Bnos Bais Yaakov’s annual dinner, to be held in the Ateres Nechama Leba Hall on March 10, honors two extraordinary couples and one amazing teacher.
Parents of the Year: Mr. Yaakov and Mrs. Lani Zoldan. Both Yaakov and Lani were brought up with strong messages about extending oneself to perform chesed, and they each live up to the ideals they imbibed in their childhood. Yaakov uses his securities trading firm as a springboard for chesed—assisting those who are experiencing financial difficulties. His chavrusa, Rabbi Binyomin Sussman, says that “Yaakov’s mind is always racing with ideas of how to help those in need.” Furthermore, Rabbi Simcha Lefkowitz, rav of Anshei Chessed, describes Yaakov as a “soft-spoken, wonderful person who is the first to assist anyone who needs help. He’s a yorei Shamayim, his learning is very important to him, and so is the chinuch of his children.” Lani Zoldan is a ba’alas chesed, par excellence—visiting a local old-age home every Purim, cooking and baking when friends, neighbors, and family make a simcha, hosting children whose parents were burdened with the problems of post-hurricane damage, and any other opportunity for chesed that presents itself. Lani is a stay-at-home mom who is extremely dedicated to her children, yet still finds time to attend shiurim regularly and be involved in shidduchim.
The Zoldan children, Goldie (a BBY third grader), Malka (a BBY second grader), Doniel (YDT), Atara, and Rina (soon-to-be BBY students) are fortunate to be raised in the loving, idealistic embrace of their special parents.
Avodas Hakodesh Award: Mr. David and Dr. Carolyn Levy. When the Levy children, Margalit, Eliana, and Yoni, were asked why they thought their parents are receiving the avodas hakodesh award from Bnos Bais Yaakov, they answered, “Well, our father learns and helps the shul, and our mother—she saves lives.” The children have got it exactly right; David and Carolyn Levy do indeed live a life of avodah and kedushah.
Mr. David Levy divides his time between learning, working in the family business, advising family and friends with respect to their insurance needs, and voluntarily assuming the positing of building manager at Aish Kodesh. But a primary focus of David’s energies is directed towards supporting his wife in her tafkid as a pediatric oncologist.
Dr. Carolyn Levy, the section head of the pediatric oncology rare tumor and sarcoma program at Cohen Children’s Medical Center at North Shore LIJ, is herself a cancer survivor. As such, Dr. Levy has a profound empathy for her patients. She treats them with “faith, honesty, and humor” and they respond with love and respect. Dr. Levy also serves as the assistant medical director for Camp Simcha Girls.
The Levy children have learned by example that life is for giving to others. They use their birthday parties as toy drives for the hospital, and Margalit and Eliana join the campers at Camp Simcha, where they hone their chesed skills even further. Bnos Bais Yaakov is proud and privileged to honor this exemplary couple.
Rebbetzin Basya Bender Teacher Excellence Award: Morah Shaindy Markovits. A teacher of little kinderlach for almost three decades, Morah Shaindy’s uniqueness as a teacher stems from her recognition that her young students are individuals in their personalities and learning styles. As an outgrowth of that understanding, Morah Shaindy utilizes open-ended art as a vehicle for her students’ expression. That aspect of her teaching technique earned Morah Shaindy her ranking as a top UPK teacher in our region.
After spending many years as a BBY kindergarten teacher, Morah Shaindy recently moved up to the pre-1a where she employed creativity and her understanding of children in an interesting twist. Post-Hurricane Sandy, Morah Shaindy keenly felt the insecurity that the pre-1a girls were experiencing. To combat that, she invented “pillow pals.” Morah Shaindy donated yards of cuddly blanket material, needles, thread, and stuffing to BBY. She cut out hundreds of circles and face details and prepared kits for each one of the 100 pre-1a girls. Each girl sewed her “pillow pal” and then had a warm and cozy pillow to snuggle up with when she was feeling sad or needed reassurance. The response was overwhelming—the children love their pillow pals! Morah Shaindy knew just what they needed at this difficult time.
Mazel tov to her proud husband, Marty, and their children Deena, Sarita and Yoni, Raizy and Isaac, Miry, Shaya and Shoshana, and Avromy and Devora upon Morah Shaindy’s well deserved award. v