HaKol MiSchechter


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My favorite part of creating this alumni newsletter, which was a spin-off of the general newsletter I was writing for the school, was coming up with the name. The original newsletter is called "Kol Schechter" (with a kuf -- The Voice of Schechter), and I dubbed this "HaKol MiSchechter" (with a kaf -- It\'s All From Schechter).

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HaKol MiSchechter

  1. 1. NEW layout for HKMS -6 FINAL 6/4/07 1:50 PM Page 1 Whose News? Mitchel Malkus—Page 1, Reuniting—Page 1, Joel Chasnoff—Page 2, Yardena Cope-Yossef—Page 3, Aaron Becker—Page 4, Jay and David Ecanow—Page 5, Alumni Updates—Page 6 Play (It) Forward send me to the school, they had a strong Jewish identity, but they were not particular- • Classes of 1990-2001 will gather on June 21st at Habitat Gallery, 222 West Mitchel Malkus has looked forward to the ly knowledgeable or observant. They were Superior, Chicago. Caryn Peretz and Becky student-faculty basketball game for many drawn in through the experience that my Baum are co-chairing this reunion, with the years. Its one of his earliest memories of brother (Lee, Class of 1984) and I had at the help of representatives from each class. school, and one of his most recent. school. The school was concerned not only Alumni will be joined by former Sager “I remember that at Solomon Schechter, Mitch Malkus continued on Page 2 School Director Jay Leberman, Yaacov the eighth grade used to play the faculty in Dvorin, and other faculty and staff who basketball. The whole school would go and Reuniting... And It helped make the school what it was during watch. I was a basketball player, so I looked forward to one day being able to play in that Feels So Good! those years. • Classes of 1973-1989 will convene game,” Mitch recalls. at the new Northbrook cam- “We do that now in my school, and now A pus on Sunday morning of I play on the other side.” Thanksgiving weekend, 2007. Mitch (Class of 1982) is the Education Alumni are welcome to bring Director (principal) of the Rabbi Jacob their spouses and children. Pressman Academy of Temple Beth Am in Can you help? Please Los Angeles, a school that he says is a lot contact Joan Sohn at like Solomon Schechter Day School of Metropolitan Chicago. What inspired him to pursue a career in Jewish education? His B years as a student at Schechter. “Not just my experience,” Mitch adds, “but the experience of my entire family there. “I remember the schoolwide seder that Have the twists and we used to do every year. Parents were turns of life taken you out Photo keys Page 3 invited, and they all used to come. It was of touch, while your heart very well-attended, and people gained a lot has stayed connected? from it — particularly if you were from a Join the club. Traveling C family that wasn’t so observant. I think that lifes various paths, we can be said of a lot of schoolwide assem- have carried with us the blies that parents were invited to attend.” warm feelings we have for our alma mater Like so many Schechter alumni families, and for our classmates. the Malkuses still use the tunes from the Nows your chance to reconnect! annual seder. Schechter’s melodies and cus- Please take a moment to update your toms permeate the lives of three generations, contact information — especially your including Mitch’s and his wife Caryn’s twin email address — on our website at two-year-olds, Eitan and Coby. www.schechter.org (click on Alumni “The experience for our family at Information), and mark your calendar for Solomon Schechter was a transformative one,” our upcoming reunions: j o a n . s o h n @ s c h e c h t e r. o r g o r Mitch reflects. 847-412-5661. “When my par- To kick off reunion season, a New York ents decided to alumni reunion was held on April 19. Alumni from classes as recent as 2001 and as far back as 1982 met in the West Village, at a place called Alger House. “It was filled with antiques,” says Joan Sohn, SSDS director of community relations. She didnt mean the alumni, of course. Alger House, she explains, “is a very old house converted to a wonderful and interesting location to hold small events.” The Class of 1988 was best represent- Class of 1982 buddies Andy Stern (L) and Mitch Malkus, ed at the reunion, with eight out of the with their sons Owen (Skokie SSDS kindergartener) and Reuniting continued on Page 3 Micah Stern and Eitan and Coby Malkus.
  2. 2. NEW layout for HKMS -6 FINAL 6/4/07 1:50 PM Page 2 2 Laughing All the Way to the (Memory) Bank “Yitgadal vyitkadash shemei Rabbah…” recalls, “was as the King at the SSDS he called Tel Aviv home. Certainly it was intones Joel Chasnoff. fourth-grade play of The King and I…. homier than his tour of duty in southern The room roars with laughter. I began performing comedy seriously Lebanon. Generally, this would be in college at the University of “I loved Schechter,” Joel adds, naming an incredibly inappro- Pennsylvania.” his favorite teachers: Mrs. Helen Davidson priate reaction to Where does he get his Jewish material? for Bible in seventh and eighth grades; hearing the Kaddish, It all goes back to Schechter, too. Holly Rosenberg, then the head of the a somber prayer… “Solomon Schechter Day School Learning Center; Mrs. Alexander; Mrs. but not this time. gave me the Jewish background that Berman; and “of course” Ruti Halpern. Joels not in a syna- shaped my life,” he says, Joel must have had a good sense of gogue. Hes doing crediting the school humor even as a student at SSDS. His stand-up comedy, and this with his daily Shacharit favorite Schechter memory? His father, a is the bit about the style of the prayers, familiarity with doctor, teaching sex ed to his class for chazzans kaddish as it relates to the Birkat Hamazon three years. length of the Yom Kippur service. (Blessing after Joel (Class of 1988) writes and per- Meals), and forms for Jewish and non-Jewish audi- keeping ences, a career path he says began kosher. “It long ago. provided “My first onstage experience,” he my Jewish foundation. Ha Kol Mi Schechter is published by Solomon Theres no Schechter Day School of Metropolitan Chicago question I would not Larry Pachter President, Board of Directors Marci Dickman Head of School be who I Linda Foster Executive Director am today Joan Sohn Director of Community Relations Sari Steinberg Editor without Devorah Haggar Graphic Design Schechter.” He also Solomon Schechter Day School of Metropolitan sees his love Chicago (SSDS) serves 900 K-8th grade students. SSDS is sponsored by of Israel as The Midwest Region United Synagogue of having started Conservative Judaism; affiliated with the at Schechter. Community Foundation for Jewish Education; Before establish- supported by the Jewish Federation/Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago. ing himself as a comedian and writer Solomon Schechter Day School in New York, Joel served in 3210 Dundee Road • Northbrook, IL 60062 847.498.2100 • Fax 847.498.5837 the Israel Defense Forces Armored Corps. As a lone Skokie Solomon Schechter Day School Joel Chasnoff, 9301 Gross Point Road • Skokie, IL 60076 soldier — one whose fam- 847.679.6270 • Fax 847.679.9186 ily doesnt live in Israel — entertainer extraordinaire they will do that as Jews.” school that this is a place where you can be Mitch Malkus continued from Page 1 This outlook led Mitch to devote himself a committed and knowledgeable Jew and about what was going on in every class- to Jewish education. After his undergradu- an active participant in American society at room and with every student, but it was ate years at Columbia University, Mitch the same time. Solomon Schechter was also concerned about the families. worked at the Religious Action Center; great preparation for that, both in curricu- “A school can be outstanding in edu- studied for a year at Yeshivat Hamivtar lum and in role modeling.” cating its students,” Mitch explains, “but if (Brovenders) in Israel; learned at the The role modeling continues. Mitch they dont have a family and community Institute for Traditional Judaism; earned his honors Mr. Kesslers memory by emulating that can support the learning that goes on M.A., Ed.D., and rabbinic ordination at the him. Besides the principles he learned from in its classrooms – and particularly if that Jewish Theological Seminary; and received his principal, Mitch also remembers Mr. learning includes models of what we con- certification from the Harvard Universitys Kesslers joyful attitude toward education. sider a good life or an ethical life – then its Principals Center. He wrote his doctoral “I remember him walking around the difficult to do that. When you have the abil- dissertation on the integration of Jewish school, seeing people studying in every ity to impact a much larger segment of a and general studies in Jewish schools. nook and cranny in the school. Students community or an entire community, then “It was something that personally would be studying in the hallways or wher- the values or ideas or concepts that are affected me when I went to New Trier and ever they could find room, and he used to taught in the school can be manifested out- when I went to college, because I was encourage that. He enjoyed that.” side of the school environment. I think that always trying to find a way to integrate the Imagine how Mr. Kessler would feel if makes an impact on what the Jewish future different parts of my life. [Solomon he could see his former student following in will look like – and I hope that our alumni Schechter Principal] Harry Kessler used to his footsteps. will make a difference in the world, and that articulate to people who came into the
  3. 3. NEW layout for HKMS -6 FINAL 6/4/07 1:50 PM Page 3 3 The Sounds of Not Being Silenced The Jerusalem beit midrash (study chose to build their home in Tekoa, a future,” she says. “It provided a great deal hall) is filled will the vigorous voices of mixed religious-secular neighborhood in of room for individual guidance and paths women in chevruta pairs rigorously the Gush Etzion area near Jerusalem. of study. As a Jew, it was an inspiration debating the meaning of passages of the There they are raising their five chil- – it gave a thirst for more learning and Talmud. They are preparing for their class dren: Hadar, Shmaya, Emuna, Yedidya, provided a love of Judaism.” with Yardena Cope Yossef (Class of and Yitzhak. Yardena and Daniel met That love came to Yardena part- 1978), once known as Jordanna in the while working jointly through WUJS in ly through the Jewish songs of Dr. halls of Solomon Schechter Day School the absorption of Ethiopian immigrants. Weintraub, as well as his Torah- and — as well as in her general studies Yardena is a member of the Israeli Megillah-reading instruction. She classes and at lunch and recess. also fondly remembers the school- Today Yardena is the director of the wide Pesach seders and singing in Advanced Talmudic Institute for the “Joseph” play. Women and the facilitator for the Whats her advice to prospec- Talmud Fellows at MaTaN — tive Schechter parents? the Womens Institute of “Do it!” she says. “It is Torah Studies. She is the best gift you can ever also the founding direc- give your children. tor of Mifnim — The There is nothing as Center for Legal and precious as a good Halakhic Solutions, day-school education, and a teacher of and Schechter pro- Jewish Law and vides it.” Talmud. She has been at the fore of what has been called “the quiet Are your extra yearbooks revolution,” the entry of women into the world of advanced Jewish studies and halachic discourse. Multitasking: holding a baby and collecting dust? “Schechter taught me to question studying Talmud Ever think of parting with thoughtfully,” Yardena says. “It gave me the love of Torah as a way of life through Bar, having graduated from the Hebrew them? If you want them education that was both intellectual and University Law School. She also complet- to go to a good home, experiential — song, drama, dance, ed graduate-level coursework in Jewish please donate them prayer, and dialogue. Law and Talmud at Hebrew U., studied for to our archive. “It was inspiring as an educational a year at Orot College and for two years framework and even today is a model I in MaTaNs Advanced Scholars Program, Contact Joan Sohn at seek for my children — a model of open- and is a trained labor support coach and joan.sohn@schechter.org ness, respect for individual differences childbirth instructor. or 847-498-2100. and a quest for educational excellence.” “Schechter provided solid grounding Thanks! Yardena and her husband, Daniel, for many avenues of pursuits in the Photos A-C from Page 1 D (L) David Blaustein E D A (L) Paul Towb and Michelle Levy Ashley Braun Jenn Miller Sitron Jeremie Lappe and Josh Sitron Scott Frazin Joel Chasnoff Ilana Dworin E (L) Sara Stern B (L) Adam Yentis and Joan Sohn his wife Mara F (L) Michal Strick Adena Lebeau Kress Johanna Wohlstadter C (L) Samatha Kopin Beth Pollack Tanya Gershon G (L) Jessica Strick Linda Levin Jodeya Zoldan Reuniting continued from Page 1 Dena Dworin Eva Greenspan 53 enthusiastic reunion participants. Alumni at the reunion Ashley Braun H (L) Jennifer Desser included undergraduate and graduate students, a teacher, Jeremy Sohn a psychometrician, an attorney, a comedian/writer, a real- tor, a movie editor, a theatre director, a research coordina- tor, a pharmaceutical consultant, a businessperson work- ing in the area of private equity, parents, parents-to-be, and a variety of others. “I think the event ignited wonderful memories,” Mark Semer (Class of 1984) reflects, “and as such inspired the F alumni to connect with other friends that they lost contact G with and to be more in contact with the school.” Wont you do the same? Your classmates hope you will! H
  4. 4. NEW layout for HKMS -6 FINAL 6/4/07 1:50 PM Page 4 4 The Apple of trouble. Mrs. Becker was near tears as she headed for the exit doors of 350 Lee Road. Friday to make one big Shabbat table. I would sit at one end and teach them a His Teacher’s Eye? “Mrs. Becker, Im so happy to see you,” came a voice from behind her. It was Dr. zemirah (Shabbat song). We studied Kain and Hevel (Cain and Abel) and we had a Aaron Becker (Class of 1982) knows Weintraub, the gentle elderly man who trial, and even the sheep came and testi- how to engage the students who dont toe taught Torah trop, Tefillah, and Jewish songs. fied, and the earth, too. the line in his class. “They get really into it,” “Your son Leading a And we had a big he says of the high schoolers who, though Aaron is one of discussion hafganah (demon- they dont do their homework regularly, find the best stu- about Islam in stration) with Kain themselves in leadership positions when it dents Ive ever his classroom is innocent signs. comes to producing the classs mock news had. He learned “Some of the show in the schools television studio. the trop almost relationships I devel- Aarons students create identities – as overnight…” oped with those stu- obscure and unique as a forklift driver in dents really made me Saudi Arabia – at the start of the year. They decide that this [teach- simulate international oil negotiations. ing] was for me.” They forget to ask who won a formal E v e n t u a l l y, debate, because they get so caught up in Aaron became a the arguments. And they analyze poems as teacher at Evanston a class, using Aarons original approach to Township High making poetry accessible. Dr. William School, joining for- “Its based on a blatt of Gemara,” he Weintraub mer Schechter says. “Everyone responds to the poem or classmate Julian to someone elses comment, or both. That was a pivotal moment for him. Sotnick on the staff. Aaron has won two Youre only allowed three or four words, so “This one man thought I was good,” Fulbright grants, has traveled to exotic its not intimidating. [The page] goes says Aaron today. “He thought I was tal- places, and has studied ten languages. All around the whole room, and we have this ented.” of it comes back to his classroom, where new document – the little poem in the Aaron – and his mother – gained con- he currently teaches Middle East studies, middle and all of the comments around the fidence in his abilities. Later, Aaron came African studies, and advanced-placement page. They sign their initials to to read Torah and teach trop at U.S. history. He also has taught psycholo- their comments.” various synagogues. gy, law, Russian history, Latin American The words “I love it!” and He earned a mas- studies, and world history. “They love it!” punctuate Aarons ters degree in “When I travel,” Aaron says, “I interview animated description of his Education, even kids on the street or at McDonalds or at classroom activities. No though, he movie theaters — asking them who their wonder he won one of favorite NBA player is, what they are look- the ten Golden Apple ing for in a spouse, what they do for the Awards for Excellence summer, what school is like, what they in Teaching for 2007. think about America. Ill interview the Or is it a wonder? ambassador and the ambassadors Back in his Solomon daughter and other people at the Schechter days, Aaron embassy. Ill interview two women — didnt seem like the one wearing a hijab and one in spaghetti educator type. straps, and theyre best friends. These “I recognize myself in my students,” he says, “I didnt know I was really going to are things my kids want to know.” says, “and I recognize my Schechter do it [teach], even when I got my masters Aaron edits the films down to ten classmates – were all just types, really. I in education and was doing my student or 15 minutes and shows them to his was looking through my old conference teaching.” class the following fall. “My students reports from third and fourth grade, fifth The turning feel that I am thinking about and sixth grade – there are a lot of pat- point was them before I even know terns. He talks too much. Hes a very when he sub- them,” he says. And he good boy, hes a very nice boy, but he stituted for certainly is. cant sit in his seat. I felt all the time that Gveret my teachers really cared about me, and (Dalia) (Middle photo) that was the important thing. Ness at Showing photos of “I want the teachers to know that it was Solomon his Evanston worth their while. Having some patience Schechter. students to high with the shovavim (rascals)… once in a “It was school students while, itll come out okay. Its often the one of the in Saudi Arabia kids who are a little bit of a handful who greatest for a film he are going to be better teachers, because experi- produced there they know what it takes and they know ences in my what it is that theyre up against… life,” Aaron (Bottom photo) because its you.” reflects.“I Meeting an official He recalls the year 1976. Aarons teach- was teaching of Saudi Aramco, ers had called his mother in for a special 4th grade Chumash, and we would put all the Kingdoms oil conference. Aaron was causing too much of the machtevot (desks) together on company
  5. 5. NEW layout for HKMS -6 FINAL 6/4/07 1:51 PM Page 5 5 Fraternal Friends before establishing their independent practices, which have about an hours lifetime. It helped to provide a store of Jewish identity to draw upon when More than the way they answer the worth of noncompetitive buffer between immersed in the secular world.” phone — with their trademark elongated them. David is now a radiologist at “I consider my education at Solomon “Y…ello!” – and besides their boyish good Evanston Northwestern Healthcare and is Schechter to be one of the most important looks and the fact that they share a last Co-Chief of Breast Imaging and Director formative events in my life,” Jay expounds name, grew up in the same house, attend- of Quality Improvement and Risk (unwittingly) on Davids statement. “My ed the same schools, and pursued the Management for the Radiology experience at Schechter had a profound same medical specialty, Jay (Class of Department. Jay is Associate Medical role in shaping my core identity. It informed 1980) and David (Class of 1982) Ecanow Director of Radiology at Provena Saint my perspective on who I am as a Jew and reveal their similarities through their views Joseph Hospital in Elgin. an American, and it taught me to be of Solomon Schechter and their reasons for “We are both married to phenomenal extremely proud of being both. I found that enrolling their own children in the school. wives – Marci and Karen,” Jay says, “and having the unique background that a we are both blessed with wonderful chil- Jewish day school provides was invaluable The Ecanow brothers have endless – dren. All of our kids go to Schechter. to me as I grew to adulthood and struggled and similar – “Apart from that,” he laughs, “we are to understand who I was, who I wanted to praise to complete opposites.” become, and where I fit into my communi- o f f e r Jay and Marcis daughter Naomi is in ty. This, of course, helped me learn to live fourth grade at the Sager with and form positive relationships with school, and their twins, people from other communities. At Gabi and Eli, Schechter, I was given the chance to be are in first immersed in Jewish culture and live in a grade Jewish world for my entire childhood. I feel there. profoundly connected to my people, pres- ent and past, and I see the history of the Jews as my personal history. I find this background and this connection to be a tremendous source of personal strength that I constantly turn to as I face the ups and downs of life.” Jay has more to say about the value of a Schechter education. “Schechters dual curriculum left me more than adequately prepared for high school, college, and higher education. For me, the Jewish studies program was an in- Schechter parent/grandparent Dr. Bernard Ecanow, flanked by his depth liberal arts program; we were taught Schechter alumni/parent sons Jay (left) and David (right) and their two languages and got a deep exposure to wives, Marci and Karen, and Schechter students Naomi, Eli, Gabi, a particular facet of history and literature. This background afforded me certain Natalie, and Anna (on his lap). advantages as I pursued my general edu- cation at higher levels. The Jewish and sec- regarding their years at Solomon Schechter School is a good place for them to bond ular elements are in many ways like two and why they have decided to give their with cousins Natalie and Anna, David and sides of the same coin, rather than two children the same “gift.” Karens daughters, who are in second completely separate entities.” “Solomon Schechter is like a second Two sides of the same coin, rather home to me,” David says. “Now that I also than two completely separate entities, have a parents perspective, my opinion of indeed…. how valuable it is has only grown. Sending a child to Solomon Schechter helps to fulfill so many of my needs in having a Jewish Mazel Tov on your family and raising Jewish children and enriches them and us in every way.” new “edition”! Due to the amazing news we have heard And Jay, without having heard his about our alumni, a whole new newslet- brothers answer, agrees. “I was very lucky ter has been born. haKol miSchechter to meet a girl who shares the same outlook is a tribute to the solid foundation that that I do and to marry her. Marci and I are Schechter gives its students to build delighted to send our children to Schechter their lives on. We want you to be part of David and his daughters, it! If you are a Solomon Schechter grad- and to give them the same gift that my par- Natalie (front) and Anna uate (or the parent of one), please tell us ents gave to me.” what youve been up to and send us your Both Jay and David attended high grade and first grade. up-to-date contact information. Photos, school at New Trier, college at the “After my family,” David says, “much too. We look forward to watching our University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, of the comfort, familiarity and appreciation graduates grow! medical school at the University of Illinois I have for being Jewish stems from Email joan.sohn@schechter.org at Chicago, and – after branching out and Solomon Schechter. As a child, being sur- or go to www.schechter.org doing residencies at different hospitals – rounded daily by proud Jewish people living (Alumni Information), or call worked together at Cook County Hospital a Jewish life made an impact that lasts a Joan Sohn at 847.498.2100
  6. 6. NEW layout for HKMS -6 FINAL 6/4/07 1:51 PM Page 6 m Alu ni Up dates Class of 1984 Lee Malkus lives in Brooklyn and works as a clinical social Class of 1983 worker with low-income patients at SUNY Hospital. Eli Becker lives in Rochester, NY, is a cardio-thoracic surgeon, plays guitar and saxophone, has an adorable dog named Jack and rides a Harley. Class of 1985 Ezra Becker lives in Skokie, is a statistician/banker for Trans Union, is an awesome cook, and plays hockey competitively. Class of 1992 Claire Sufrin is completing her PhD in Religious Studies at Stanford University, where she focuses on Modern Jewish Thought. Her dissertation is a study of Martin Bubers writings on the Bible. Next year she will be a Visiting Lecturer in Jewish Studies at Northeastern University in Boston. Class of 1999 Mazel Tov to Elan Katz Mosbacher on his engagement to Zivya Feifel. A dozen SSDS graduates attended a party in Mrs. Roz Ebstein poses with eight of her choir kids, past honor of the engagement at the Conservative Movements and present: Class of 1982 alumnae (back row, L-R): Riv Fuchsberg Center in Jerusalem. Past SSDS president Har-El Lynch, Andrea Weiss Leshem, Mrs. Ebstein (not Richard Moline was also seen dancing at the event. Class of 1982), Sari Steinberg, and Lynn Blaustein Weiss, and their children (front row, L-R): Hannah, Jack, Elissa Zimmerman was promoted to the rank of sergeant Haia, and Talia. About 50 SSDS alumni are now parents in the Israel Defense Forces, after serving as the drill in the school. instructor of four basic training courses for new recruits. Spring 2007 Presorted First Class Mail US POSTAGE PAID Kol Schechter ha mi Skokie, IL Permit No. 183 A Special Alumni Edition for the Families and Friends of Solomon Schechter Day School of Metropolitan Chicago eu ’s R nion T Solomon Schechter Day School It , 2007 of Metropolitan Chicago 3210 Dundee Road, Northbrook, IL 60062 21 i —C me! ne las Ju y of Than ses 1 n da ksg of 1990–200 Su iv — ing Weekend — Cla Schechter sse s of 1973–198 9 Day School Solomon Alumni