By Benzion Kaplan
Mr. and Mrs. Yoav Taub, Guests of Honor. Yoav and Shari Taub, devoted parents and supporters of Yeshiva Darchei Torah, have a long and rich history of askanus in the Far Rockaway/Lawrence community.
In 2000, Yoav was a founding member of what is now the yeshiva’s board of directors. The formation of the board came at a critical time in the yeshiva’s history. Student enrollment was growing at an unprecedented pace and the need for a new, larger building was first coming into focus. Yoav and his colleagues, a cohesive group of young fathers, rose to the challenge and helped set the yeshiva on the course that it is on today.
Shari was born into a family of pioneers in communal leadership. Her parents, Dovid and Krunchie Friedman, were among the earliest supporters and lay-leaders of Yeshiva Darchei Torah in the early 1970s, back when it was a fledgling institution, and remain involved today. Her brothers, Shaya and Tzvi, are proud alumni, and her sister, Chava Lowy, heads Plum, the yeshiva’s upscale thrift store, so Yeshiva Darchei Torah is very much a family affair. In addition, her maternal grandfather, Louis Newman, a’h, was one of the first frum Jews to move with his family to Far Rockaway, where he left his imprint on numerous community institutions, from the White Shul to Torah Academy for Girls (TAG)—both of which he served with distinction as president.
Yoav, son of Shlomo, a’h, and, ybl’c, Chani Taub, was raised in Kew Gardens Hills, and is an alumnus of Yeshiva Tiferes Moshe, Ner Israel, and Mir Yerushalayim. He holds an MBA from New York University and has been in the diamond business for the last 18 years.
Shortly after their marriage, the Taubs settled in Lawrence, and they were eventually followed by Yoav’s brothers, J.J. and Moshe, as well as his sister, Avigayil Stoll. The extended Taub family soon made its mark on the Five Towns, with its energetic support of Torah causes and communal mosdos.
Yoav and Shari daven and are highly active at Beis Medrash Heichal Dovid in Lawrence, which they describe as “a very central part of our lives,” with Yoav serving as gabbai and maintaining his daily morning and evening learning sedarim there. “Whatever good we have accomplished has been through the shul,” he says.
The Taubs are very proud of their sons: Volvi, an alumnus, and Avigdor, a current talmid; both were talmidim of Yeshiva Darchei Torah since early elementary school. “The way my sons have progressed in their learning has amazed me,” Yoav relates. “They’ve far surpassed me already.” After hearing one of his sons give a chaburah last year at the yeshiva, Yoav said he was floored. He is gratified that each one of his siblings also has children learning at Yeshiva Darchei Torah and gaining from its unique brand of chinuch.
Yoav lauds the extraordinary beinadaml’chaveiro exhibited by the yeshiva’s talmidim. “To see how the boys relate to each other, without bickering, with a certain maturity—it’s very impressive.” He attributes the yeshiva’s success to its hanhalah and to the warm and personal environment that they have created. “To have such a large yeshiva that has 2,000 students yet is so warm is a dichotomy—yet it exists so perfectly. That fosters great talmidim.”
Mr. and Mrs. Eytan Feldman, Parents of the Year. Eytan and Aliza Feldman of Woodmere are the proud parents of Akiva, a third-grader at Yeshiva Darchei Torah, and four daughters. Eytan is a managing director and partner at Old City Investment Partners. Aliza is an occupational therapist and focuses on early intervention for children under the age of three, and she is also a supervisor of other therapists.
In October 2013, Eytan agreed to serve on the executive board of the Yeshiva and has quickly assumed an active role in addressing its fiscal health and assessing its current and future capital and operational needs. He is also a committed member of the board of the Yeshiva Gedolah of the Five Towns, where he davens and learns daily.
Eytan has always felt a sense of achrayus to the Klal, which he attributes to two primary role models. The first is his father, Norman Feldman, who together with his mother, Nedra, instilled this sense of responsibility in their son. His father was in charge of the eiruv of the Oceanside community, where they lived. Many a Friday afternoon saw the elder Mr. Feldman fixing downed portions of the eiruv—usually with Eytan in tow. Around thirty years ago, his father ran the annual bazaar of the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach, and it became a Feldman family affair, from preparing the cotton candy to other aspects of the fundraising event. These examples instilled in Eytan that it is not only important to be involved in klal functions, but to take an active leadership role as well.
In addition, during the three years that Eytan spent learning at Ner Israel in Baltimore, he developed a close relationship with its legendary president, Rabbi Herman (Naftoli) Neuberger, zt’l. “That’s what he was all about: achrayus for the Jewish people,” Eytan recalls. “He was a real leader. Watching him, I developed a greater sense of the importance of being involved and showing your support for Torah institutions.” While at Ner Israel, Eytan learned under Rav Zvi Berkowitz, shlita, with whom he remains close until today. He also studied in kollel at Yeshiva Shaar HaTorah-Grodno in Kew Gardens, and earned a MBA in finance from Fordham University.
Aliza is involved in chesed every day, having chosen a career of working with special-needs children. She is a well-respected clinician, both by the families she works with and her peers. She has instilled this value into her own children as well. One of Eytan and Aliza’s daughters, Michal, is a volunteer at Ohel Bais Ezra. Aliza attributes her love and passion for helping others improve their lives to her mother, Shaindy Schumsky, who as a respected psychotherapist has devoted her life to helping others, and who infused this value into her from an early age with her involvement in kiruv and other community causes.
Eytan Feldman is effusive in describing his family’s experience at Yeshiva Darchei Torah. “Akiva loves Darchei. He loves everything about it. He loves his rebbeim, he loves his teachers, he loves his friends, he loves being there. There’s nothing about school that he doesn’t like. And I can attest that his friends from the neighborhood feel the same way. I can’t imagine a more ideal situation.”
Serving on the executive board, Eytan reflects on what he has gleaned from his inside vantage point. “Rabbi Bender is well-known for his leadership. But one thing that you see when watching him is the love that he exudes. For a person who’s been in this position for over 30 years you would think that at some point it would become routine. On the contrary, you can see that the concern and care that he puts in has truly not abated. I am amazed at the scope of the yeshiva and how he is able to accomplish so much.”
The other honorees are Mr. and Mrs. Yumi Kleinbart, Hakoras Hatov Award; Rabbi and Mrs. Moshe Lubart, Harbotzas Torah Award; Mr. and Mrs. Yossi Preiserowicz, Alumnus of the Year; and the Mesivta Chaim Shlomo Class of 2000, in celebration of 15 years of accomplishment.
For more information about the dinner, please call 718-868-2300, ext. 237, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.darchei.org/dinner.