Please join us as we honor and celebrate Heschel parents
Stacy and Jason Helfstein
Linda Gerstel and Ed Joyce
for their exceptional dedication, service, and leadership
on behalf of  The Abraham Joshua Heschel School.

Please join us for a wonderful evening as we celebrate our community and highlight the achievements of our extraordinary honorees.

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Thursday May 25, 2017

Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers

New York City

6PM Dinner Buffet

8PM Program

Featuring a musical performance
by Noah Solomon Chase

Followed by Dessert Reception

Place Reservations

and Journal Ads

by May 12, 2017

Dietary laws strictly observed 
Cocktail Attire


Executive Committee.

Steven Shapiro

Leslie Dezer Salmon

     Vice President & Treasurer
Amy Kalmanofsky


Joel Ackerman

Jacob W. Buchdahl

Joel Citron*
Alisa R. Doctoroff*
Shira Nadich Levin*

Sharon L. Schneier

Ariela R. Dubler

     Head of School


Ben Archibald

Neri Bukspan

Efrat Gilman
Katja B. Goldman
David J. Hess
Robert Imershein
Jonathan S. Kern
Adina Lewittes
Jenny Lyss

     Parent Association Rep.

Trevor W. Morrison

Marcella Rosen

Dan Senor
Geula Solomon
Maksim Stavinsky
Esther Safra Szajman
Mark I. Tsesarsky
Jeffrey L. Verschleiser

Roanna Shorofsky

     Head of School Emerita ¤
Peter A. Geffen


Honorary Trustees

Virginia Bayer*

Ria Gruss

Susannah Heschel

Terry Ann Krulwich*

Rabbi Judah Nadich z"l

Rebecca Shahmoon Shanok**

Seth M. Siegel

Alan B. Slifka z"l

Ronald C. Summer z"l

Barry N. Winograd*

*   Former President   ** Founding President    ¤ Honorary Trustee



Jeannie Fisher

Anya Gross

Associate CHAIRS

Shari Safra

Alana Serota

Alison Wishengrad


Suzy and Michael Appelbaum
Barbara and Allen Appelbaum
Rachel Stone and

     Robert Bernstein
Roni Rubenstein and

     Barry Berson
Ulrika and Joel Citron
Jennifer and Reuben Daniels
Alisa and Dan Doctoroff
Lizzie and Scott Domansky
Valerie Feigen and

     Steve Eisman
Dana and Adam Fine
Scott Fisher
Emily and Nathan Gindi
Ronnet and Ayal Glezer

Avra and Elie Gordis

Etai Gross
Eve and Scott Helfstein
Diane and David Hess
Nikki Duval and 

     Elai Katz
Lisa Silverstein and 

     Tal Kerrett
Tal Kastner and 

     Ivan Lehon
Jen and David Leinwand
Dalia and Joseph Lerner
Laurie Blitzer and 

     Sam Levine
Jenni Stone-Levine and 

     Mark Levine
Rebecca and Bennett Lindenbaum

Yana and Josh Lukeman

Jenny and Greg Lyss
Betsy and Jonathan Margolis
David Mayman
Linda Blum and 

     Jeremy Merrin
Meredith Berkman and 

     Daniel Mintz
Beth and Joshua Nash
Diane and Nima Nili
Debby and Nat Paull
Tamar and Harry Poloner
Zina Sapir-Rosen and 

     Rotem Rosen
Jacob Safra
Dina Marskon and 

     Andrew Seidman

Harriet and Joel Shaiman

Harriet and Joel Shaiman
Deborah and Steven Shapiro
Lisa Morgenstern Solomon and 

     Noah Solomon Chase
Katja Goldman and 

     Michael Sonnenfeldt
Dikla and Marc Strohl
Esther Safra Szajman and 

     Claudio Szajman
Robyn and Mark Tsesarsky
Amy and Jeffrey Verschleiser
Eve Goldberg and Neil Wallin

Dina and David Weinstein
Leora Klein and 

     Emmanuel Werthenschlag  
Cory Wishengrad
Julia and Michael Zeuner

Honorary Dinner COMMITTEE

Lauren and Eric Einhorn

Shelley and Steven Einhorn

Wendy and Bryan Gartenberg

Marilynn and Willis J. Goldsmith

Tamar and Eric Goldstein

Carrie and Harold Gordon
Madalyn and Lewis Helfstein

Roberta and Roger Holstein

Marti Meyerson and

     Jamie Hooper

Debbie and Jeff Horn

Wesley R. Johnson, Jr.

Sharon and Rabbi Adam Mintz

Ann and John Normile


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Ticket Pricing for Heschel Benefit Dinner 2017

Ticket price: $425 per person

Discounted ticket price for alumni ages 21-28: $100

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    Shelley and Steven Einhorn


    Sandra and Howard Hoffen      


    Alisa and Dan Doctoroff

    Stacy and Jason Helfstein

    Katja Goldman and Michael Sonnenfeldt

    Campbell Brown and Dan Senor


    Angela and Jacob Buchdahl

    Diane and David Hess

    Linda Gerstel and Ed Joyce

    Rebecca and Bennett Lindenbaum

    Leslie Dezer Salmon and Ricardo Salmon

    Deborah and Steven Shapiro

    Amy and Jeffrey Verschleiser


    Robert Hirt and Virginia Bayer

    Lindsay and Brian Cooper

    Toby and Leon Cooperman

    Lauren and Eric Einhorn

    Michelle and Jeff Feig

    Lela Goren

    Natasha and Kevin Lalezarian

    Shari and Jacob Safra

    Esther Safra Szajman and Claudio Szajman

    Robyn and Mark Tsesarsky

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    Alison and Cory Wishengrad


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    Ulrika and Joel Citron

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    Stacey and Kevin Kotler

    Paul Posner and Terry Ann Krulwich

    Shira Nadich Levin and James Levin

    Keren Yarhi-Milo and Ariel Milo

    Geula and Joshua Solomon


    Ariela Dubler and Jesse Furman

    Madalyn and Lewis Helfstein

    Marti Meyerson and Jamie Hooper

    Margie and Robert Imershein

    Jones Day

    Lori and David Kaufthal

    Jenny and Greg Lyss

    Beth and Joshua Nash

    Zina Sapir-Rosen and Rotem Rosen

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    Tal Kastner and Ivan Lehon

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    Joy and Bruce Roberts

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    Amy and Neil Steiner

    Adina and Phillip Wagman


    The Bialkin Family

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    Michelle Ores and Charles Schorin

    Ruby Gelman and Shimon Shkury

    Leslie and Louis Wolfowitz


    Barbara and Allen Applbaum

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    Lori Zeltser and Len Berman

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    Roni Rubenstein and Barry Berson

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    Rachel and Bertie Bregman

    Ami Weil and Todd Chanko

    Natalie Klein and Tufi Duek

    Valerie Feigen and Steven Eisman

    Eisner Amper LLP

    Karen and Eyal Farage

    Mandy Greenfield and Matt Fassler

    Dana and Adam Fine

    Kim Shafer and Isaac Finkle

    Jill and Andrew Frey

    Navah and Robert Frost

    Valerie and Mark Gerstein

    Emily and Nathan Gindi

    Avra and Elie Gordis

    Anya and Etai Gross

    Wendy and Mitch Gross 

    Estee Dezer-Gurwitz and Mark Gurwitz

    Sharon Kessler and Warren Hammerschlag

    Roberta and Roger Holstein

    Dorian Goldman and Marvin Israelow

    Hillary Katz

    Ruth and Steven Katz

    Harry Krakowski

    Wesley and Evan LePatner

    Dalia and Joseph Lerner

    Jenni and Mark Levine

    Laurie Blitzer and Sam Levine

    Elizabeth and Jonathan Lewinsohn

    Lani Serota and David Mayman

    Meredith Berkman and Daniel Mintz

    Barbara Berger and Eli Ofek

    Tamar and Harry Poloner

    Marcella Rosen

    Lisa Rotmil and Alex Schmelzer

    Dina Markson and Andrew Seidman

    Harriet and Joel Shaiman

    Roanna and Morris Shorofsky

    Marvin Shulsky

    Betsy and Richard Shuster

    Liat and Paul Siegel

    Linda Yarden and Chris Smith

    Dawn Schefler Spiera and Robert Spiera

    Eve Goldberg and Neil Wallin

    Sarah and Adam Wartski

    Joan and Barry Winograd

    The Yaron Foundation

    Julia and Michael Zeuner


    Leon Bijou

    Brownin Transportation

    Judy and Nick Bunzl

    Peter Callahan

    Ilana and Jason Cuttler

    Fred Marcus Photography

    Susie Kessler and Peter Geffen

    Talia and Harry Gross

    Ria Gruss

    Debbie and Jeff Horn


    Yana and Josh Lukeman

    Oppenheimer & Co, Inc.

    PAM Air Services

    John Parks

    Claire and Mike Rost

    Patricia and Mitchell Udell


    Leora Klein and Emmanuel Werthenschlag


    Susan and David Cohen

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    Pamela and Adam Emmerich

    Kristen Farrell

    Abbe Gluck and Meir Feder

    Talia and Harry Gross

    Eve and Scott Helfstein

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    Shira Orenstein and Daniel Kahn

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    Alisa and Elliot Ruda

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    United Synagogue of Hoboken

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    Condor's Window Cleaning Corp.

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    Joshua Stein PLLC

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    Fern Flomenhaft Sondheimer

             and Adrian Sondheimer

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    Kate and Ori Uziel

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               and Adrian Sondheimer

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    Simone and David Steinthal

    Linda and Howard Sterling

    Dikla and Marc Strohl

    Suri Kasirer and Bruce Teitelbaum

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    Jennifer Courtian and Stephen Troy

    Sara and David Weintraub

    Eric Gonchar and Merle Woldenberg Wolff

    Susan Wright

    Lori and Brett Zbar

    Gerin Stevens and Shai Zelering


The Abraham Joshua Heschel School is delighted to honor two extraordinary couples at its annual Benefit on Thursday, May 25, at Pier Sixty. Stacy and Jason Helfstein & Linda Gersetel and Ed Joyce will be recognized for their steadfast commitment to the school and as leaders of the Heschel community.


For Stacy and Jason Helfstein and their children, Noah (Grade 8) and Talia (Grade 5), Heschel has not only provided an excellent learning environment but also a spiritual home.

Initially, it was Jason who was adamant about a Jewish education, having attended the Hebrew Academy of Suffolk County until his parents helped open a local Solomon Schechter with a group of progressive friends. Stacy, who grew up in Holmdel, New Jersey, attended Hebrew school and had a bat mitzvah at the Reform synagogue in nearby Matawan. She became active in the local chapter of the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY) in high school, in part, because there were few Jews in her town. That involvement solidified her Jewish identity before attending Syracuse University, where she met Jason.

“Jewish day school was the farthest thing from Stacy’s mind,” says Jason, quickly adding, “Now she’s a greater advocate than I am.” What changed? When Noah was still a baby, the family began their research on Heschel and Jason reached out to Assistant Head of School, Linda Holof-Saposh, whose husband had been the founding principal of the Schechter school in Suffolk where Jason attended.  The couple took a tour of Heschel and Stacy understood “this was a place where you didn’t have to pretend you are something you aren’t.” She recalls, “My Jewish connection was important to me and this school spoke to me because of its pluralism.”

When the Helfsteins became parents at the school, they quickly realized just how valuable a Jewish education could be in shaping their children’s identities. Stacy, who worked at the Jewish Guild for the Blind after earning her Masters in Social Work at Columbia, appreciates the way teaching values is a critical aspect of the curriculum. “Building someone’s moral character and encouraging them to do hesed are just as important as their math and reading skills,” she says. Jason always marvels at the happy learning environment that Heschel fosters and the care that is demonstrated for every student.

This personal concern for every child has been evident to Stacy and Jason by the individualized support that Heschel has provided to their children over the years, helping them navigate the learning process and succeed to their full potentials.  “I am so grateful that the school has gone above and beyond in supporting both of my children’s learning styles,” Stacy enthuses, adding “It truly takes a village.”

In fact, one of the highlights of their Heschel experience was hosting Noah’s bar mitzvah at the school in October 2015, a choice they made to acknowledge that “this is the community that supported him,” Stacy explains. While they plan to celebrate Talia’s bat mitzvah in Israel, they have already asked Rabbi Anne to join them. “The kids feel a strong connection to her both in and out of the classroom,” says Stacy.

The Helfsteins also relish how Heschel has strengthened their relationship to Israel. Stacy visited the country on NFTY’s teen tour and Jason did a similar trip through USY, United Synagogue Youth, and the family now travels to Israel every year for Passover and has become involved in several Israel-based causes including City of David, Magen David Adom and Shalva. In addition, they are involved in UJA Federation of New York and AIPAC.  Stacy’s parents, Shelley and Steven Einhorn, were inspired by the positive impact that Heschel was having on their family, and became supportive grandparents of the school early on.

At Heschel, Stacy and Jason have both taken on various leadership roles. Jason, a Managing Director at Oppenheimer & Co., oversees global internet equity research, served on the Fall Campaign committee for four years and solicited major gifts for the One Campus Campaign while Stacy was an Auction Chair for five years.

Perhaps their greatest service to the school was Stacy’s role as Class Parent Coordinator before the emergency school closure procedure was digitized and Parent Association staff gifts were streamlined. She and Jason fondly recall how many hours they spent creating a manual phone tree and organizing stacks of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s gift cards to be handed out to each staff member. This memory, in particular, illustrates what makes Heschel so special for them. 

When Linda Gerstel and Ed Joyce chose Heschel for their children more than 17 years ago, they were drawn in by the progressive Jewish education. What they didn’t anticipate was how much the entire family would gain from being part of the Heschel community and the impact the teachers would have on their children.

The warm Heschel community has been a focal point in their lives, from countless Shabbat dinners and meals in their Sukkah, to five-day charity bike rides in Israel with other Heschel families. On choosing a school for their children, Ed recalls, “Our principal concern was our kids, but we ended up with amazing friendships.”

The couple also appreciates the meaningful relationships their children have forged with Heschel faculty. “They are incredible role models and they parent our kids together with us,” says Linda, marveling at how their daughters Kayla, a junior at Washington University, and Sarah, a sophomore at Columbia, still reach out to their teachers. Linda and Ed are especially proud of their daughters’ mastery of Hebrew and love of Israel, which inspired the family to make annual trips to Israel -- all of this leading to Kayla enlisting in the Israeli Defense Forces for 14 months before starting college. The Heschel experience has been similarly gratifying for their son, Adin (Grade 10), who not only enjoys learning in a pluralistic environment but values the social dynamic it breeds.  “He has an incredible group of friends with various levels of observance,” Linda remarks. “They are respectful, inclusive and considerate.”

This feeling of inclusiveness is of particular importance to the couple given their different religious and ethnic backgrounds. Growing up as an Irish Catholic in Holmdel, New Jersey, Ed was an altar boy, a church reader of Scripture, and a member of his Catholic high school choir. He only knew a handful of Jewish kids before attending Columbia College and Fordham Law School.  Linda was raised in a Conservative Jewish home in Queens and attended Solomon Schechter and Ramaz High School.

The couple met when they both joined the New York law firm Anderson Kill and trained for the Corporate Challenge and the NYC Marathon together. They later realized that Linda was at Barnard while Ed was at Columbia and they had graduated the same year. A year after they began dating, Linda and Ed -- upon the suggestion of Rabbi Rachel Cowan -- took a Derekh Torah class at the 92nd Street Y, geared towards interfaith couples. Ed was struck by how much he already knew, recalling “I had an orthodox background; it just happened to be in a different religion. I had already read the old book cover to cover.” Ed joined the choir at B’nai Jeshurun in 1992 and converted to Judaism a year later with Rabbi Adam Mintz, who has been his personal rabbi ever since. The couple continues to affiliate with rabbis and shuls across a spectrum of Jewish denominations.

When Ed informed his mom that he was sending his kids to the Heschel School, she reminded him that their church pastor often quoted Rabbi Heschel during his weekly Sunday sermons.

In another twist of a shared history, Linda and Ed discovered that Ed’s grandfather was killed during World War II while serving in the U.S. Air Force when his plane was shot down while flying over Belgium, the same country from which Linda’s family escaped the Holocaust. Linda’s family’s story led her to be one of the lead attorneys for Holocaust survivors in the Holocaust class action litigation. Her family’s struggle as immigrants inspired her to become a trustee of the Baron de Hirsch Fund, a foundation which supports Ethiopian immigrants in Israel. After years of serving as trustee, she discovered that a sister foundation, ICA, in collaboration with HIAS and the Joint Distribution Committee, helped her family and many other refugees escape Europe.

After years as a litigator, Linda now specializes in alternative dispute resolution and teaches at Fordham Law School. Ed, a partner at Jones Day, specializes in insurance litigation for corporate policyholders.  He is also an officer and a member of the Executive Committee of the Fordham Law School Alumni Association, and a board member of the American Friends of ALYN Hospital in Jerusalem.

From the moment Kayla started kindergarten in 2000, Linda has held numerous volunteer roles at Heschel. For several years, she was a Benefit Chair and a Hesed Representative. She has also served on the Fall Campaign, and is a member of the Holocaust Commemoration Committee. In 2005, while Linda was serving on the Hesed committee Ed was hospitalized following a boating accident, and six months later, Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer. Those experiences were formative, coming at the time when Kayla was about to have her bat mitzvah, Sarah was in fourth grade and Adin was only four years old. “The Heschel community surrounded and lifted us up,” Linda recalls. “People visited often, took care of our kids. You don’t forget that. It stays with you even as you leave the school.”


Donations at Work

The Benefit Dinner supports important areas crucial to the health and vitality of the entire school:

Your gift allows The Heschel School to implement its mission in the daily lives of its students and assists in providing each child with a stellar education in a school with a progressive, pluralistic and diverse socio-economic community.

The Heschel School is committed to providing over 7 million dollars in financial aid and attracting and retaining the highest caliber of faculty and staff and supporting their professional development. Funds raised help provide opportunities to support and enrich the classroom experience.