By MICHELE JUSTIC
In countless ways, Chabad of the Five Towns enriches the community with services, programs, classes, and more. Rabbi Zalman and Rebbetzin Chanie Wolowik, Rabbi Meir and Rebbetzin Hadassah Geisinsky, and the entire Chabad crew are powerhouses, never shying away from challenges and always stepping up to the plate to help others. Divine Providence has guided their way, keeping the light of Chabad on in the Five Towns while also sending some key figures along their path to help them on their journey. The list is too numerous to detail, but each year the shul acknowledges some individuals without whom Chabad of the Five Towns would not be what it is today. This year’s annual dinner honorees are as follows:
Shlomo and Addi Kapetas. Shlomo Kapetas was born in Paris, France in 1975. Listening to his father’s prophetic advice, he immigrated to the United States 18 years ago upon completing his studies in accounting. Shlomo and a partner founded KVB Partners in 2006, a tax and accounting firm servicing European companies establishing their subsidiaries in the United States. Today, with G‑d’s help, KVB Partners counts over 35 employees and is located in the financial district of Manhattan.
Addi was born in Jerusalem in 1975 to a Chassidic family. She immigrated to the U.S. with her family at the age of 14 and settled in Boro Park. With a team of specialists, Addi recently founded a unique clinical center in Manhattan called Lymphedema Alliance of NY, providing quality-of-life care for lymphedema patients.
The Kapetases moved to Cedarhurst 10 years ago after having lived in Brooklyn and Riverdale. Shlomo and Addi have been married since 2000 and are the proud parents of Shirly, a 9th-grader at Manhattan High for Girls, and Zaki, a 5th-grader at Yeshiva of South Shore. The Kapetases have tremendous gratitude to the Wolowiks and Geisinskys of the Chabad of Five Towns for all they have done for the community and look forward to many more successful years together.
Leonard and Phyllis Lubin. Lenny and Phyllis grew up in the greater Five Towns area. Lenny is currently a senior manager at the accounting firm Friedman LLP, where he services clients in the fashion, real-estate, and financial-services industries. Phyllis currently works as an attorney at Maidenbaum & Sternberg LLP in Cedarhurst. Phyllis is also a columnist for the Five Towns Jewish Times and head lifeguard at Avnet Country Day School.
The Lubins have lived in Cedarhurst for over 21 years. They are the proud parents of six children: Naftali (married to Nina), Shoshana, Rivka, Rochel, Yosef, and Lea. Lenny and Phyllis recently became new grandparents to Naftali and Nina’s bechor, Moshe Ezra.
Lenny and Yosef can be found every morning at the Chabad of the Five Towns daily minyan. Yosef is the designated tzedakah collector, assists the rabbi in announcing the page numbers, and serves as the Junior Chazzan on Shabbos morning. Yosef has attended the Friendship Circle’s weekly Judaica Circle since its inception. Rochel spent many years as a Friendship Circle volunteer, and Lea is following in her footsteps. Friendship Circle has given so much to the Lubin family—both by educating Yussie and by being a support for the entire family. With the constant care and concern of Rabbi and Rebbetzin Wolowik, the Chabad of the Five Towns is truly the Lubin family’s home away from home. Rabbi and Rebbetzin Geisinsky opened their arms to Yussie when he began attending Shabbos-morning groups, and from day one, there was never a moment when the Chabad family didn’t make Yussie feel included.
Yosef Yitzchok and Penina Batsheva Popack. Yosef Yitzchok Popack hails from a prominent Chabad family. His grandfather, Rabbi Avroham Popack, ob’m, was a chassid of the Lubavitcher Rebbes Rashab and Reb Menachem Mendel Schneerson, ob’m. Reb Avroham was one of the earliest Chabad emissaries, arriving in the state of Vermont in 1917. So it was very appropriate for Yosef Yitzchok’s father, Reb Shmuel Isaac Halevi, ob’m, and his wife, Miriam, shetichyeh, to raise their six children in the holy surroundings of 770 in Crown Heights. After receiving a beautiful berachah from Reb Menachem Mendel Schneerson, a young Yosef partnered with his father in the real-estate business. His success in this arena allowed him to focus on Torah values and begin his philanthropy. The majority of his focus and energy is devoted to tzedakah and helping Jewish causes near and far.
Yosef attributes his dedication and good deeds for Klal Yisrael to his beloved wife, Penina Batsheva, who is his driving force and inspiration. Penina was born and raised in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, but met Yosef while pursuing a career in the Big Apple, and they were wedded in Central Park on the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s birthday. They settled in Lawrence 20 years ago, with an instant family of five sons, and then along came four beautiful daughters. Their girls attended Gan Chamesh preschool and spent many a happy Shabbos in the Chabad youth groups, where they have made lifelong friendships. In their growing years, they attended Camp Gan Israel where, for the past two summers, their eldest daughter, Leah, was employed as the assistant to the director.
Penina’s dedication, energy, and creativity for family, friends, and Chabad can be experienced at every beautiful family simcha, annual Chabad dinner, Chabad women’s luncheon, and special event she plans. Beginning with the theme, the invitations, décor, down to the last forkful of dessert, it is truly a “Penina production.” For the past seven years, Penina has volunteered as the associate director and project manager to all EM Basch Productions at Shulamith School for Girls. Penina’s belief in the dramatic experience for the girls gave them the opportunity to develop their potential while attaining lifelong skills.
As longtime friends of Rabbi Zalman and Chanie Wolowik, Yosef and Penina have been active supporters of Chabad of the Five Towns since its early days, acting as partners in its endeavors and chairmen for the past 11 dinners. They continue to give of their time and abilities to help Chabad’s expansion, shepping nachas as they see it grow and flourish into what it has become today.
Yosef and Penina also support many other Chabad institutions across the United States and worldwide. Yosef is a board member of Colel Chabad, Tzivos Hashem, Chabad on Campus, Machane Yisroel Day Camp, and Touro College. Yosef is chairman of the board of Tzivos Hashem. With gratitude to Hashem for all His blessings, it is the Popacks’ dream that their children, iy’h, will follow in their footsteps and beyond, as exemplars of chesed, love of Torah, love of Eretz Yisrael, and of course, love of Chabad.
Shmuel and Estee Salman. Although Estee and Shmuel served in the IDF and went to Tel Aviv University at the same time, they did not have the pleasure of meeting each other until later, while working for the Postal Authority. They married, spent some time living in Europe, and finally moved back to the United States to be with family and begin starting their own. The Salmans’ first encounter with Chabad was in September 1995, right before the High Holy Days. They had lots of family visiting from Israel for their nephew’s impending birth. Estee and Shmuel could not find a temple that would accommodate them. While Estee was working in a local baby store, she met Chana Wolowik. Before they knew it, they were sharing the holidays with their new Chabad family.
Estee was responsible for coordinating Chabad’s first minyan and worked for Gan Chamesh. From Gan Chamesh through Hebrew school to Bat Mitzvah Club, their daughters Kami and Daisy were firmly entrenched in all of the important traditions that Chabad has taught them. The Salmans have all witnessed the blessings and comfort that Chabad has brought to their extended family. Estee is a teacher and studying to be a principal, and Zalman and Chana Wolowik have always been a huge support for her, writing references when needed. While Shmuel was studying to become an attorney, the Chabad family took the Salmans under their wing. They helped them find a religious home where they could express themselves in their own way, and gave them a direction with their spiritual guidance. Estee supports several charities and causes for Israel, as she holds her homeland close to her heart. Shmuel just came back from a two-week trip to Israel, visiting family and studying Torah. The Salmans’ love for Chabad has helped keep them close to their faith in religion, their Jewish traditions, and always reminds them that family comes first.
Shlomy and Ahuvah Slatus. The Slatuses moved to Cedarhurst two-and-a-half years ago and were immediately welcomed with open arms and hearts by the Wolowiks and the Chabad family. The warmth of the Gan Chamesh preschool has made their children feel right at home, and they are proud to be honored as Parents of the Year. Shlomy grew up in Savannah, Georgia, and then went to Israel for two years to study at the Mirrer Yeshiva. He currently runs Southern National Assets, LLC, a private equity fund that primarily invests in the tax receivables market.
Ahuvah grew up in Queens and Lawrence. She followed her passion for gourmet food and attended culinary school. After an internship at Solo restaurant, where she trained under some of the best chefs in New York, Ahuvah now prepares healthy culinary delights as a personal chef.
Their daughter Matty is a “Red and Blue Room” alumna and presently attends B’not Shulamith. Their daughter Aliza is a current Gan Chamesh “Red Room” student who loves her morahs. Before moving to Cedarhurst, the Slatuses lived in Belle Harbor.
Shlomy tutored at the Yeshiva Merkaz HaTorah and their home was always open to guests. Both Shlomy and Ahuvah grew up seeing parents who are devoted to the welfare of their communities, especially through kiruv and chesed. They hope to emulate their parents and instill within their own children the importance of these middos.
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Now is the time to express your appreciation for Chabad and this year’s honorees. You are invited to attend the 20th Annual Dinner Celebration on Sunday, December 14 at the Sands at Atlantic Beach. If you cannot attend, please consider participating in the raffles, which include split the pot, a trip to Israel, a diamond watch, a laptop, a stay at the Allegria, weekly floral centerpieces, and a night at the Soho Grand. Many thanks to FlyWithClass.com, Jeremy Kahn, Allegria Hotel, Prime Bistro, the Jeweler’s Wife, and Jerusalem Florist for their generous contributions to the raffle. Visit www.chabad5towns.com or call 516-295-2478 for more information.