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Donald J Fleishaker

Donald was born in Brooklyn to parents Esther and Abe Fleishaker. He was the youngest of three brothers. At seven years old, the family moved to the Bronx and it was there that he began his Jewish education and involvement.

His family joined Emanuel Synagogue in the Bronx and while his dad worked hard at his market, his mother was active in the Shul. Donald attended Hebrew school, participated in youth group, and was active in the choir. For those of us who have enjoyed Donald’s High Holiday davening, one of his haftorot, or just his singing on Shabbat, this all began as a boy at Emanuel. One of the highlights of his choir experience was that his choir actually sang “back up” for Cantor Reuven Tucker when he auditioned for the Metropolitan Opera. The audition went great, all the boys got ice cream, and you may better recognize Cantor Reuven as the famous tenor Richard Tucker.

Donald attended James Monroe high school. A very active bass player in the orchestra, it was there he met his “bashert” a pretty violin player named Dorothy. A year younger, Dorothy actually won a bet with her 11th grade classmates by being the first to get asked on a date by a senior boy. They made beautiful music together and were married in 1951. In 1956, with three year old twins Sandy and Rhoda in tow, they settled in Eastchester. Abbe and Aaron soon followed and their family of six was now complete.

Donald and Dorothy joined Genesis Hebrew Center. A small conservative congregation which was adjacent to the Crestwood train station. Synagogue life and communal giving was a staple in the Fleishaker household. At Genesis, Donald was a three time President, a member of the Board of Trustees, Chairman of the ritual committee, and frequent substitute Cantor. Dorothy served as two time Sisterhood President and Donald and Dorothy were the first couple to serve as Synagogue President and Sisterhood President Simultaneously. When various local synagogues began to have financial problems and declining membership, Donald led the effort to effectuate the mergers of both Agudas Achim and Emanuel Jewish Center of Mount Vernon into Genesis. Unfortunately for Genesis, the Jewish population in Eastchester continued to decline. Not one to ever give up on his shul, Donald found a new location in Scarsdale, sold the existing building and helped to build a new building in the Scarsdale location. This effort resulted in the founding of Sharei Tikvah in Scarsdale.

In the Jewish community at large, Donald has served as Chair of the Westchester UJA-Federation Campaign, has served on the UJA-Federation Overseas Board, the Human Resources Development Committee, and the Westchester Cabinet. He was Board member of HIAS and served on their Executive Committee, Scholarship Committee, and Speakers Bureau. He is also an Honorary Director of the Westchester Jewish Conference.

Since moving to Westchester, Donald has always maintained a relationship with Beth El. He has attended the daily minyan and supported many endeavors even while still so active at Genesis/Sharei Tikvah. However, in 1999, Donald and Dorothy made the move and joined Beth El full time.

Donald has made such an impact at Beth El over the last 18 years. Giving not just financially, but imparting and sharing the knowledge he has gained over a lifetime of Synagogue and community involvement. Donald has served on the Board of Trustees and remains an Honorary Trustee, served on the Ritual Committee, the fundraising committee, has beautifully led Rosh Hashanah Shacharit services and is a regular attendee and supporter of our daily minyan. In addition, he continues to show his generosity across the spectrum of Beth El. In memory of his beloved Dorothy, he endowed the Dorothy Fleishaker Religious School Enrichment fund. He also was the largest supporter of our brick fund raiser. He is a supporter of our teens Israel education program which culminates in their attendance at the AIPAC Conference in Washington. Donald’s support of Beth El’s programs are too lengthy to mention here. Suffice it to say we are all grateful for his generosity.

When Donald was notified by Beth El President Mark Seidenfeld of his selection to be this year’s gala honoree, he was extremely honored but also surprised that he would be selected for this honor. We are sure that his family and community would not be surprised at all. We look forward to seeing all of you on March 18th at this year’s Gala.

Lori and Steven Schwartz

Lori and Steven Schwartz met in the Catskills at the Stephensville Hotel in 1987, and were married in Queens, NY, in 1991. They began their lives together in Yonkers, where their sons Joseph and David were born. In 1997 they moved to New Rochelle and soon joined Beth El Synagogue Center.

Lori grew up in Massapequa, New York. She celebrated her bat mitzvah at Suburban Temple, graduated from SUNY Albany in 1984, received her MBA from Adelphi University, and worked for British Airways until she retired from her accounting career after Joseph’s birth. After the children started attending Nursery School, Lori became a substitute teacher at Beth El. She is currently a substitute teacher at Westchester Day School and a camp counselor at Westchester Summer Day.

Lori co-chaired and co-founded the Nursery School Ladies Night Out and co-chaired the December 25th Family Day. She served on the Nursery School Board, the Nominating Committee (which she also co-chaired), is a Sisterhood Board member, and is on the Board of Trustees. Lori has chaired the Gala’s silent auction at the past few Galas, and currently co-chairs the College Age Committee, serves on the High Holiday Honors Committee, and is co-chair of the Catering Committee. Lori has been an active volunteer at Kids’ Kloset for the past six years.

Steven grew up in the Bronx, where he celebrated his bar mitzvah at Young Israel of Pelham Parkway. He moved to Yonkers where he attended High School. The Schwartz family belonged to Lincoln Park Jewish Center, where Steve’s parents held leadership positions for several decades. Steve graduated from Fordham University in 1986 and received his MBA from Pace University. After twenty-five years as a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, Steve recently began working as a Managing Director at Bank of America.

Steven is currently the co-chair of the Human Resources Committee. He co-chaired the Assistant Rabbi Search Committee that recommended Rabbi Sitkin to Beth El, is a member of the Technology Committee, and is honored to be a member of the Journey Planning Team.

Joseph and David attended Beth El Nursery School and Day Camp, were regulars at Torah for Tots, and each celebrated their bar mitzvah at Beth El. Both Joseph and David attended Schechter Westchester and graduated from New Rochelle High School, with David as valedictorian of his graduating class. Joseph graduated from New York University and lives and works in New York City. David is currently a junior at Yale University.

Steven and Lori feel blessed to be a part of this wonderful Beth El community. They are fortunate to have found a place with wonderful friends who are there for them in good times and in bad. They are greatly honored to be the recipients of the President's Ne’emanim Service Award, and are thrilled to share this evening with Donald Fleishaker, and Robin and Dani Yairi.

Robyn and Daniel Yairi

Robyn and Daniel met in 2001 at a Shabbat dinner at their Upper West Side synagogue in Manhattan. After having their three children—Noah, Avi, and Talia—they moved to New Rochelle. They were immediately warmly greeted by members of Beth El and the synagogue quickly became their home away from home.

Robyn grew up in northern Westchester where she was active in USY and attended Camp Ramah. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, she studied at the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem before moving to New York. After many years of working in consumer insights at MetLife and Unilever, Robyn started her own consulting practice. Robyn chairs the Youth Services Committee and has also been involved in the Family Initiatives Committee and Nursery School Board. She is currently one of the Gabbaim and is serving on the Journey team. Robyn uses her professional expertise to help Beth El run a rigorous surveying program of members’ experiences.

Dani grew up in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. He was active in NFTY, went to camp at Olin-Sang-Ruby, and attended Young Judea Year Course in Israel. He graduated from the University of Illinois and received an MBA from Stanford University. Dani is currently a Portfolio Manager at AllianceBernstein. He has been on the Board of Trustees at Beth El for two years and served on both the Nominating Committee and the Assistant Rabbi Search Committee. He also serves as a Den Leader in the Cub Scout troop that meets at Beth El.

Noah, Avi, and Talia have all attended Beth El’s Nursery School, Religious School, and Day Camp. They feel just as at home at Beth El as their parents!

Robyn and Dani are so grateful to have been selected as the recipients of this first Lapid award. They feel so fortunate to have found Beth El and look forward to many more years as part of the community.

Mon, October 22 2018 13 Cheshvan 5779