “surrogate parents,” usually young married couples, some with children, who provide the 9th to 12th graders with love and a positive model of how loving family members behave toward one another. Nati and Sivan Hazan are one such couple. They live in one of the campus’s two newly renovated mishpactonim, along with more than a dozen boys and their own three children. “We feel like we’re fulfilling a

mission, that we teach by example,” said Nati as he supervised some of the boys who were eating lunch or lounging on sofas in the mishpacton’s dining and living area. Other boys were gathered in the residence’s new computer alcove. The Hazans help the students navigate their homework, reach and obtain goals, and learn how to solve problems. Recently the couple helped one of their charges sit shiva in the mishpachton. “The father of one of the students died and he wanted to sit shiva here, the place he feels most at home. “It was a learning experience for all of us,” Nati said. While the Hazans are there for the boys day and night, seven days a week, Nati said they don’t feel burdened. “When you give to others you receive. We receive a lot from the boys.” Nitsan Aryeh, who is a surrogate parent along with her husband Uri, said she helps the girls in her mishpachton figure out how to solve problems among themselves. “We also work on how to build relationships between couples,” Aryeh said in her apartment, where a sign with the word “Home” hangs from the wall. “The girls see us every day and it’s like a mirror. We see how they see us

Kibbutz-like campus at Kfar Blatt

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and we ask ourselves where we need to improve, as a couple and as parents.” Galit Cohen, who serves as both a counselor and English teacher for the village’s high schoolers, said the students need and receive the kind of educational and emotional support they would never receive at another school. “Seventy percent have no connection with at least one of their parents, and the parent who is present often can’t provide the help they need.” Cohen said that some of the students who still live at home don’t have enough money to buy a bottle of shampoo or a tube of toothpaste. “When our counselors visit them at their homes, sometimes there is nothing in their refrigerators. They feel ashamed.” Focused on rehabilitation as well as education, AMIT Kfar Blatt provides students with emotional therapy when needed, as well as a great deal of after-hours tutoring. In fact, many of the teachers return later in the day to provide tutoring in everything from math and Hebrew language to English and physics. The high-school students, whether religious or secular—AMIT Kfar Blatt is one of the few Israeli schools where religious and secular study and live together—also have at least seven to ten hours of Jewish studies per week. Like many other Israeli high school graduates, those who enroll in AMIT Kfar Blatt’s post-high school programs want a year or two to prepare for life, which in Israel means military service or National Service and whatever may lie beyond. But due to their difficult upbringing, these AMIT students have many more challenges than most of their peers. “Usually they don’t have parents who can help them choose between this or that position in the army, or this or that program,” said Avital Yehoshua, head of the midrasha. “There’s no one at home to accompany them through life.”

Students and teacher in the Auto Mechanics workshop During this preparatory year, the midrasha expects the girls to take on adult responsibilities: waking up on their own at 6:00 a.m., managing their time, planning and living on a budget and going food shopping, among other things. In addition to their academic and Jewish studies classes, the students take classes in communication skills, how to build a loving relationship, personal budgeting and how to care for their bodies. The midrasha’s graduates “come to be with us on Shabbat,” Yehoshua says. “They talk to the younger girls and share their experiences with them.” Midrasha student Bosana Ambiala, who arrived at AMIT Kfar Blatt in the ninth grade, said her home town of Beer Yaakov “was very poor and not a place conducive to learning.” Nor could her single mother, an immigrant from Ethiopia with seven children, provide them with everything they needed. “Here, I’ve learned how to get along with people, and since enrolling in the Midrasha, I have much more selfconfidence and more self-control. I used to get very angry and anxious.”

Ambiala, 19, said she also feels more religiously grounded. “I feel strengthened in my Judaism. I keep Shabbat, the holidays. It gives me peace.” For Harel Ben-Shalom, 19, who transferred to AMIT Kfar Blatt High School when he was 16, the experience was “a life changer.” “Before coming here I was in a yeshiva and they told me I didn’t have a future. My grades were really low, and even though I felt I was a good kid, they called me a chutzpan—impudent.” Now in the post-high school mechina, Ben-Shalom is earning excellent grades. “This is the first time I’m feeling confident. I feel I can hold my own in conversation and no longer compare what I have to what other people have. I’m content with what I have and who I am.” Determined to become a career IDF officer, Ben-Shalom said he is also determined to be a good husband one day. “After studying about relationships, I understand that if I want something, so does a woman. When the time is right, it will be about us, not just me. 

Join the AMIT Kfar Blatt and Beit Hayeled Renovation Campaign and help refurbish the surrogate apartments at both of these landmark facilities. All dedications will be gratefully acknowledged with a plaque. To learn about giving opportunities, please contact Liz Klibanoff at 212.477.4737 or Winter 2015 :: AMIT MAGAZINE :: 17

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By Rabbi Steven Burg

Eastern Director, Simon Wiesenthal Center & Museum of Tolerance


find your greatness

ver the years I have found myself in numerous difficult situations, which have run the gamut from slightly awkward to extremely uncomfortable. A few years ago, I spent quite a bit of time in Germany working with the Ronald S. Lauder foundation and their dynamic CEO, Rabbi Josh Spinner; and I found myself in a tough position in Cologne. Rabbi Spinner is the person responsible for the rejuvenation of Jewish life in Germany. Many Russian Jews, due to financial issues, were forced to emigrate from Russia to Germany. There was a real danger that the next generation of their children would be lost to the Jewish people. Rabbi Spinner opened up an educational institution in Germany called the Rabbinerseminar zu Berlin to train Rabbis for communities around Germany. I was invited to address the Rabbinical ordination that was to take place in Cologne. A few weeks earlier, a local judge had ruled that circumcision was illegal because it “amounted to bodily harm,” which brought the Cologne ordination ceremony into sudden and harsh focus. The German Government sent Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle to speak on the topic.

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So what Dvar Torah does one give in Germany, in front of the Foreign Minister, with the timeless mitzvah of brit milah hanging in the balance? I would like to share my Dvar Torah from that day because I believe that it accurately describes the mission of AMIT.

We are all familiar with the first conversation that takes place between Moses and G-d. After the shock of seeing the burning bush and talking with G-d begins to fade, Moses begins to digest that he is being asked to go back to Egypt to rescue the Jewish nation. He repeatedly tries to beg off of the undertaking that G-d presents to him. At one point Moses pauses, and then asks a strange question. If he agrees to go back to Egypt to attempt to save the Jewish people, which name of G-d should he use? G-d tells him to use “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh,” loosely translated as “what will be is what will be.” What is clear is that both Moses and G-d understand exactly what is being asked and what the answer is. As for the rest of us, we don’t have a clue. We have never heard of this name of G-d—and since when does one require a special name of G-d for a mission?

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One of the greatest educators to perish during the Holocaust at the hands of the Nazis was Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapiro, also known as the Piasetzna rebbe. Rabbi Shapiro, the author of the important work “ Chovas HaTalmidim” (The Student’s Responsibility), was a master educator who always saw the inner spark in every Jewish student. While a prisoner in the Warsaw ghetto, Rabbi Shapiro continued to teach Torah and inspire his pupils. And because of a great miracle, we have his sermons from that time, which he compiled into a book called “Eish Kodesh.” It was found buried in a milk canister in the Ghetto after the war by a construction worker. Rabbi Shapiro attempted to answer our question by the light of his incredible weltanschauung (particular philosophy of life). He taught that there are two ways in which we look at our lives: We see ourselves in the present—what we are doing right now, such as reading this article. We also relate to our past—where we came from and how we got to this point. But Rabbi Shapiro also suggested a third way to look at our lives that is often neglected—the lens of the future. Where am I going and, more important, who can I become? G-d understood that Moses was having a difficult time imagining himself as the savior of the Jewish nation. G-d reminded him to focus on not what is or what was but what he could become. And G-d wanted the downtrodden Jewish people to understand that they could become the greatest nation in the world. Judaism is based upon the ability to recognize and realize one’s potential. This, I told the audience in Cologne, Germany, was the secret to the longevity of the Jewish people that both Moses and Rabbi Shapiro understood. We start at birth with the commandment to circumcise and we will continue that practice no matter who tries to stop us. Likewise, I believe that AMIT’s core mission is to teach Jewish children that they have the incredible potential to rebuild the world around them. When World War II ended and there was a tremendous influx of orphans and families to Israel, AMIT was there to tell every one of those children that he or she could achieve greatness. When Ethiopian immigration to Israel became a reality, AMIT was there to tell every one of those children that he or she could achieve greatness. When the imprisoned Jews of the Soviet Union were finally freed, AMIT was there to tell every one of those children that he or she could achieve greatness. AMIT’s mission is part and parcel of that of the Jewish state. May G-d bless all those who support and work for AMIT to create a strong and vibrant Jewish Nation. 

As a teen Rabbi Burg volunteered at AMIT Frisch Beit Hayeled in Gilo, Israel. His sister Barbara Vidomlanski has continued the family tradition by acting as the Coordinator of Student Activities for Midreshet AMIT at Beit Hayeled. Rabbi Burg lives in Bergenfield, NJ with his wife Rachel and their six incredible kids.

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HIGHLIGHTS AND SUCCESSES By Cheryl Shaanan and Robert E. Sutton

Because of your generous support, more than 30,000 students at 110 AMIT schools and programs are being educated and nurtured within a framework of academic excellence, traditional Jewish values and Zionist ideals. Here are a few ways your generous gifts made a difference. For more information visit or call 212-477-4720.

AMIT student helping to build a Sukkah


Throughout Israel, AMIT students provided assistance with the building of sukkahs for those who would otherwise have had a difficult time building one alone, such as the elderly, physically challenged individuals or single-parent families. News of the assistance spread in different ways. In Ra’anana, for example, AMIT Bienenfeld Hevruta Yeshiva and Kollel students distributed flyers in different neighborhoods. AMIT Ramla Technological High School students placed an ad in the local press, and the students of the Yeshivat AMIT Nachshon in Mateh Yehuda were referred by community centers At AMIT Fred Kahane Technological High School in Ashkelon, the goal was to build 15 sukkahs for others. However, the number of people seeking help was so great that a decision was made to prioritize and first help the elderly or the sick. Said Rabbi Avinoam Almagor, principal of AMIT Bienenfeld Hevruta Yeshiva: “Our motto at the yeshiva is that the most important thing in the world is to do a good deed for someone else, and we chose to celebrate the holiday of Sukkot by helping others so that they can celebrate as well.” 


A major in the Israeli Air Force recently met with students and teachers at Yeshivat AMIT Ashdod. The IAF major spoke about the pilots’ training course and emphasized the importance of learning through challenges and dealing with difficulties and failures. The students, who were fascinated by the major’s description, asked him many questions about the Air Force and about his part in Operation Protective Edge this past summer. The encounter made the students more determined to serve in significant roles in the IDF when their time comes. The IAF major was similarly impressed with the students and told them they are the future of the IDF and the country. 

IAF Major talking to students


Graduates of the AMIT Aspiring Doctors Program

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A group of seniors from both AMIT Tzfat Evelyn Schreiber Junior and Senior Ulpana High School, and AMIT Florin Taman Junior and Senior High School for Girls are members of the first “graduating class” of the Aspiring Doctors Program. As part of the program, students studied at the Ziv Medical Center, an affiliate of Bar-Ilan University. Students accepted to the program have the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the world of medicine and have early exposure to the medical school curriculum. 

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AMIT hikers on the Israel National Trail


Over one hundred AMIT students have taken to the Israel National Trail in memory of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, z”l, of the Givati Brigade. Hadar, a graduate of AMIT Gwen Straus Junior and Senior Science High School for Boys in Ra’anana was in Operation Protective Edge on August 1, 2014. The Israel National Trail is a hiking path that was inaugurated in 1995 and traverses the entire country. Its northern end is at the Dan Nature Reserve, near the Lebanese border in the far north of the country, and the Trail extends to Eilat at the southernmost tip of Israel on the Red Sea, a length of approximately 600 miles. Hadar’s former classmates, teachers and principal together with Hadar’s family, initiated the hike and decided to call it the Smile Trail, in honor of Hadar’s sunny personality. During the Sukkot holiday, the hikers started out at the Dan Reserve and ended at Tel Hai, where a moving ceremony was held. “Our aim is to hike the entire Israel Trail in segments and increase the numbers of people walking with us from all parts of the country. The next trip will take place at the beginning of Adar, on the birthday of Hadar and his twin brother Tzur,” said Simha Goldin, Hadar’s father, at the end of the ceremony. 

Rabbi Yaron Ben-Haim with two assistant principals


AMIT Anna Teich Ulpana was recognized as the one of the most outstanding schools in Haifa. The AMIT Ulpana was given the award for its initiatives and educational accomplishments. The ulpana combines a high level of academic studies with community service. Ministry of Education figures show that the ulpana has a 100% matriculation success rate, a rare achievement. “The schools success is the result of cooperation between the school’s administration and faculty, the Municipality, the Ministry of Education and the AMIT Network,” stated Rabbi Yaron Ben-Haim, principal of AMIT Anna Teich Ulpana. 

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Dr. Rachela Tourgeman


Dr. Rachela Tourgeman, a physics teacher at AMIT Yud Ashdod Junior and Senior High School, led a session on innovative physics teaching at a national conference held at the Weizmann Institute. As AMIT’s representative at the conference, Dr. Tourgeman told the audience about AMIT’s innovative teaching methods by which students acquire most of their knowledge through cooperative learning and research in technology-intensive learning environments. She also shared a unique program she initiated: physics class at an amusement park, where students learn the applied physics of the rides and amusements. 

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By Helga Abraham




n the desert town of Yerucham, a group of girls are completing a year of Torah study and community service, while preparing to enter the army for a two–year hitch, the last six months of which will be spent in yet another round of community service. Midreshet AMIT Be’er is a new type of educational institution. While the hesder yeshiva for boys (a five-year program combining Torah studies with military service) has existed for decades, the hesder yeshiva for girls is new. Midreshet AMIT Be’er is one of just four institutions in the country offering this type of program. But what makes this midrasha unique is its emphasis on community service. Like so many groundbreaking projects in Israel, the midrasha came to life under the most rudimentary conditions – in one room in Yerucham, with no staff and no budget, propelled solely by the vision of a few enterprising girls. Tami Biton, present principal of the midrasha, recalls how it all began: “I was a teacher in Yerucham, and I heard about a class of girls from the Pelech School in Jerusalem who were discussing what to do after high school. Half the class wanted to study Torah, the other half wanted to perform community service. So the girls came up with the idea of establishing a midrasha that combined the two. I met them and was very impressed; I told them I could give them two classes a week, and they would have to find their own community projects.” And so Midreshet Be’er took was launched in 2001 with a small group of fifteen girls who were determined to build from the ground up. Once the army entered the picture, the midrasha was able to expand its staff and institute a full-time program of Torah studies and community work. In 2009, when AMIT took over Yerucham’s Kamah School for girls, co-founded by Ms. Biton, it also agreed to take over Midreshet Be’er, with one stipulation. “We were told we were too small to be viable, and we had to have a minimum of 30 students,” recalls Biton. But after launching an extensive outreach program, the target was quickly reached; and today the midrasha receives many applications, far more than the number of available slots. The facilities are still small. Biton sits in a cramped office, which she shares with her secretary; and there is a single large classroom where all classes take place. The midrasha may be undersized, but its program is intensive. Mornings are devoted to formal studies: Tanach, Gemara, the Mishna, halachah, Jewish philosophy, Hasidism, literature and social issues. The afternoon is dedicated to community service, which includes working in schools, nursing homes and centers for women at risk, and the evenings to more studies. As a development town, with a low socio-economic population consisting of immigrants from North Africa, Iran, Russia and India, Yerucham has few of the wide-ranging social services that are available in the large cities, and the need for volunteer help is enormous. The midrasha students are known and appreciated by the locals. “We’re known throughout Yerucham as the Be’er girls,” exclaimed Adi Eliran. Adi, a nineteen-year-old student, spent a year tutoring eighth graders and assisting the staff at a nursing home. continued on page 24

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continued from page 23 In addition to the community’s specific requests for assistance, Midreshet AMIT Be’er has launched many of its own initiatives. Since 2010, it has been offering a twice-weekly ulpan, conducted by five girls, for recently arrived immigrants and even for the local Bedouin population. Salima, a mother of seven who lives in a tent outside Yerucham, has been attending the ulpan since its inception. “She wants to learn how to read and write, and her dream is to study Hebrew literature at Ben Gurion University,” says Biton smiling. Another project initiated by the midrasha is an art workshop for local artists, which doubles as an art gallery. This year, as part of the gallery’s program of activities, the midrasha girls organized a citywide art competition for artists of all ages. It takes a special type of girl to leave the attractive hub of modern Israel to go and live at the far end of the country, in a desert town with no theater or movie house. “The girls who come here,”

says Biton, “have to be very committed and have lots of motivation.” Shoshana Moskowitz, from Bet Shemesh, specifically chose Yerucham because of its location: “The desert makes the place more spiritual and gives it a different atmosphere. I like Yerucham because it is small and intimate.” Like many of her fellow students, Efrat David, from Ramat Gan, radiates with enthusiasm. “Yerucham is terrific. It’s different from anywhere else…there’s not much to do here, so you have to build your own community. This is why I like it.” Surprisingly, while most of the girls are dressed in skirts and modest tops, a number also wear trousers. When asked about this, Biton answers: “We allow our girls to wear what they want as long as they adhere to halacha. We try to be modern and observe religious law at the same time.” The midrasha’s open approach is reflected in the group of soldiers who have returned to Yerucham for six months of community work. Some wear IDF skirts, others trousers. All are religiously observant and spent their

(l-r) Oshri Wald, student at Midreshet Be’er; Hadar Shifer, soldier and counselor; Tamar Cassel, first graduate of Midreshet Be’er.

Tamar Biton, principal of Midreshet Be’er. army service primarily in the education corps helping soldiers finish their high school studies or teaching Judaism to soldiers undergoing conversion. Two girls served in the air force, one in intelligence and the other preparing navigational maps. The girls enter the army as a group and remain in contact with each other and with the midrasha throughout their service. Ayelet Levy, who taught Jewish studies to immigrant soldiers, likes the midrasha’s program because, “We begin with Torah and community and, after the army, we return to the same area and same community, thus closing the circle.” With insufficient facilities, the midrasha has drawn up plans and is raising funds for a modern building with a capacity for 80 students. Explains Biton, “We were offered a lot outside the city with a beautiful view but we chose a piece of land in an old, disadvantaged area, with an Indian synagogue on one side and a Persian on the other. We feel that we can contribute more to the city in this way.” The design of the new building, round-shaped with terraced gardens, was also given much thought. “We wanted a fusion of indoors with outdoors,” says Biton, “to reflect the essence of the midrasha, which fuses Torah studies and community work.” 

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Give Today or Tomorrow? Do Both with the Blended Gift Approach

Would you rather support Israel’s children today and see your gift at work or after your lifetime, ensuring that our students and schools benefit for years to come? With a “blended gift,” you can do both. This approach to giving can take many forms. The common thread is the combination of current and future gifts. To take advantage of the blended gift approach, you select a way to donate today that makes sense for you and then you choose a way to continue that generosity in the future through a deferred gift.

Gifts You Make Today •Cash •Stocks and Securities •Real Estate •Life Income Gifts - Charitable Gift Annuity

- Charitable Remainder Trust


Future Gifts • Bequest in Will/Trust • IRA/Retirement Plan Assets • Life Insurance • Other Beneficiary Designations

Here’s an Example: Sarah has supported AMIT for more than 20

years. She has made gifts of cash or stock each year to help with our most urgent needs.

Sarah recently read about the Beit Hayeled and Kfar Blatt Youth Village campaign to

renovate our youth residences in dire need of repairs and wanted to get involved with this

opportunity to further impact AMIT children. She decides to make an additional cash gift this year to support this important project.

Next, she met with her attorney to include a bequest to AMIT in her will, designating her estate gift to a future dedication.

Knowing that she is maximizing her impact for Israel’s children by making a gift today and continuing her legacy of support after her lifetime brings Sarah great pride.

For more information on giving Blended Gifts to AMIT, please contact Robin Isaacson at or call (954) 922-5100.

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DEVELOPMENT NEWS broadway’s new hit! AMIT 90th anniversary gala celebration


n Monday, November 10, AMIT held its 90th Anniversary Gala Celebration. The evening was a tribute to the memory of Ellen Koplow, and it marked the dedication of the Ellen’s Kids program that has been established with a generous endowment by the Koplow family. We heard inspiring words from Dr. Leah Goldin, the mother of fallen IDF solider and AMIT alumnus, Hadar Goldin z”l. Marley Kate Brem, an AMIT alumnus, spoke about how her academic and emotional recovery was a result of the many wonderful caring professionals at AMIT Kfar Blatt and the entire AMIT network.

(l-r) Jonathan Koplow, Meyer Koplow, Aliza Koplow and Joshua Goldberg (l-r) Shari and Jacob Safra, Cella Safra

We were privileged to be entertained by Tovah Feldshuh, doing a scene from Golda’s Balcony, Ron Sharpe’s emotional tribute to the fallen IDF and AMIT students, violinist Gil Shaham, pianist Orli Shaham, and the Chamber Choir from the Ramaz School. The evening was chaired by Barbara Nordlicht, Barbara Rascoff and Shari Safra 

(l-r) Debbie Moed, Marley Brem, and Debbie Isaac

(l-r) Amnon Eldar, Leah and Simha Goldin, Andrew Goldsmith

William and Ronnie Slochowsky

(l-r) Stanley and Ellen Wasserman, Brenda Kalter

Zelda and Solomon Berger

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(l-r) Anne Golombeck, Caryn Golombeck, Jill Ellman

(l-r) Niti Minkove, Dorothy Lewis, Adina Garbuz

Jules and Barbara Nordlicht

Zahava Straus and Harriet Seif

Gabby and David Fridman

Matthew and Elana Grauer

Rabbi Haskel and Audrey Lookstein

Adina Straus and Joshua Rubin

Francine Stein and Barbara Rascoff

(l-r) Rabbi Steve Bayar, Amy Koplow, Tovah Kolpow

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(l-r) Dana, Debby, Steven and Justin Gage

DEVELOPMENT NEWS AMIT Honors Local Leaders at the 2014 Greater Long Island Gala

(l-r) Debby and Dana Gage, Gloria Stern


he 2014 Greater Long Island Gala took place on Monday evening, September 15, 2014, at The Sephardic Temple in Cedarhurst, New York. The event paid tribute to a distinguished group of local residents for their service to AMIT, for their leadership in their communities, and for their dedication to the State of Israel. All proceeds benefited the AMIT network of 110 schools and programs throughout Israel.

Gloria and Alan Stern

Regional Honorees included Gloria Stern of Lawrence; Debby and Dana Gage of Merrick; Betty Atlas Rumlet of West Hempstead; Bernice Plitnick of Long Beach; Edna Guilor-Segal of Great Neck; Debbie Taub of Plainview; and Rose and Rebecca Cherson of Lawrence. The Woman of the Year was long-time resident of Lawrence and lifetime AMIT member Ruth Simon. The Long Island Gala is co-chaired by Debby Gage of Merrick; Rise and Harvey Kaufmann, Woodmere; Zipporah and Rabbi Arnold Marans, Cedarhurst; Barbara and Jules Nordlicht, Long Beach; Esther and Donald Press, Long Beach; Betty Atlas Rumelt and Owen Rumelt, West Hempstead; and Sami Schindelheim, Long Beach. 

Honoree Debbie Taub and Family

(l-r) Sara, Rose, Leonard and Rebecca Cherson

Honoree Betty Atlas-Rumelt and Family Long Island Honorees and Debbie Isaac

Woman of the Year, Ruth Simon

Honoree Bernice Plitnick and Family

Honoree Edna Guilor Segal and Family WNTR15_devnews_p26-37_v4.indd 4

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challenge accepted!


n October 5, Team AMIT completed the City Challenge Obstacle Race to benefit the Leadership Biking Program at AMIT Frisch Beit Hayeled.

The skills needed to ride a bike are important in life: work hard, set goals, pick yourself up when you fall and keep trying. They are new to the children of Beit Hayeled, and critical to their development. The children inspired Team AMIT, who used similar skills to conquer the obstacles set before them during the race. 

Dr. Edmond Cleeman

(l-r) Elana Spector, Rebecca Cherson, Zisse Hanfling, Michelle Weisblum

The New Rochelle Runners

Travelers Choice vs. Olive and Tuesday

Rose, nd herson

The Winning Team: Gamblers Anonymous

fourth annual afli bowl


his October, the AMIT Future Leaders Initiative gathered at Chelsea Park in New York for the AFLI Bowl. AFLI members’ hard work, together with generous sponsorships from Coffee Bean, Successories, ParaDocs, Tower Podiatry, Tempoline Industries and many others, helped make the flag football tournament fun and successful, while raising much-needed funds for the children of AMIT. The orange team, Gamblers Anonymous, defeated 11 other strong teams to take first place.  The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers vs. The Lobos

Some of our awesome volunteers!

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The 48ers

Winter 2015 :: AMIT MAGAZINE :: 29

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The Carnivorous Buffet

DEVELOPMENT NEWS guys night out this year AMIT raised a record $200,000

Wayne Cooperman, Jacob Doft


MIT’s Seventh Annual Guys Night Out took place at the Bowery Hotel in Manhattan. This year’s Texas Hold-Em’ Poker Tournament was co-chaired by David Stonehill and Jimmy Haber. Before heading to the poker tables, over 175 guests had the opportunity to smoke hand-rolled Cuban-style cigars, as well as quench their thirst at an open bar and partake in a wide variety of carnivorous buffet stations. 

Matthew Hiltzik, Neil Glat

(l-r) Charlie Klugmann, Tully Rubin, Eric Nadel, Howard Wietschner, Russell Jay Hendel

Jonathan Resnick, Jim Haber

AMIT is cooking!! tamar erlbaum twinning

(l-r) Yehuda Shmidman, Zion Shohet, David Stonehill, Neil Glat

Tamar and her “twin” Ayala


amar Erlbaum decided that, in preparation for her upcoming Bat-Mitzvah, she wanted to do something that would combine her passion for cooking along with her love for Israel and its children. Tamar saw this double interest as an opportunity, and she came up with a comprehensive way to meet it by offering scrumptious and mouthwatering cakes, cookies and the like over the course of three months to raise funds and awareness of the AMIT children at Frisch Beit Hayeled. Tamar set a goal of $1,800 to help fund the Beit Hayeled Yom Ha’atzmaut BBQ celebration. Dedicated and focused, she far surpassed her goal and raised over $4,000; and the additional funds enabled her to help provide new clothing for her Bat-Mitzvah twin and family. Tamar and her family traveled to Israel where she met her AMIT twin, Ayala, and they quickly became friends. Tamar’s family took Ayala on a special scavenger hunt in the old city. The girls communicated using both Hebrew and English, and have become, they hope, lifelong friends. Delighted, Tamar says, “I am so happy that I had this opportunity to help the children of AMIT on my Bat-Mitzvah”. 

The Erlbaum family

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a school visit in ashkelon


n addition to touring Israel during the chagim, the Nordlicht family made a special visit to The Fred Kahane Technological High School in Ashkelon. The school, endowed by Dahlia and Mark Nordlicht, is a living testament to the loving memory of Fred Kahane, z’l, uncle of Dahlia and brother of devoted AMIT board member Brenda Kalter.

(l-r) Noah, Dahlia, Rachel, Sarah and Jack Nordlicht

The Nordlicht family visited the school and saw firsthand how it changes the lives of its students by giving them a meaningful experience in the culinary arts, cosmetology and auto mechanics. In celebration of Emma’s upcoming Bat-Mitzvah, the family toured the school and met with the students and faculty. The Nordlicht children had a “hands-on” opportunity to work with the students and to create delicious desserts. According to Mark, “It was exciting to see how this school is training students to learn a trade. We are proud to be a part of this incredible school and look forward to seeing these young students go on to succeed.” The principal, Yitzhak Abarjel, was especially pleased to meet the Nordlicht family and to personally thank them for ensuring that the school has everything it needs now and for the future. “Without the generosity of the Nordlichts and their vision, we could not create the miracles that we are doing here every single day.” 


(l-r) AMIT student, Noah and Jack Nordlicht

The Nordlicht Family

Jack Nordlicht

(l-r) Sarah, AMIT Student, Jack and Rachel Nordlicht

(l-r) Sarah, Jack and Rachel Nordlicht

Winter 2015 :: AMIT MAGAZINE :: 31

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DEVELOPMENT NEWS AMIT gala dinner in israel: celebrating the unity of am yisrael By Mia Weiss, 2014 Dinner Chair


n November 3, the 2014 AMIT Israel Annual Dinner was held at Olmaya, a beautiful event hall overlooking a spectacular view of Jerusalem’s Old City. The emcee for the evening was Israeli media personality, Yishai Fleisher.

The program began with the singing of Hatikvah, followed by a memorial service for the three AMIT alumni who fell this past summer during Operation Protective Edge: Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, z”l, graduate of AMIT Gwen Straus Science and Technology High School in Ra’anana; Sergeant Ben Itzhak Oanounou, z”l, graduate of AMIT Yud Ashdon; and Staff Sergeant Eliav Eliyahu Kachlon, z”l, graduate of AMIT Tzfat Yeshiva High School. Rabbi and Member of Knesset Dov Lipman gave the Dvar Torah. Rabbi Lipman’s daughter attends the AMIT Bellows Ulpanat Noga in Beit Shemesh. The Volunteer Service Award was presented to Marion Talansky. Manny and Adaire Klein received the Panim Chadashot Award, and the Builder of Israel Award was presented to Alon Naftali.

Max and Jenny Weil

Students from Dvir Junior and Senior High School for Boys in Beit Shemesh exhibited their artwork, and students from the AMIT State Technological High School in Jerusalem presented their expertise in high-tech auto mechanics. The Annual Dinner was a great kickoff to the 90th year celebration of AMIT.  Over 200 AMIT members attended the Israel Annual dinner.

Shirley Schein and Diana Schiowitz Schwartz with AMIT students

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Honoree Alon Naftali (standing second from right) with his family


Students exhibit the newly inaugurated Wohl AutoTech Program

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Barbara and Marvin Wachspress

(l-r) Estelle Fink, Sarah Shane, Gloria Kestenbaum

(l-r) Stephanie Strauch, Guy Avihod, Orli Jackson Cohen, Tamar Benovitz, Mia Weiss, Tami Barak, Elliot Fidler

(l-r) Honoree Marion Talansky, Bracha Tova Gross, Zipora Cedar

Sitting (l-r) Shulamit Felsenthal, Deena Kahane, Ora and Mark Watson, Mike and Vivian Greenwald Standing (l-r) Mimi Rochwarger, Daniella and Josh Rudoff

Diane Barnett and Frances Gilbert


Sitting (l-r) Moish and Channah Koppel, Gitta Koppel, David and Shira Koppel, Esther Fredman, Bibsi Zuckerbrot. Standing (l-r) Ellen and Emanuel Kronitz, Yoseph Shmidman

(l-r) Michal Eldar, Alon Naftali, Dr. Amnon Eldar, Sondra Sokal

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Sitting (l-r) Manny and Adaire Klein, Simon and Robin Kahn surrounded by their loved ones

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(l-r) Sara Bleier, Kayla Bleier, Yoni Bleier, Fay Grajower, Gabe Morris, Joey Bleier, Henry Bleier, Esther Skorr Bleier, Nate Bleier, Josh Bleier

philly generations in israel


n a warm summer evening in August, AMIT Philadelphia Council/Shira Chapter gathered at the lovely home of Amy and Daniel Erlbaum to celebrate its annual Generations-in-Israel event, When the Present Meets the Future: Mothers Teaching Daughters to Care. Three generations of AMIT were honored: Faye Grajower, AMIT Life Member and past New England Council/ Ra’anana Chapter President; Sara Bleier, AMIT Life Member and Philadelphia Council/Shira Chapter Treasurer; and Kayla Bleier, newest AMIT Life Member.

(l-r) Kayla Bleier, Josh Bleier, Sara Bleier, Joey Bleier

Monica Rasch and Sara Bleier

Emilie Passow and

Fay Grajower Chana Shields, past Philadelphia Council/Shira Chapter President and current National Board Vice President of Marketing, was the inspirational guest speaker. 

a night at nordstrom


he AMIT New England Council/Ra’anana Chapter enjoyed a fun-filled evening at Nordstrom. The Nordstrom staff presented fall fashion and makeup trends, and all present were inspired by the film presentation, AMIT Saves the Children. Everyone enjoyed delectable desserts, fabulous door prizes, and shopping, shopping, and more shopping. Proceeds from the event benefited the AMIT Mother-inIsrael Campaign. 

(l-r) Amy Swartz, Jone Dalezman, Naomi Lopkin, Cheryl Sisel

Laura Eisenberg

(l-r) Annie Aliphas, Vered Strapp, Lyndsay Shoag, Stephanie Mishkin, Heidi Kohane

34 :: Winter 2015 :: AMIT MAGAZINE

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Eden Kohane with her raffle prize

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r, a Bleier,

an evening with daniel silva

(l-r) Dr. Arnold and Leah Rotter, Claudine Unterman, Sabina Bronner

(l-r) Lynn Rohatiner, Tzvika and Sarah Nissel


ver 300 avid readers gathered on a warm summer evening to hear bestselling author Daniel Silva interviewed by Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple. The discussion was lively and fascinating. Silva’s night in L.A. was part of a national tour promoting his new book The Heist, already #1 on the bestseller list. President’s Circle and Chai Society members were invited to a private book signing and cocktail reception before the event. All proceeds went to AMIT’s renovation campaign for our surrogate homes. 

Debbie Herbst and her daughter Dina.

Rabbi David Wolpe, Dr. Leila Bronner and Dr. Joseph Bronner

(l-r) Rabbi David Wolpe and Daniel Silva

(l-r) Meital Cohen, Carole Bolotin, Ari Bussel, Michal Taviv-Margolese, Scott Jacobs.

(l-r) Pegi Medioni and her daughter having their books signed by Daniel Silva


(l-r) Graham, Tyler, and Gina Edwards

leveling the field at AMIT frisch beit hayeled


his fall, the children of AMIT Frisch Beit Hayeled were treated to a grand opening party and twinning celebration in honor of the Bar Mitzvah of Tyler Edwards of London, England. Together with his parents, Gina and Graham Edwards, Tyler raised funds to refurbish and dedicate a new soccer field for the children by requesting donations to AMIT in lieu of Bar Mitzvah gifts. According to Tyler, “it is a great privilege for me that I am able to be here to help these children and make them happy.” Tyler pledged to become AMIT’s youngest ambassador in the UK and share what he has learned with his friends and family in London. AMIT is grateful to Melanie Klass, Executive Director of Jewish Child’s Day, for suggesting that the Edwards family celebrate Tyler’s Bar Mitzvah with AMIT  PHOTOS: JARED BERNSTEIN PHOTOGRAPHY

Melanie Klass and Hila Porat

Tyler blowing the shofar Tyler Edwards and his new AMIT friends. WNTR15_devnews_p26-37_v4.indd 11

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(l-r) Lester Sutker, Debbie Isaac

DEVELOPMENT NEWS 2014 chicago annual dinner


MIT Chicago held its Annual Dinner on Wednesday, November 12. AMIT President Debbie Isa ac moderated an informal interview with AMIT alumnus Marley Kate Brem, who discussed how AMIT transformed her life of sorrow to one of joy and achievement. We honored NewGen member Jennie Rothner and her tireless efforts in support of AMIT; and a memorial tribute to Sema Menorah, z�l, was held in honor of her many years of service to AMIT.

(l-r) Rabbi Linzer, Dov Shandalov, Dov Robinson, Bernard Hasten, George Hanus

Allison and Yoni Bellows, Rebecca and Joel Gorenstein, and Edy and Jacob Kupietzky chaired the Annual Dinner.  (l-r) Debbie Isaac and Marley Kate Brem (l-r) Hannah Rothner, Jennie Rothner, Louise Wolinetz, Helene Adelsberg

front row (l-r) Helene Adelsberg, Hannah Rothner, Joseph Rothner back row (l-r) Harvey Wolinetz, Louise Wolinetz, Jennie Rothner, Avi Rothner, Jeremy Kirschner

(l-r) Beth Gottesman, Allison Bellows, Beth Alter, Marley Kate Brem, Edy Kupietzky, Jennie Rothner, Debbie Isaac, Sandra Berg, Susan Meyers, Rebecca Gorenstein

(l-r) Bernard Hasten, Susan Meyers, Dov Robinson

Faye Levinson paying tribute to the memory of Sema Menora.

SAVE THE DATE! AMIT New Generation Scavenger Hunt Saturday, February 7, 2015 @ 6:45 PM Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

For more information please contact Sara Cherny at: or 212-792-5690

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spanning AMITworld Jerusalem – More than 80 people gathered at AMIT Frisch Beit Hayeled to honor the memory of Shanny Rick, z”l, on her first yahrzeit. Shanny was a former Yoshevet Rosh, member of the Israel Executive Committee, and passionate Zionist who devoted herself to everything AMIT. Proceeds from the evening will go towards purchasing clothing for Beit Hayeled children through a new ongoing fund, Keren Chut Hashani, which was dedicated in Shanny’s memory by her three daughters (pictured). Nearly $14,000 has been donated to the fund since its inception earlier this year.  (l-r) Alisa Zev, Abby Kehat, Amy Della-Tore.

Chicago - This past summer, AMIT’s Midwest region held a fabulous event in Chicago. Over 270 people had the pleasure of listening to New York Times Best Selling author Daniel Silva. The evening was moderated by Regine Schlesinger of WBBM radio in Chicago. Susan Meyers, director of development spoke passionately about AMIT and made us all feel proud to be part of the AMIT family. A reception was held in honor of AMIT’s President Circle and Chai Society donors. Chicago area caterers donated the food and the beautiful dessert tables were created by Ramesh Soleymani of Couture Events.  Pictured Top - Daniel Silva and Fritzie Robinson Pictured Bottom - Daniel Silva, Beth Alter, Susan Meyers, Sandra Berg

Los Angeles – This past summer, more than 200 young professionals gathered at Studio Bancs in Los Angeles – a hip warehouse space – to show their unwavering support for Israel and Operation Protective Edge. The fundraiser was a collaboration between AMIT, Studio Bancs and Stand With Us. The bands donated their time, and the food and wine were gifts of various restaurants and retailers. 

on ute to y of ra.

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Debbie and David Isaac, NY Ellen, z”l, and Meyer Koplow, NY Ellen and Emanuel Kronitz, Israel Matanel Foundation, Luxembourg Barbara and Jules Nordlicht, NY Dahlia Kalter Nordlicht and Mark Nordlicht, NY Shari and Jacob M. Safra, NY Robyn Price Stonehill and David Stonehill, NY Joyce and Daniel Straus, NJ Ellen and Stanley Wasserman, NY

$75,000 - $99,999 Laurie and Eli Bryk, NY

$50,000 - $74,999








An Invitation To Join Me In

President’s Circle As a parent and a long time devoted AMIT donor, I know how important a good education is to the development of children. Many of the 30,000 students at AMIT in Israel do not have the advantages that our own children enjoy and which we may easily take for granted. President’s Circle gifts provide the foundation upon which our network of schools is built. These annual gifts are sustaining funds that we rely on to support our excellent programs. In order to guarantee the continuation of programs which nurture Israel’s children and instill within them strong values and academic excellence, we rely on our members whose annual donation ensure Israel’s future by providing these opportunities. All successful endeavors require a strong foundation. Please join me. The circle will not be complete without you. Chair - Brenda Kalter Honorary Chairs - Audrey and Rabbi Haskel Lookstein For further information regarding President’s Circle, please contact Robin Rothbort at 212-477-4725, 1-800-989-AMIT (2647), or email

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Joan and Shael Bellows, IL Hadassah and Marvin Bienenfeld, NY Suzanne and Jacob Doft, NY Leon and Gloria, Edward, Sari and Howard Miller, NY Ingeborg Petranker, z”l, CA Harriet and Heshe Seif, NJ Adina Straus, NY Zahava and Moshael Straus, NJ Bethia Straus-Quintas and Paul Quintas, IL

$36,000 - $49,999 Anonymous, Israel Ike, Molly and Steven Elias Foundation, NY Amy and Jimmy Haber, NY Michele and Ben Jacobs, NY Naomi Foundation, NY

$25,000 - $35,999 Anonymous, NY Thelma, z”l, and Harvey Berger, MA Mozes Borger, Israel Mitzi Golden, NY Mildred and Alvin Hellerstein, NY Brenda and Albert Kalter, NY Stacey and David Kanbar, NY Kirkland & Ellis LLP, NY Ria and Tim Levart, NJ Millie and Lawrence Magid, NY Debbie and Samuel Moed, NJ Micheline and Marc Ratzersdorfer, Israel Shirley and Morris Trachten, FL Family Foundation, Israel

$18,000 - $24,999 Nicole Schreiber Agus and Raanan Agus, NY Sara Beren, z”l OH Blackman Foundation, CA Jewel and Ted Edelman, NY Pnina and Jacob Graff, CA Laura and Jonathan Heller, NY Russell Jay Hendel, MD Sarah Liron and Sheldon Kahn, CA Amy and Todd Kesselman, NY Gitta and Richard Koppel, Israel Esther and Motti Kremer, NY Sharon and Solomon Merkin, NJ Sandra and Evan Roklen, CA Marilyn and Herbert, z”l, Smilowitz, NJ Carrie and Ilan Stern, NY Trudy and Stanley Stern, NY

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Anonymous, FL Anonymous, France Anonymous, Israel Anonymous, Israel Anonymous, MA Anonymous, NY Anonymous, NY Anonymous, Switzerland Leah and Jonathan Adler, NJ Sarah and Maurice Aghion, MA Ann and Hy Arbesfeld, NY Asher Foundation, NY Rachel and Martin Balsam, NY Yael Balsam, NY Lee and Louis Benjamin, NY Tamar and Ethan Benovitz, Israel Bea Berger, NJ Phyllis and Edward Berkowitz, NY Lisa and Joseph Bernstein, NY Vivian and Stanley Bernstein, NY Dahlia and Arthur Bilger, CA Laurie Bilger and Eli Epstein, NY Devorah and Melvyn Bleiberg, NY Sari and Stuart Braunstein, NY Adele and Jules Brody, NY Tamar and Hillel Bryk, NY Carol and Arnold Caviar, KS Margaret and Chaim Charytan, NY Beth Chiger, NY The Philip Citron Charitable Trust, MA Trina and Paul Cleeman, NY Sara Clemons, TN Florence Cohen, z”l, NY Shevi and Milton Cohen, NY Diane and Howard Cole, NY Melvin C. Cutler Foundation, MA Peggy and Philip Danishefsky, NJ Selma Daye, CA Elaine and Lewis Dubroff, NY Hattie and Arthur Dubroff, NJ Susan Ederson, NY Linda and Barry Eichler, PA & NY Sherry and Aaron Eidelman, NY Judith and Allen Fagin, NY Vivian and Bernard Falk, NY Evelyn and Larry Farbstein, NY Iris and Stephen Feldman, NY Sheila and Kenneth Fields, NJ Shari and Jeff Fishman, CA Gwen Buttnick Francis, NJ Gabriella and David Fridman, NY

Rena and Michael Friedman, IL Marisa and Andrew Gadlin, NY Shifra and Perry Garber, NY Adina and Lawrence Garbuz, NY Rita Geller, IL Abigail and Ari Glass, NY Deborah and Allan Gibber, MD Deborah and Elliot Gibber, NY Ilana and Stuart Goldberg, NJ Paulette and Max Goldberg, NY Melvyn Golden, FL Phyllis and Gerald Golden, FL Esther and Jack Goldman, NY Zelda and Sheldon Goldsmith, NY Anne and Sheldon Golombeck, NY Louis Gordon, z”l, TX Sara and Ronald Gottleib, FL Judith and Gabriel Gross, France Sharon and Melvin Gross, NY Gloria Grossman, NY Phyllis Hammer, MA Nicole and Jacques, z”l, Hanau, France Felicia Hanfling, NY Debbie and Robert Hartman, IL Debbie and Eddie Herbst, CA David and Barbara B. Hirschhorn Foundation, MD Aviva and Fred, z”l, Hoschander, NY Peggy and Robert Insel, NY Elaine and Robert Jacobs, NY Barbara and Manfred Joseph, NY Connie and Alan Kadish, NJ Ilana and Mitchell Kahn, NY Robin and Simon Kahn, Israel Danna and Gilad Kalter, NY Ruth and Jerome Kamerman, NY Miriam and Shopsy Kanarek, NY Ruth and William Kantrowitz, NY Harriet and Joel Kaplan, NY Karen Kaplan, IL Elissa and Michael Katz, NJ Marisa and Daniel Katz, NY Gloria and Harvey Kaylie, NY Rona and Ira Kellman, NY Rochelle Stern Kevelson, NY Diane and Barry Kirschenbaum, FL Susan Alter Klaperman, NY The Klibanoff Family, NJ Jane Klitsner, Israel Mindy and Jonathan Kolatch and The Kolatch Family Foundation, NJ Laurie and Robert Koppel, NY

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Livia Kahn-Tandler, Switzerland Sylvia and Leon Korngold, NY Ruth and Daniel Krasner, NY Aliza and Steven Major, NY Zipporah and Arnold Marans, NY Etella and Haim Marcovici, NY Marilyn and Leon Moed, NY Joan, z”l, and Leon Meyers, NY Nataly and Steve Neuwirth, NY Regina Peterseil, NY Lauren and Mitchell Presser, NY Jerald Ptashkin, CA Barbara and Joel, z”l, Rascoff, NY Joyce and Stanley Raskas, NY Jan and Sheldon Schechter, NY

Charlotte Schneierson, NY Rita and Eugene Schwalb, FL Erica and Rob Schwartz, NY Deanne and Leonard Shapiro, NY Judy and Isaac Sherman, NY Ronnie and William Slochowsky, NY Sondra and Myron Sokal, NY Francine and Aaron Stein, NJ Jody and Ari Storch, NY Gil Taieb, France Audrey and Chaim Trachtman, NY Ina and David Tropper, NY Paula Yudenfriend and Arlin Green, PA

$5,000 - $9,999 Evelyn and Lawrence Kraut, NJ Rochelle and Seymour, z”l, Kraut, NJ Dorothy Kreiselman, NY Bertha, z”l, and Henry Kressel, NY Donna and Jeffrey Lawrence, MD Sara and Moishe Leifer, NY Diane and David Lent, NY Ellyn and Alan Lerner, NJ Kari and Joshua Levine, NY Rose and Jacob Levine, z”l, CA Sylvia and Norman Levine, FL Dorothy and Robert Lewis, NY Ruth and Robert Lewis, NY Mindy and Seymour Liebman, NY Audrey and Haskel Lookstein, NY Naomi and Carl Lopkin, MA Rita Lourie-Galena, PA & NY Marie-Nicole and Georges Lumbroso, France Randie and Arthur Luxenberg, NY Meira and Solomon Max, NY Benay and Ira Meisels, NY Caroline and Marcelo Messer, NY Lois and Jonathan Mills, IL Judy and Albert Milstein, IL Leonard E. Minsky, ME Myra Mitzner, NY Galina and Mark Moerdler and Family, NY Gloria and Burton Nusbacher, NY Reva and Martin Oliner, NY Jacob Pelta, CA Bea and Irwin, z”l, Peyser, NY Hedy and Paul Peyser, MD Suzy and Paul Peyser, NY Vicki and Jerry Platt, NY Pia and Stuart Pollack, PA Esther and Donald Press, NY Tzippi and Ira Press, NJ Judy and Jerry Pressner, NY Robin and Jules Reich, NY Evelyn Reichenthal, TX Sheila and Sidney Rimmer, NY Shelley Rindner, NY Fritzie and Sheldon,z”l, Robinson, IL Vivian and Solomon Rosen, FL Miriam and Howard Rosenblum, NJ Gayle and Eric Rothner, IL Maks Rothstein, NY Leah and Arnold Rotter, CA Marcia Ruderman, MA Hedda Rudoff, NY Shirley and Milton Sabin, FL

Marielle and Edmond Safra, NY Tammy and Kenny Schaum, NY Ellen Scheinfeld, z”l, NY Iris Schneider, NY Loren and Benjamin Schonbrun, CA Renee and Elliot Schreiber, NY Esther and William Schulder, NJ Debbie and Daniel Schwartz, NY Miriam Seltzer, NY Esther, z”l, and Jacques Semmelman, NJ Sharon and Rony Shapiro, MA Chana and Daniel Shields, NJ Deena and Adam Shiff, NY Nechi Shudofsky, NY Mollie Siegel, NJ Sharon and Morris Silver, CA Karen and Roy Simon, NY Ruth Simon, NY Lorraine and Mordy Sohn, NY Sara and Gabriel Solomon, MD Mahla and Hilton Soniker, NY Melanie and Matthew Sosland, NJ Sheryle and Theodore Spar, FL Deborah Stern-Blumenthal and Michael Blumenthal, NJ Ethel and Lester Sutker, IL Lilly Tempelsman, NY Sandra and Max Thurm, NY Bertie and Fred Tryfus, NY Audrey and Max Wagner, NY Paula and Leslie Walter, NY Anne and Mark Wasserman, NY Suzanne and Stuart Weilgus, NY Judy and Morry Weiss/Sapirstein-StoneWeiss Foundation, OH Marion and William Weiss, NJ Linda and Steven Weissman, NY Roselyn and Walter Weitzner, NY Diane and Michael Werner, NY Marguerite and Ronald Werrin, PA Joyce and Jeremy Wertheimer, MA Booky and Jerome Wildes, NY Phyllis Wind, NY Florence Wolf, NY Stella and Samy Ymar, MD Hilde and Benjamin, z”l, Zauderer, NY Esther and Dov Zeidman, NY Zeldin Family, France Tamar and Benjamin Zeltser, NY Helene and Gerald Zisholtz, NY

*As of November 18, 2014

Lotte and Ludwig Bravman, NY Sherry and Neil Cohen, NY Marion Crespi, NY Jone and Allen Dalezman, MA Selma and Jacob Dyckman, NY Trudy and Sol Englander, NY Ruth and Gene Fax, MA Chaiki and Ziel Feldman, NJ Lilly and Alfred Friedman, NY Andrea and Larry Gill, CA Leelah and Joseph Gitler, Israel Miriam and Felix Glaubach, NY Harwit Charitable Trust, CA Norma and Emanuel Holzer, NY Suzanne and Norman Javitt, NY

president’s circle of honor

$10,000 - $17,999

Anonymous, Israel Anonymous, MA Anonymous, NY Trudy and Ted, z”l, Abramson, FL Randi Schatz Allerhand and Joseph S. Allerhand, NY Joseph Anmuth, CA Jonathan Art, NY Lolly and Harris Bak, NY Zelda and Solomon Berger, NY Daisy Berman, NY Anne Bernstein, CA Evelyn and Isaac Blachor, NY Beth and Reuben Blumenthal, NY Ethlynne and Stephen Brickman, MA

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AMIT Magazine Winter 2015  

Ellen's Kids. The Gift of Kindness The extraordinary life of Ellen Koplow, z”l, her love of AMIT and her family’s generous donation in honor...

AMIT Magazine Winter 2015  

Ellen's Kids. The Gift of Kindness The extraordinary life of Ellen Koplow, z”l, her love of AMIT and her family’s generous donation in honor...