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:Honorees:

Dan Feldman

Laura Lewis 

Susan Wolman 

Steven Cohen

 

Dan Feldman (Hatan Kol Ha’Nearim)

Dan is a member of our Board of Trustees and the Chair of our Youth Services Committee. He and his wife Emily, his sons Jed and Ilan and their dog gave up their one-bedroom, rent-stabilized apartment in Manhattan in 2011 for more spacious living arrangements in New Rochelle. They joined Beth El that same year, where Jed and Ilan have attended Day Camp and Religious School, and where the family are regular attendees of Shabbat services. Jed and Ilan are stalwarts of the Family Kehillah service, and are always eager to participate when they can in the “adult” services as well. When he is not coaching the 5th/6th Grade Beth El basketball team (don’t remind him of a certain overtime loss in the playoffs) or traveling the world on hiking and camping trips (do ask him about close encounters with all sorts of wildlife, including grizzly bears, elephants and scorpions), Dan runs his own litigation practice in Queens. How appropriate that Dan, who does so much to serve Beth El’s youth community, is being honored as Hattan Kol Ha’Nearim, which literally means “All the Children.” Dan encourages all at Beth El to follow his example and volunteer some of their time to the shul.

 

Laura Lewis (Kallat Torah)

Laura joined Beth El the day after she and her family arrived in New Rochelle in 1987. Originally from the UK, Laura wasn’t entirely familiar with Conservative Judaism, but after attending the Mommy and Me program and Shabbat services with her daughter Michelle (recently engaged to be married!), she quickly became familiar with the liturgy. Laura credits Beth El, and particularly Jack Gruenberg’s Shabbat morning class, with opening her eyes to the deep richness of Jewish learning and life. While attending SUNY Purchase and raising Michelle, Laura served on the Board of Trustees and countless committees, including the Kiddush Committee, Adult Ed, Ritual, and Dinner Dance, to name a few. A lawyer by training, Laura has spent most of her career in the non-profit sector, focusing on Israel advocacy and helping to serve the needs of under-resourced communities closer to home. She recently retired after a 30-year career, and has committed herself to giving back and to continued learning. Laura is a regular attendee of Beth El’s daily minyan, and currently serves on the executive committees of the InterReligious Coalition of New Rochelle (where she also represents Beth El) and the Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration. Laura also participates in the Westchester Women’s Agenda Racial Justice and Equity program and attends classes at her alma mater. She is extremely grateful for the freedom to simply follow her interests. In December, 2019 Laura participated in Beth El’s Encounter trip, helping to promote dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians living in the West Bank. She serves as a member of that group’s steering committee, which seeks to coordinate the Encounter group’s continued engagement on this challenging issue. Laura is grateful to be the recipient of many opportunities and learning experiences, but above all, she is grateful for the love and support this community has given her and daughter since the first day she walked through its doors.

 

Susan Wolman (Kallat B’reshit)

Receiving this honor has inspired Susan to review the forty-seven years she and her husband, Steven Guggenheim (who incidentally had his Bar Mitzvah at Beth El’s previous building on Union Avenue, and who lured her from Ohio to New York), have been connected to Beth El. During her years teaching elementary and graduate school (which she found to really not have been so different), Susan developed a powerful addiction for which there is no cure: quilting. This passion continues to delight and control her, and has facilitated many fascinating opportunities, most recently helping to design and create the Beth El Memorial Quilt that honored the memories of Beth El members and their loved ones who were lost during the pandemic, and which was displayed at Beth El during this year’s High Holidays. Beth El gave Susan the opportunity to watch her daughter Cynthia blossom in a nurturing, thoughtful environment. Cynthia “graduated” from Beth El Nursery School, where she learned from her beloved Mrs. Gingold and Mrs. Kesten, and became a Bat Mitzvah at Beth El in the tradition of her father and uncles, having been trained by Cantor Lawrence Avery. Susan also credits a Beth El “Torah Happening” over 40-plus years ago with teaching her how to bake challah (Vicki Fisher gets some credit, too) and is proud to say that to this day her daughter considers Susan’s challahs “legendary.” Beth El’s “thread” of tradition is very strong for Susan and she looks forward to soon being able to introduce her and Steve’s new grandson, Ari, (who, alas, lives in San Francisco) to his mother’s, grandparents’, and great-grandparents’ Beth El community.
 

Steven Cohen (Hatan Maftir)

Steve, whose family - wife Jackie Spiegel, daughters Maddie and Isabelle and son Jeremy - joined Beth El several years ago as “transplants” from Young Israel of New Rochelle, likens the warm embrace he has always felt at Beth El since joining to the initiative to encourage broader participation by our members in services each Shabbat, which he has been a critical part of. In fact, it is very appropriate that Steve is this year’s Hattan Maftir, since he has led the effort to attract and invite more people to chant Haftarah on Shabbat and holidays. Steve sincerely appreciates the opportunities his own family members have had to experience and contribute to Beth El in their own individual and unique ways. A corporate and securities lawyer whose heart is in the mountains as an avid backpacker, mountaineer and backcountry skier, Steven wishes all of Beth El a year of blessings and strength as we forge ahead together in these uncertain times.
 

Sat, November 27 2021 23 Kislev 5782