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Beth Aaron Familes Project

Dear Friends,

One of the best aspects of being a member of Beth Aaron is that we are part of a large and diverse community.  In an effort to draw us all closer in this 50th anniversary year (and beyond), we have designed a short questionnaire whose answers will enable us to draw a “portrait” of each member family.  The questions are easy (names, ages, occupations, schools) and offer you room to provide special details that distinguish your family (we have 11 cats; our son is an Eagle Scout; our daughter won a gymnastics competition; our 7-year old plays the cello, etc.)  A team working with the “Families” committee will edit the answers you provide, and it is our plan to share the narratives that result throughout the coming 50th anniversary year.

We look forward to getting to know you better!  Please click here to access the Families Questionnaire.

Thanks for your participation!

Marsha Bryan Edelman
For the Families Committee

Schnaidman Family (9/30/2022)

David and Esther Schnaidman found Beth Aaron 32 years ago. Esther was a fan of Rabbi Kanarfogel from her days at Stern, and Teaneck was a familiar community, home to Esther’s brother and not far from David’s father in Washington Heights.  They felt the warmth of the community right from the start, and were happy that there were so many young couples with children of similar ages who often populated the same playgroups, summer camps and play dates.  Today (and for the past 21 years) David is a project manager at BNY Mellon and Esther,  librarian at RYNJ, is actively involved with several library organizations. Daughter Shoshanna and her husband Jason Silberman live in White Plains with their two boys, Matan (4 ) and Yoav (8).  Shoshanna works at Instagram while Jason works for a cybersecurity company based out of Israel.  Son Ephraim, a data scientist at Cross River Bank, lives in Passaic with his wife Rivka (an occupational therapist assistant working in the public schools) and their children Yael (7), Tani (4) and Zahava (2). Son Chanan works in the treasury department at Apex Healthcare.

 

 

Toporovsky Family (9/23/2022)

Rinaldo and Esther Toporovsky joined the shul 40 years ago, attracted by the schools the neighborhood offered for their sons Asher and Arie, but drawn in by the Beth Aaron community, which felt to them like a “large family.”  Their own family has enlarged over the years, adding daughter-in-law Jamie (wife of Asher) and grandchildren Noah, Ian, Caleb and Temimah.

 

Fogel Family (9/16/2022)

David and Diane Fogel were drawn to Teaneck by David’s job with the MTA and the choices of day schools available to their three daughters.  At the time, they lived in Country Club, and Beth Aaron was the closest shul.  That was 35 years ago, and their very first Shabbat at Beth Aaron was the first in the newly constructed shul!  All of these years later, their three daughters have families of their own: Devorah and Ezra and their children Kobi, Gavriel, Ayala, Ariella and Itai live in Efrat; Na’ama and Shimshon and their children, Shalom, Ilan, Emunah, Shifra, Ben Zion and Yardena live in Har Nof, Jerusalem; and Avital and Brad, with their children Lyla, Jonah and Rae (Rachel) live in Teaneck.  David still works for the MTA, but works hard to stay fit, playing racquetball three times a week at the JCC and regularly jogging and working out.  Diane stays busy taking art and dance classes at the Rodda Senior Center and she teaches mah jongg there.  In addition to playing mah jongg and bridge, Diane is also in a weekly Mishnah group and a weekly Shakespeare group and she is a member of three book clubs (and just retired from 10 years of leading the Sisterhood book club). Before the pandemic, she was also in charge of organizing Bikur Cholim volunteers for Shabbat at Holy Name Hospital, and is hoping to return to that role when the hospital allows it.

 

 

Steinberg Family (9/9/2022)

Sandy and Eddie Steinberg have been members of Beth Aaron for nearly 40 years.  They davened here as young married living in the apartments, but then moved to Silver Spring.  A job opportunity brought them back to Teaneck, and they found the shul community very friendly when they were contemplating their move back.  They appreciate Beth Aaron’s many offerings – but are especially grateful that the shul only distributes questionnaires about the members once a year!Update this content.

Leffel Family (9/2/2022)

 

Aviva and Sheldon (z’l) Leffel joined Beth Aaron in 1976!  They wanted a suburban community with an Orthodox shul, and followed their friends Toby and Larry Feder to Teaneck.  Aviva recalls that Beth Aaron was always a friendly shul, with members of “every type” who all pitched in to do whatever the shul needed, and served as each other’s surrogate family. Babysitting, baking and making shalom zachors when actual family was back in Brooklyn or Queens.  Aviva especially remembers the songs Michael Ross would compose to celebrate friends being honored at the shul dinners.  Today, son Chaim (a graduate of Moriah, MTA and YU) and his wife Sara live in Bergenfield; son Daniel ( Moriah, MTA and Rutgers Business School) lives in Beit Shemesh with his wife Chedva and their children; daughter Devora (Moriah, Central YHS and Queens College) teaches at Chabad Tenafly.

Mandelbaum Family (8/26/2022)

Aaron and Naomi Mandelbaum are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their membership in Beth Aaron.  They started out in Brooklyn, but the commute to Naomi’s work in Hackensack was too time consuming (Aaron traveled for work, so it didn’t matter where he lived).  They landed at Beth Aaron and found themselves completely at home.  Over the years, their family has grown, too, to include son Yossi and his wife Carolyn and sons Matt and Kenny, who also live in Teaneck; Daughter Esti and her husband Yossi Ziffer: their children Daphna, Doron, Yair and Chaviva, who live in Baltimore; and son Avi and his wife Michal, who live in Israel with children Yakira, Idit, Amira, Chen and Bat-Zion.  Aaron was one of the founding members of the Jewish Learning Experience, and is still actively involved.

Lewitan Family (8/19/2022)

Brooke and Aryeh Lewitan found Beth Aaron nine years ago, at the end of their search for a “warm and open community” where they could fit in.  With great fondness for Rabbi Rothwachs and Chavia, they are pleased to find here a diverse population with “everything from black hat to modern.”  Aryeh has become involved in the Chevra Kadisha, and their children are athletes:  Rina loves gymnastics and softball and in addition to his love of all sports, Akiva became a black belt in Taekwondo at the age of 10

Yablok Family (8/12/2022)

Aviva and Jacob (aka Benjy) Yablok have been part of the Beth Aaron family for about 30 years, having moved to Teaneck to give their children good educational opportunities and to be close to their work:  Benjy as Associate Principal at Manhattan Day School, and Aviva as Early Childhood Director there.  They felt “very connected” from the moment they stepped into the shul, made friends quickly, and felt comfortable with the davening and the direction the shul has taken under Rabbi and Chviva Rothwachs. Now retired, Benjy indulges his passion as an avid collector of Judaica and developer of a website (virtualjewishmuseum.com) which serves as a teaching and learning tool for a variety of topics, including Holocaust materials, coins of the Holy Land, The Struggle for Israel , the World of Sephardic Jewry and more.  Aviva, also retired, stays busy with friends, going to shiurim, and spending time with their children and grandchildren: Ephraim (a physical therapist) and Ronit (a speech therapist) Yablok and their six children live in Passaic; Josh (Shuie), a partner at PWC and Esther (director of the Sinai Program at TABC) Klavan and their 4 children, also Beth Aaron members; Asher (who works or Olami and directs the Ohr Yisrael school in Tenafly) and Shira (at teacher at RYNJ) and their 7 children live in Bergenfield.  Ari and Ayelet Yablok live in Givat Shmuel, where Ari works for an Israeli start-up and Akelet keeps busy with their children, including a newborn.

Bocian Family (8/5/2022)

Alicia Bocian came to Teaneck to be closer to New York City, found an apartment near Beth Aaron, and the rest has been history for the past 25 years!  She considers Rabbi Rothwachs and Chavia “amazing” and marvels that they try to participate in “absolutely everything.”  Today, son Justin and his wife, Elexis Silverman live in Stamford CT, where their three children, Kayla, David and Leeor attend Westchester Torah Academy. 

Gertler Family (7/29/2022)

Richard and Ellen Gertler have been members of Beth Aaron since 1976.  Drawn to Teaneck by its young Orthodox community and its proximity to YU, they raised their five children in the shul while Richard worked as a dentist and Ellen staffed his office.  They retain fond memories of the years in which they raised their young children to feel comfortable in the shul: on one occasion, during a Friday night oneg when the children should have remained at home, instead they came trooping into the shul – in their pajamas – led by oldest sister, Rivka, because the baby, Shlomit, was crying.  Now retired, Richard and Ellen followed two of their children to Israel (the other three remain in Teaneck) but remain staunch supporters  of the shul and its “outstanding Rabbi and Rebbetzin.”  Richard does Daf Yomi and spends significant time riding his mountain bike around the mountains surrounding their home in Beit Shemesh while Ellen prefers Nach Yomi – and feet over wheels.  With the family split between Israel and Teaneck, Richard and Ellen return to Beth Aaron often to see their children and grandchildren, as well as their many Beth Aaron friends. 

Gur-Aryeh Family (7/22/2022)

Allyson Gur-Aryeh and her family are enthusiastic members of Beth Aaron.  She, a teacher and writer, and husband Shoval, a psychologist, were taken with the warmth of the community when they purchased their first home near Beth Aaron nine years ago and were greeted for weeks with invitations for meals.  During those many visits, they got to see the variety of religious practices in the community, but the consistency of chesed was most impressive.  They also appreciate that Rabbi Rothwachs is accessible and “down-to-earth” and that Chaviva “treats all members like her extended family and shows concern for everyone.”  Active in JLE (the Jewish Learning Experience, a kiruv organization), Alyson and Shoval now model chesed for their daughters, Eliana (who just finished 8th grade at RYNJ) and Kayla (a rising 7th grader grader at Yeshivat Noam), inviting newcomers for meals and extending themselves in any ways they can.  They are grateful that Beth Aaron welcomes a diverse community, and happy to be part of it.

Edelman Family (7/15/2022)

Herb and Marsha Edelman moved to Teaneck from Philadelphia in 2018, after Herb completed his career as a geriatric social worker, so that Marsha could be closer to her Jewish choral music work in and around the New York Metropolitan area. They were sorry to leave oldest son Eli and only daughter Didi (and her family, now including 3 children) behind, but happy to be closer to son Rafi and his family (also 3 children) in Bergenfield, and youngest son, Yoni and his wife and daughter in Fair Lawn.  Daughter-in-law Russi Taubes has been a life-long resident of the area, and thought Beth Aaron would be a good fit from the perspectives of both hashkafah and community – and she was right on both counts!  Herb and Marsha were pleasantly surprised to find some old friends among Beth Aaron’s members, but were overwhelmed by the warmth and hospitality of so many of their new neighbors.

Marsha and Herb together with (l to r) SIL David, daughter Didi, son Yoni, granddaughter Adelle, DIL Rachel, granddaughter Rina, son Rafi, grandsons Meir, Ilan and Akiva, Herb's brother Moshe, grandson Adam and son Eli.

Chazin Family (7/9/2022)

Daniel Chazin is a life-long resident of Teaneck, and one of the founding members of Beth Aaron.  It was a very simple decision for him to join: It was the only shul in the area!  All of these years later, he appreciates Beth Aaron as a welcoming and diverse shul.  Danny is a member of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, and regularly shares his knowledge of the best local hiking trails with readers of The Link.  Danny is also an expert on anything and everything related to trains.

Eizikovitz Family (7/2/2022)

Bonnie and Jack Eizikovitz were ready to buy their first house, but having trouble deciding where. They spent a Shabbat at Beth Aaron with Jack’s cousin Tzvi Aryeh (Lenny) Ingber and his family, and enjoyed the community so much that they decided to settle here.  The Ingbers left them behind when they made Aliyah a year later, but the Eizikovitzes have remained part of our community for the past 35 years.  Of course, it took some time for them to become fully integrated:  Bonnie remembers being very pregnant with son Joel when they moved in on the second day of Hanukkah in December, 1986.  That Shabbat was the first in the new building, and while it was a very exciting time to join the shul, Bonnie described the feeling of “having missed Color War and cme to camp in time for Banquet.”  Fortunately for everyone, Joel’s bris and shalom zachor were the first simchas held in the new building, so that helped them integrate very quickly – that and the many invitations for Shabbat meals from people who didn’t really know them, but ultimately became very good friends.  Over the years, the family has grown: daughter Leiah and her husband Rafi Moskowitz have produced children Cara, Jared and Avery; son Judah and his wife Nina are the parents of Ayelet, Aryeh, Shayna and Emma; Joel and his wife Marni have Sylvia, Sadie and Noa; and Daughter Adina and her husband Dani Rubin are the parents of Minnie and Abe.   Although their nest is officially empty, Bonnie and Jack stay busy supporting their family’s various schools and shuls, as well as Israeli causes.  

 

Friedman Family (6/25/2022)

 

Allen and Rachel Friedman and their family have been part of Beth Aaron for 33 years.  Allen is tax director for JP Morgan, while Rachel is well known as Founder and Dean of Lamdeinu. The couple is, of course, actively involved with Lamdeinu, but also with NORPAC, the OU and Eshel.  When they first joined Beth Aaron, they were attracted by the warmth of the community – and by the fact that it was the closest shul to their home.  Over the years, they have accumulated many special memories, all associated with helping Beth Aaron grow and thrive – and all while their own family grew and thrived as well.  Today, their son Elie is a rabbi and a public defender in Boston, while daughter Nava is senior director for Catchafire (connecting professionals with non-profits that can use their volunteer help) in Brooklyn.  Another son, Yosie, is also a rabbi and a PhD candidate at Ferkauf Graduate School in Stamford CT; he and his wife Elana, a middle school Judaic studies teacher at the Bicultural Hebrew Academy in Stamford are the parents of a daughter, Tair Zion.

Singer Family (6/18/2022)

Moishe Singer (aka Mo-B) and his wife Yacha moved to Teaneck in 2006 so that they could become part of the Beth Aaron family in 2006.  And why Beth Aaron?  Because, as our incoming President explained, it is the shul with all the programs and the best minyan times! Mo-B, who describes himself as an avid Flyers fan and a coffee elitist, works professionally as a Healthcare Administrator, but is well known to BA members following his service in several Board roles (most recently 1st Vice President), President of the Men’s Club and as the shul’s webmaster.  He also serves elsewhere in the community as Treasurer of the Rinat Chaim Gemach and as a Board Member of NJ NCSY.  Yacha, herself a past Beth Aaron sisterhood president and current kindergarten teacher, gets extra credit for putting up with Mo-B (his words, not ours!)  The couple is exceedingly proud of their two children: Kayla-Rachel Michal, a high school senior and avocational seamstress; and Eli-L, an 8th grader whose service on the Kiddush crew puts him in danger of following in his father’s footsteps.

 

 

Gellerstein Family (6/11/2022)

Steven and Judy Gellerstein have been members of Beth Aaron for more than 24 years.  Steven, a Frisch graduate), was familiar with the area, and the couple was drawn to Teaneck by local friends, and delighted by the proximity of the “friendly” shul they found here.  Today, the Gellerstein family includes son Andrew and his wife Juliet, who live in Highland Park, and daughter Allison, a student at Rutgers.  Steven expressed special gratitude for Rabbi and Chaviva, and pride that our rabbi is so invested in the community and worked so hard to keep us together during the pandemic, creating online programming, virtual Kabbalat Shabbat services and much more. 

Mincis Family (6/4/2022)

Jonathan (Jay) and Lisa Mincis have been members of Beth Aaron for 30 years.  Brought to Teaneck originally by their involvement with JLE, they found a “very warm and caring group of people” at Beth Aaron, who were willing to help in any situation.  The Mincises are themselves a “helping” family: they and children Eliezer, Tzipporah, Yechiel, Miriam Leah and Esther Malka are active as packers for Tomchei Shabbos and one of their family members offers respite care to parents with children in the hospital.  Like all parents, Lisa and Jonathan have been eager to have their children become members of the Shul family as well, but few can boast of an earlier “initiation” than Esther Malka:  She was born early on Shushan Purim-Shabbos, and when Jay came in to Beth Aaron later that morning, he was eager to share the good news.  Acting President Jeff Sklar made his job easier by announcing “Hot off the presses, baby Mincis born, Esther Malka, 6:25 this morning.”

Mon, December 5 2022 11 Kislev 5783