Tonight: Fifteenth Annual Dinner for Bnos Bais Yaakov


rabbi-hillerLooking forward to an evening of celebration, ahavas haTorah  and extraordinary accomplishments in chinuch, parents, supporters and friends of Bnos Bais Yaakov will be coming together for the school’s Fifteenth Annual Dinner tonight at the Ateres Nechama Liba Simcha Hall, located on the Bnos Bais Yaakov Campus in Far Rockaway, New York.  The roster of honorees reflects the rich, multi-faceted foundation of the school, including those who have given of their own talents as teachers and parents of present students and alumni.

This year’s Guests of Honor are Dr. and Mrs. Richard Friedman, who originally hailed from Manhattan’s Lower East Side before moving to Cedarhurst five years ago. The Friedmans become pillars of their community, wherever they choose to live. On the Lower East Side, Dr. Friedman was the president of the Lutowisker Shul. Mrs. Friedman was on the committee for the mikvah’s annual Chinese Auction and participated in the Junior Neshei and the Bais Yaakov PTA. Their home hosted the neighborhood’s Friday night women’s parsha shiur. That same interest in serving Klal Yisroel is deeply ingrained in their professional lives as well. As a laparoscopic surgeon in Beth Israel Medical Center, Dr. Friedman recently developed the innovative Heritage Program, designed to assist Jewish patients in the hospital get immediate assistance from the ambulance. Hospital personnel are directed to page Dr. Friedman, or his patient navigators, to ensure that these Jewish patients are seen by the appropriate medical practitioners. Dr. Friedman also extends his medical expertise to local emergencies, whenever they happen. 

Mrs. Friedman is a social worker in Beth Israel Hospital, and spends her days caring for those in emotional need.  She has developed a telephone hotline for Orthodox victims of abuse.  Phone respondents are trained and available eight hours a day, five days a week, for anyone in need of assistance. She also maintains a private practice in Cedarhurst. Together, the Friedmans are the proud parents of eight children, four of whom attend Bnos Bais Yaakov and Tichon Meir Moshe, Bnos BaisYaakov’s high school.

As Grandparents of the Year, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Goldberger are also the past recipients of the Parents of the Year Award at a previous dinner. Extremely busy with the two retail stores they own and operate in Kew Garden Hills – Towns Paint and Towns Variety – the Goldbergers infuse their children and grandchildren with love and support. Their accommodating nature can be seen in the installation of a kosher mikvah in the store to help their customers perform the mitzvah without travelling elsewhere. Their trait of being helpful extends itself to community events, such as hosting parlor meetings and serving on the board of Shevach High School. Their quiet acts of kindness and community awareness make them ideal role models for their einiklach, and the ideal choice for this year’s Grandparents of the Year.

The enormously talented Mr. and Mrs. Avi Keilson have been chosen as Parents of the Year. With five daughters attending Bnos Bais Yaakov, they are well known as sincerely committed parents who take an active role in their children’s lives and chinuch. Mr. Keilson, a practicing attorney with an office in Lawrence, serves as Associate Counsel to Gateway Energy Services Corporation in Monsey. He has offered his professional skills generously on behalf of the school. The reason why he was chosen as Parent of the Year, however, has to do with what he does before anything else, every morning. After rising early to attend a shiur, he walks his children to school nearly every day. As busy as he is, he takes those ten minutes to spend precious time with his children.

The same can be said for Ilana Keilson, a homemaker, freelance writer, Tichon Meir Moshe teacher, musical accompanist – and , of course, mother par excellence. A neighbor reveals that Ilana and her children have stocked shelves and assembled food packages for a community food bank and that Ilana was, for a time, in charge of the program at Agudas Yisroel of West Lawrence to provide meals for families of postpartum mothers. In honoring Avi and Ilana Keilson, Bnos Bais Yaakov is honoring the standard which they have created for all other parents.

The Keser Shem Tov Award this year is being given to Rebbetzen Esther Stein, whose home with her husband of many years, Rabbi Moshe Dov Stein zt”l, embraced the highest standards of chessed and hachnosas orchim. Rebbetzin Stein is quick to relate that there has actually been a Stein “girl” in Bnos Bais Yaakov since the school’s inception. Yet, years alone are not the only factor behind this year’s choice for this award.  Rebbetzin’s Stein legendary simchas hachaim has been seen throughout the years in her role as a beloved teacher, mother and “bubbe” of creativity and warmth, and as a hostess for shiurim and simchos, not only for her own family. Her generosity of heart and spirit has had a profound effect on the entire Far Rockaway community. 

What greater recipients of the Community Service Award can be chosen than the Gruss Life Monument Funds’ Mr. Jason Cury and Mr. Joel Beritz?  Mr. Cury is the President of the Gruss Life Monument Fund and the Center for Initiatives of Jewish Education; Mr. Joel Beritz is the Vice President of the Gruss Fund and Center. Together, they stand at the helm of an extraordinary effort to upgrade Jewish education. Bnos Bais Yaakov has benefitted enormously from their support, creating a progressive secular studies curriculum as well as acquiring tools to facilitate the curriculum in the form of a computer lab consisting of 28 computers and educational software customized to each girl’s progress. Each class also enjoys a smartboard – an electronic interactive board on which a teacher’s lessons are displayed. The school has also received a state-of-the-art science lab. These features are the direct result of Gruss Life Monument Funds and the extraordinary vision and caring of both Mr. Cury and Mr. Berlitz.  Bnos Bais Yaakov is grateful to have this opportunity to say thank you to these special friend of the school.

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