Bnos Bais Yaakov will b’ezras Hashem hold its 21st annual dinner on Monday, February 16, at the Sands in Atlantic Beach. At this year’s dinner, Bnos Bais Yaakov is proud to honor esteemed members of its board of trustees Mr. Samuel Bergman, Mr. Moish Hirth, and Mr. Mel Zachter.
Guest of Honor Mr. Samuel Bergman. Mr. Bergman and his wife, Sarah, are longtime residents of Lawrence and have been active members of the Far Rockaway/Five Towns community for decades. An attorney by profession, Mr. Bergman held a position as partner at a major Manhattan law firm for 17 years and now maintains a private practice in corporate law. With his years of experience, Mr. Bergman brings extensive knowledge of the corporate and business worlds to Bnos Bais Yaakov.
Mr. Bergman has served on the boards of Shaaray Tefila in Lawrence and Yeshiva of South Shore. Currently, he serves as an adviser to both Shalom Task Force and Magen LI. Says his son Dr. Akiva Bergman, “My father has always been a role model for me and my siblings. His deep devotion to his rebbeim and rabbanim, tenacious adherence to his core values of yashrus and integrity, and selfless concern for the klal are but a few of his qualities that we witness daily.”
Mr. Bergman devotes an enormous amount of time to Torah learning. He has been a talmid of Rabbi Yehoshua Kalish through four cycles of daf yomi, attends numerous community shiurim, maintains daily chavrusas, and spends three months a year in Eretz Yisrael, where he attends Rav Nissan Kaplan’s shiur in the Mir Yeshiva.
Guest of Honor Mr. Moish Hirth. Mr. Hirth and his wife, Evelyn, have been residents of Lawrence for over 30 years. Mr. Hirth has been involved with Bnos Bais Yaakov for nearly a decade, and feels a strong sense of achrayus to lend a hand to sustain Bnos Bais Yaakov as an indispensable community institution.
After his morning learning seder, Mr. Hirth divides his time between his construction business, his countless chasadim, and his community activism. Professionally, Mr. Hirth manages Hirth Real Estate, which was founded by his father and uncle, Phillip and Jack Hirth. His line of business put Mr. Hirth in a unique position to spearhead the renovation of the Agudath Israel of Long Island, as well as the building of the Far Rockaway–Lawrence Mikveh. Indeed, Mr. Hirth handled all aspects of the mikveh building project, from developing the plans to implementing and supervising every phase of the process.
Mr. Hirth believes that “a successful deal is made when both parties to a transaction leave the table feeling they have done well for themselves.” This belief is the reason people often approach Moish to mediate their conflicts, whether of a business or personal nature.
Guest of Honor Mr. Mel Zachter. Mr. Zachter is renowned for his askanus. A talented CPA by profession and a level-headed thinker by nature, Mr. Zachter is currently co-president of Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services and holds positions in his hometown of Staten Island on the boards of Yeshiva Merkaz Hatorah, Bikur Cholim, and Hatzalah. He also serves as an adviser for Central Hatzalah and serves on the community advisory board of Gouverneur Hospital of the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation.
“For as long as I can remember, my father has been at the forefront of community needs,” says his daughter Mrs. Cindy Becker. But Mr. Zachter does not reserve his talents for large organizations. “He is just as generous with his time and energies regarding individuals, whether giving advice, or helping someone get a job,” attests his son Yaakov. As to what spurs his father to be so giving, Yitzchok Zachter offers this explanation: “He is a tremendous ba’al achrayus; whatever he does, he does because he feels a responsibility to use his G‑d-given talents and abilities to help others.”
It is with profound hakaras ha’tov to Mr. Bergman, Mr. Hirth, and Mr. Zachter for assuming the leadership of BBY that the school community lauds them as Guests of Honor at Bnos Bais Yaakov’s annual dinner.
Parents of the Year: Rabbi Moshe and Mrs. Shainy Bender. Rabbi Moshe Bender, associate dean in Yeshiva Darchei Torah, is the right-hand man of his father, renowned Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Yaakov Bender, who says, “Moshe is tireless and indefatigable. He considers nothing to be out of his domain or not in his league.” But according to Moshe, the most gratifying parts of his job are the weekly shmuess he gives to the 8th-grade boys and his involvement with the mesivta and beis midrash bachurim.
R’ Moshe is no stranger to askanus, either. During the early years of his marriage, when he lived in Lakewood, he established a morning kollel where yungerleit earned a supplementary income based on mastery of additional masechtos. Until today, he is involved in myriad projects in the community. “He really feels the pain of any individual in a difficult situation, and is a paradigm of ‘imo anochi b’tzarah,’” attests one friend. “Yet he is so full of energy that one would not know that he sleeps very little because he is always busy helping both mosdos and yechidim.”
Mrs. Shainy Bender is the highly efficient BBY secretary for grades 1–4. Says Morah Penina Neuberg, elementary-school principal, “I’d really like to get up and speak about her, because she is an individual who works tirelessly, selflessly, and professionally on behalf of BBY, but always in the most unassuming way.”
Shainy also serves as the secretary/liaison for the PTA, bringing her trademark efficiency to bear on everything she does. Beyond facilitating PTA functions during school hours, Shainy gives generously of her own time to assist the PTA; whether for the walk-a-thon, melaveh malkah, or Tu B’Shevat event, Shainy can never do enough for the PTA. And everything is always done with her signature smile and a can-do attitude.
“Parents of the Year” is not an award that Bnos Bais Yaakov bestows lightly. The honorees must reflect all that BBY holds dear, in terms of chinuch and moral rectitude. By melding the rich legacies of their families, Moshe and Shainy Bender have created a unique balance of being available for others, yet realizing that their ultimate goal is being there for their children. The school is proud to bestow that title to Rabbi Moshe and Mrs. Shainy Bender.
Kesser Shem Tov Award: Mr. Shabse and Mrs. Tova Fuchs. Mr. and Mrs. Fuchs wear the crown of a “shem tov” with dignity. So many grateful institutions and so many thankful individuals have thus crowned Shabse and Tova Fuchs.
Shabse is a self-employed businessman who never lets his success in business stand in the way of his real focus. He never misses a minyan or his shiur, and his raison d’être is to extend himself for others. Indeed, Shabse has created a life built around gemiluschasadim.
Tova, who teaches in Be’er Hagolah, has inspired legions of young Russian women. They so adore their morah that they pursue any occasion to spend more time with her. In a most beautiful melding of chinuch for the Fuchs children and their BBY friends and chesed for the Be’er Hagolah girls, the Fuchs family hosted a joint bas mitzvah celebration for the 6th-graders of both schools. These girls—raised in vastly different cultures—danced together and enjoyed a beautiful meal. At the conclusion of the event, each girl received her own personalized siddur.
Another cause near and dear to Shabse and Tova Fuchs is building batei ne’eman b’Yisrael. Tova has arranged thousands of dates and has successfully concluded dozens of shidduchim. Sometimes, despite her best efforts, a sticking point arises that puts the shidduch on hold. At this point, Shabse, “The Closer,” steps in. A skilled negotiator, Shabse has gotten many a shidduch over apparently insurmountable hurdles.
This chesed-oriented couple put their shadchanus towards the writing of a sefer Torah which they then donated to their shul. They are currently in the midst of having a fourth shidduch sefer Torah written.
It is no wonder that Shabse and Tova are such chesed activists. Both Shabse’s and Tova’s parents have raised their families with chesed as a non-negotiable value. Mr. Berish and Mrs. Hannah Fuchs, renowned philanthropists, have taken a special interest in the plight of agunos. For their part, Dr. and Mrs. Sammy and Denise Fuhrer have literally brought chesed into their home. Mrs. Fuhrer’s mother lives in their home and they care for her with all the kavod that this beloved matriarch deserves.
Mazal tov to Shabse and Tova Fuchs. May they continue to wear the kesser shem tov with grace and dignity.
Community Service Award: Mr. Jason Cury and Mr. Joel Beritz. Bnos Bais Yaakov has had the good fortune to be the beneficiaries of the munificence of two renowned patrons in the world of Jewish education: Mr. Jason Cury, president and CEO, and Mr. Joel Beritz, vice-president, of the Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss Life Monument Funds and the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE). Over the course of the last several years, they have come to the aid of Bnos Bais Yaakov many times over. Their securing of funds enabled BBY to acquire a state-of-the-art computer lab. Recently, the fund also covered the cost of an upgrade.
Through Mr. Cury and Mr. Beritz, CIJE has also provided financing for the first Smart Boards purchased by the school. CIJE also funded a new, state-of-the-art science lab for grades 1–5. It is fully set up with equipment as well as lesson plans which promote hands-on learning and problem solving.
This year, through Mr. Cury and Mr. Beritz, Gruss Life Monument came forward with a monumental endowment, matching donations made by the BBY parent body which ensured the endurance of Bnos Bais Yaakov through a difficult transitional period. BBY is deeply indebted to Mr. Cury and Mr. Beritz for their continued support and their commitment to ensuring that Bnos Bais Yaakov remains a thriving institution on the cutting edge of education.
For their continuous involvement and dedication to the financial stability and educational superiority of Bnos Bais Yaakov, the school is pleased to honor Mr. Jason Cury and Mr. Joel Beritz with the Community Service Award.
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Please join the BBY family at the dinner on February 16 to show your support and pay tribute to the honorees and an outstanding educational institution. For more information, to make a reservation, or to place an ad, please call 718-337-6000, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.bbydinner.org.